Brian Guest is an actor, writer and comedian who spoke to us about Tupac, the Notorious B.I.G. and Bad News Bears! Enough said!
SRS: What can you tell us about your character in Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.?
BG: I play U.S. Attorney Tim Searight who is the lead prosecutor in a case against George Torres, a supermarket mogul accused of several crimes including murder. You will have to watch the show to see why this is relevant to the Biggie Tupac story, but I can tell you that Greg Kading (played by Josh Duhamel) worked both cases.
SRS: How did you prepare for the role?
BG: I am such a huge fan of Tupac and Biggie so I was very familiar with the theories surrounding their murders. I had seen several documentaries prior to being involved with Unsolved, including Greg Kading’s Murder Rap Documentary. However, there wasn’t a ton of info out there about my character Tim Searight. One of the many benefits to having Kading as a producer on the show was being able to talk to him on set about what really happened. It’s the intricacy of Kading’s investigation that was fascinating to me. It’s such an iconic part of history. The music, LA back then – I was growing up when all of this East Coast/West Coast news was going on. It’s trippy to be able to talk to the guy that put the pieces together on the mystery of what happened to them. It really is surreal to play a part in the their story. I think every actor tries to up their game when you get the chance to play a REAL person, especially when the stakes are this high.
SRS: There are so many conspiracy theories, like that Tupac is alive and hiding in Cuba to stuff involving the government. Having worked on the show, what do you believe now about Tupac’s death?
BG: I think we as a society yearn for them to live on because they were such a cultural phenomenon. Elvis, Kurt Cobain, hell Jimmy Hoffa might be 120 years old at this point but my grandfather swears he’s still alive. Sadly, I believe Tupac is not alive. And I think everyone who worked on Unsolved carried the burden with them that these were real men with real families and friends who miss them every day. I suspect the conspiracies are painful for them, and being a part of this show taught me that pop culture is a double-edged sword. The public really only got a glimpse of what Tupac and Biggie were, and who knows who they could have become. We didn’t get to see other sides of them outside of the public eye. I hope people watch Unsolved and remember that Tupac and Biggie were friends, they had families, they were music gods, but they were also human.
SRS: How do you feel fans and family of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. will react to the series?
BG: I’m really good at predictions. I’ve only lost a few dollars on those 7-11 scratcher lottery tickets. The show has had such an enthusiastic response already and it’s the fans who we should thank for that. Unsolved is in such good hands with Director/Producer Anthony Hemingway. He really is a champion for this story, and is relentless in making sure that it’s done right. He brings out the best in actors, and let’s be honest, these actors are no slouch actors – they are all-stars! They are as great on the screen as they are in person. Writer/Producer Kyle Long created an amazing show. I can’t put into words what the families must be feeling each time they have to relive this so I am not even going to try. I haven’t lost a loved one in such a tragic way, and I can’t imagine their pain. My only hope is that Unsolved reminds us all how truly special they were and why we all miss them still so much after all this time.
SRS: Coming up you have an Indie dark comedy The Oath. Any beans you can spill on the plot?
BG: Beans to spill… Shit gets crazy in this movie! Ike Barinholtz wrote and directed an awesome movie that I am thrilled to be a part of. I would literally act in a paper bag for Ike if he asked me to. And he actually did. I act in a paper bag in this movie for Ike’s weird pleasure. There, beans spilt all over the place!
SRS: Tiffany Haddish stars and QC Entertainment (Get Out) produced the film. What was your experience working with them?
BG: Tiffany is a freaking rockstar! I am a huge fan of hers! I had a moment on set where I just stared at her and couldn’t remember my lines because I was just staring at her, like damn that’s Tiffany Freakin Haddish! Not sure she knew, but now she does… hooray! And I’ve known the guys over at QC for years, in particular producer Sean McKittrick. They are literally the best. They give creative people freedom to do their thing and that’s a great recipe for everyone to execute their vision. I mean look at Get Out! Jordan Peele crushed that movie! They are like a good baseball coach. You just put the best people out there and they play. When the coach starts messing with the lineup, you get a Bad News Bears scenario. I played baseball, so all of my references are Bad News Bears references.
SRS: Besides acting, you’re also a comedian and writer. Any chance, in the future, you’ll be starring in a comedy you wrote?
BG: I am writing a couple different projects right now. I would love Josh Duhamel to play me in one of them, but if he is not available I guess I will have to play myself. But I reaaaally want Josh to play me. I’d like him to play me in real life as well.
SRS: You have had a lot of great roles on television series. What would be your dream show to guest star on?
BG: Can we do another re-make of the Bad News Bears?