Read Shockya.com's exclusive interview with actor Brian White, who can currently be seen as Paul in the Blu-ray/DVD release of playwright-director David E. Talbert’s play ‘What My Husband Doesn’t Know.’ The play follows Paul, a handyman, who enters into an affair with Lena Summer, played by Michelle Williams, a married woman whose husband is often out of town on business trips. Lena contemplates whether she wants to keep her marriage in tact, or continue her relationship with Paul.
White can also be seen in the upcoming comedy-drama ‘Good Deeds,’ written and directed by Tyler Perry, and the horror-thriller ‘The Cabin in the Woods,’ co-written by Josh Wheddon. The actor discusses with us, among other things, what it was like working with both Talbert and Perry, and whether or not he prefers working in films, plays or television.
Written by: Karen Benardello
ShockYa (SY): In ‘What My Husband Doesn’t Know,’ you portray Paul, the handyman with whom Lena Summer, the lead character, has an affair with. What was it about the story and the character that convinced you to appear in the play?
Brian White (BW): Well, it wasn’t so much the character, it was I’ve never done a play before. So this is my first touring play. I wanted to challenge myself as an actor. I do mostly films, which is the opposite end of the business. On a film, you maybe only work 30 minutes out of each day. You’re on set for 12 hours, but you’re only working 30 minutes.
(On films), you’re flying first class with assistants, they pay for your cell phone, you’re in Four Seasons Hotels. On a play, you’re traveling on a bus with the whole cast. You’re changing locations everyday, no frills. You’re eating burgers, and then jumping up on stage and doing the work. There’s no second takes or do-overs. It’s raw and organic 24/7, and that’s what really drew me to it.
Then, also the script, David E. Talbert’s words. You don’t get to see many stories focused on the middle-class or upper-middle class brown folks in a positive way that works out in the end. I applaud that, and wanted to support it.
SY: How did you prepare for the role? Do you take a different preparation approach for theater than films?
BW: We didn’t get any choices (for ‘What My Husband Doesn’t Know’). (laughs) Every beat is scripted and directed by David. Every look, every movement, even down to how Paul dances. There are a lot of ideas, but this is David’s baby. He’s a very hands-on, collaborative director. So everything that ended up on stage, from the music to the lights to the set to the way lines are delivered to the volume we delivered them with were directed via David.
SY: Michelle Williams plays Lena in ‘What My Husband Doesn’t Know.’ What was your working relationship with her like?
BW: Fantastic. I was actually a dancer in her video ‘Bootylicious.’ So I’ve been on set with her before, but I didn’t actually met her that day, when I was just starting out. I had the opportunity to do lots of different things and work with her. I’ve always been a huge fan.
So it was a blessing to meet her and have her be even cooler and more talented and humble and even more of a lady in person. I’m proud to say that we’re real-life friends now, and we stay in touch and talk. She’s like a sister, and she’s fantastic. I love her.
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