Wes Brown’s Deception

by Catie Ragusa on June 30, 2014

NUP_149533_2844-webThis article originally ran in the July/August 2013 issue of Scene Magazine. Brown starred in HBO’s True Blood in its second season.

“You start at the bottom and you do your best to earn your way up,” says actor Wes Brown. “You hope that every single project will help you grow. That you will learn from it. If it turns out bad, you learn from it. If it turns out good, you learn from that, too.” Though born in Texas, Wes Brown was raised in Louisiana, attending high school in Baton Rouge at Parkview Baptist School. “When you’re just getting started, you need experience,” he says. “The experience of being on set, of acting for the camera, and you can’t be too picky and choosy.”

After high school, Brown had no plans to pursue acting as a career, studying business and finance at LSU, where he befriended fellow Parkview grad Daniel Lewis. “We were friends at LSU and it just so happened that we both eased into the same line of work,” he recalls. “I moved out to L.A. [after college], but he was one of those people that I’ve always kept in touch with.” After their stint at LSU, Lewis became a producer. Brown continued acting.

In 2009, Brown recurred in a seven-episode stint in the second season of HBO’s vamp camp drama True Blood. Despite his Louisiana roots, Brown says that growing up in the Bayou State didn’t help him to get his role on the Louisiana-set series. His character, Luke McDonald, was a football player from Texas.

“I was actually the only American on the show,” says Brown. “Ryan Kwanten’s from Australia. Stephen Moyer’s from London. Alex Skarsgard’s from Sweden. If you look at the acting community as a whole, there’s not many from Louisiana. It’s nice to see people from our home state doing this stuff.”

Brown was soon cast as the lead in Storm War, a Syfy Channel Original shooting in Baton Rouge. It was produced by his friend Daniel Lewis of Active Entertainment. The film follows a pair of estranged brothers who uncover a mystery behind a series of natural disasters that are destroying famous monuments in Washington D.C.

After appearing on the CW soap 90210 as Taylor Williams, and as Dr. Judson Lyons on the medical dramedy Hart of Dixie, Brown auditioned for a major role on a network show: NBC’s big budget primetime soap Deception. “To be honest with you, I couldn’t take it that serious,” he says. The role was originally written for an actor in his forties.

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“I don’t look like a doctor. I don’t look like I’m forty. I actually didn’t think too much of it,” recalls Brown. “But then, they called again and again. They ended up calling me and asked me to come to NBC Studios to do a screen test with Meagan Good, so I was a little excited at that point. Then, a couple of days after the screen test, they called me and told me that I got it.”

The role of Julian Bowers, the playboy son of a Fortune 500 company owner, was re-written for Brown. “He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth,” Brown says of his character. “His job is to come out of his father’s shadow. Although this is his father’s company, he has the brains to run this company.”

The soapy drama sets sail with the untimely, yet unsurprising, death of Vivian Bowers, the heiress to the Bowers Pharmaceutical throne. When the thirty-two-year-old party girl seemingly overdoses, undercover detective Joanna Locasto (Good) steps in to solve the murder-mystery behind the death of her once-close friend.

Brown is most excited about the show’s suspense, and a surprise that happens midway through the season: the emergence of a new character previously unknown to the Bowers. “The writing becomes really exciting at that point,” he says. “The development of the story gets really good, really quickly.”

Deception’s ensemble cast kept Brown working with great actors, including Good, Tate Donovan, Laz Alonso, Katherine LaNasa, Victor Garber and John Larroquette. “It’s not everyday that you get to work with that caliber of a cast, [especially one that] genuinely gets along as well as we have,” he says. “It makes doing a television show that much more enjoyable when you have genuine chemistry with everybody, especially the leading lady.”

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Deception’s leading lady is Meagan Good, the show’s stunningly beautiful undercover detective. “She’s a good actress but she’s a better person. She takes her work very seriously,” Brown says of his co-star. “She is where she is for a reason. She’s the type of actress you hope to get to work with one day.”

He also had the opportunity to work closely with Louisiana native John Larroquette, who won four Emmys as attorney Dan Fielding on Night Court. “We broke the ice by our love of the Saints,” says Brown. Larroquette, a legendary funnyman who is also a formidable dramatic actor, counseled him on creating multi-dimensional characters by including small moments of humor, even in the most dramatic scenes. “If it’s overdone, it’s going to look ridiculous. If it can be spot on, it can be something pretty special.”

Though NBC chose not to renew Deception for its second season, Wes Brown’s career continues to expand. In addition to acting, he has written a script for Now and the Hour, a film now in development with Brown and Daniel Lewis producing.

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