Ask an actor about his most challenging role, and most would select a box office topping film or popular TV or streaming series. Not Bryan McClure. For this actor, his most challenging role was in a film he said hasn’t “made it past the cutting room floor.” Considering some of the stars he’s acted alongside, that came as a surprise. He could’ve picked one for name drops. He didn’t.
McClure grew up in America’s Heartland, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. As he grew up, his goal was to become a pro basketball player. He’s still a big fan of that sport, and others as well. For instance, he earned a First Degree black belt in taekwondo. He also was interested in the arts, though. He took a role as an extra on a film set in Omaha, Nebraska. The film, Lovely Still, starred Ellen Burstyn and Martin Landau.
In his biography, McClure’s reaction was noted: “I remember this intense feeling of excitement about what I was pursuing as an actor.”
While his basketball dreams didn’t pan out, his acting did, and he has landed roles that put him on sets performing in productions with actors like Colin Hanks, Chris Kattan, and Albert Jones. As a matter of fact, Jones had a key role in a Netflix series McClure just starred in, Mindhunter. The series about the FBI’s behavioral science unit is officially a top five Netflix show.
McClure was impressed with the “really great talent” in Mindhunter. He recounts his experience:
“I was truly blessed to be a part of the team. In Mindhunter, I play an Atlanta Police recruit. Part of the season follows the mass murders…that took place in Atlanta in the 1970s. I play one of the police recruits who is new on the job and trying to help in whatever way I can. I had the pleasure of being in three episodes of the show.”
There was also a quirk. McClure lives in Atlanta, and the child murders in that city comprised the main theme of the plot in season 2 of Mindhunter. “I had to travel to Pittsburgh to film,” he said. “Kind of crazy how that worked out.”
Asked about his experiences with the series, McClure had nothing but praise for fellow actors, saying Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany “were a blast to work with. Both extremely talented and down to earth individuals.” He also pointed to “Albert Jones and Gareth Williams” as being “a pleasure to work with.”
The series has called attention to unsettled questions about the Atlanta child murders of young black males. Wayne Williams became the go-to suspect in murders related to the killings, but the only two victims he was actually convicted of murdering were young adults.
McClure is excited about a film that is now in final stages of production, and details on distribution are being worked out. As with most young actors, he’s looking for breakout roles. He almost missed the opportunity for the lead role in the film In Other Words. McClure told Indie Art South he almost deleted the email that ultimately landed him the part:
“I decided to open it. Low and behold, I was being offered the lead role in this film. I was referred to filmmakers Patrick and Christina Nava by a producer I had worked with about four years prior. I ended up being their number one choice for the film, so they flew me back to LA to make the film. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had on set to date! Everyone was a lot of fun, the cast and crew were extremely talented and I got to bring joy to people every single day and make them laugh. Now that was a fantastic job! I hope to work with them all again.”
Asked about the plot of In Other Words, McClure said the story is based on a “geeky app developer named True Andrews.” He develops a matchmaking app in hopes he’ll finally find true love. His intentions end up aimed at a young woman who doesn’t speak the same language he speaks. McClure was excited to work with Chris Kattan—a “comedy legend” many viewers first knew through Saturday Night Live.
McClure is rapidly building an impressive portfolio, with roles in series like Mindhunter, Atlanta, and Hawaii Five-O. His most challenging role was in the film Basement, the work basically stuck on the cutting room floor. McClure explained why he found the role such a challenge:
“I booked the lead of Charlie in this film and I found out two weeks before we started filming, so I really had to get to work immediately. It was a highly emotional role with a lot of psychological elements. In the story [as Charlie], I had been abused as a child and never received help from anyone after my abusive father had passed. So I just lived with a distorted reality that led to a lot of issues for myself as the story unfolded. Definitely had to venture into some dark places for that piece.”
McClure’s success with roles alongside older veteran actors points to a bright future. He doesn’t seem to be focused on a shallow brand purely for financial gain. McClure summed up his passion in his biography:
“My favorite part of being an actor is that amazing feeling when you are so lost in the scene that you aren’t even quite sure what happened when you come out of it. I also really love the ‘collaborative-ness’ of film making. So many different talents working together to create a bigger vision.”
As Mindhunter continues to soar in ratings, it looks like McClure’s career will do the same. Not bad for a fellow from the Heartland where, as a child, he once aspired to play pro basketball. Now he’s playing in an arena where his passion comes alive, and he’ll play many positions as he helps bring entertainment to millions.
[Official photo of Bryan McClure courtesy of photographer Christian Webb.]
(Kay B. Day/Aug. 28, 2019)
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