Exclusive: Brandon Jay McLaren on THE KILLING and BEING ERICA Season 3

brandon jay mclaren
Brandon Jay McLaren has been all over our televisions lately and he shows no sign of slowing down. Best known for his roles in Harper’s Island and The Best Years, Brandon has also guest starred in shows like CSI and Human Target. Now he stars in the hit Canadian show BEING ERICA, season 3 of which is currently airing in the US on SOAPnet, as Sam’s love interest Lenin.

We’ll next be able to see Brandon in AMC’s highly anticipated new series THE KILLING, which premieres on Sunday, April 3. The moody crime drama centers on the investigation into the murder of a young girl through the perspectives of the police, the victim’s family, and the suspects. Brandon plays one of the suspects.

Daemon’s TV talked to Brandon about what we can expect from The Killing, exactly what Lenin sees in Sam on Being Erica, and why we shouldn’t be surprised if one of his next roles features him in a kitchen.

‘The Killing’ looks amazing, at least from the trailer.

Brandon Jay McLaren: The trailers are great. Have you seen any of the screeners?

I haven’t yet, sadly. Do we meet your character right away?

Brandon Jay McLaren: I’m right from the beginning.

You play one of the victim’s teachers?

Brandon Jay McLaren: Yeah. I play her political science teacher, Bennet Ahmed.

And you become a suspect?

Brandon Jay McLaren: Yeah. I’m very–I guess an important suspect or sort of a part of the crime.

What can you tell us about Bennet?

Brandon Jay McLaren: What can I tell you without being killed? He has a massive, massive secret unbeknownst to everyone, including his wife. I can tell you that.

How will the viewers learn your secret? Are there flashbacks or will it just be folded in during the police investigation?

Brandon Jay McLaren: You’re just going to find out, like, in real time when it comes down because eventually it has to come out because people get their wires crossed and they think I’m someone who I’m not. So eventually my character has to just come out and tell the truth.

How is ‘The Killing’ different from other crime shows?

Brandon Jay McLaren: The main difference I think is just because it follows one crime for the entire season. So you’re really allowed to sort of get to know the characters and you get to really feel how one crime really affects an entire community.

I know it’s told from the point of view of the police, the parents and there’s also a whole political story going on. Where are you mostly involved?

Brandon Jay McLaren: Both the police and parents, and a little bit with the mayor. Everybody’s stories intertwine. This is really a case study how one tragic crime has an affect on the entire community and how people react and people take sides. Somebody needs to pay. That’s why the show is really interesting, because it affects a whole cross section of this community.

Switching gears, ‘Being Erica’ goes back into production soon, right?

Brandon Jay McLaren: Yeah, it does. It’s exciting.

Lenin is a really fun character.

Brandon Jay McLaren: He is kind of cool, has a really cool car, cool sunglasses. It was fun, a fun guy to play and I’m excited to go back.

We’re only up through episode seven of the third season in the United States.

Brandon Jay McLaren: You’ve seen it?

Oh, absolutely–we’re just behind here.

Brandon Jay McLaren: Oh, that’s great. I didn’t know if anyone actually watched it in the U.S. That’s fantastic.

Sam and Lenin have had their first date and I understand what Sam sees in Lenin, but what is it that Lenin sees in Sam?

Brandon Jay McLaren: I feel like he sees in her that maybe she’s a little bit trapped with her routine and her way of thinking. So I think he sees an opportunity to open her up to another side of life, another way of being in the world instead of worrying about paychecks and jobs all the time. So in that way I feel like they’re a good complement for each other.

Lenin seemed remarkably unbothered about the fact that Sam lied about what he does for a living.

Brandon Jay McLaren: He did, right. I think he understands where it comes from. I don’t think he’s very judgmental. I think he gets her.

He’s almost too good to be true so far. Is there going to be another shoe that drops?

Brandon Jay McLaren: Is there? Yeah, there is. There’s a little more coming up in the two more episodes. Some decisions have to be made.

Can you tease anything for the rest of the season?

Brandon Jay McLaren: An ultimatum comes up, but you’ll watch it. It’s interesting.

Your comic horror movie ‘Tucker and Dale vs. Evil’ was a big hit at the film festivals last year. Any idea when it might be released?

Brandon Jay McLaren: Have you seen the movie?

No, and I want to know when I’ll be able to.

Brandon Jay McLaren: It’s so funny. I don’t know what’s going on. I know that it got distribution in Canada. Apparently, they’re just having a hard time selling it to a U.S. distributor. So the last that I heard, and I don’t know if I’m supposed to be telling you this, but I’m going to anyway, is that they were going to try to get the cast together and do a college tour of the movie and try to market it that way, like privately. So they’re trying to come up with all these innovative ways of getting the movie out there because it’s had such a response in every festival it’s been in.

I hear you’re also producing your first film?

Brandon Jay McLaren: Yeah. It’s actually been shot already. We’re just editing right now.

And it’s for an anthology film called ‘Vancouver Stories?’

Brandon Jay McLaren: Yeah. It was the first piece of maybe eight or nine other shorts that we’re trying to put together. I was asked to act in one. I got the script and I liked it and I also wanted to come on and put on a producing hat. So it was a really great experience. I haven’t seen the final cut yet, but from what I’ve heard it looks good.

Is producing something you want to head into as you get further into your acting career?

Brandon Jay McLaren: Yeah, absolutely. I want to have my hands in all the pots if possible.

You did a pilot for Syfy called ‘Three Inches’. Is that officially dead?

Brandon Jay McLaren: No. It’s not dead. It’s sort of on life support, I guess you could say. They’ve extended my option on the show. They just wanted more time to decide really, I guess, is what that means. They haven’t dropped it yet because I’m still on hold for them. I think that they wanted to sort of retool it and make it into a half-hour single camera, but I don’t think that they felt like it worked as an hour long show. So they kind of want to make it like a darker half-hour, more like a cable show with, like, an HBO type feel.

It’s a neat concept, this superhero who can only telekinetically move things three inches. You played the hero’s best friend?

Brandon Jay McLaren: Yeah.

Do you have any tiny powers of your own?

Brandon Jay McLaren: I don’t do anything special in that show. I’m normal. I’m just there to kind of like give support from the normal point of view. It turned out really well. I really hope that Syfy does pick it up. I’d really love to do it.

Are there any shows that you’d like to guest star on?

Brandon Jay McLaren: Well, I wanted to be on ‘Lost’. I would’ve given my right toe to be on ‘Lost’, but it’s too late now. I missed that. What would I want to be on now? I’m looking at my girlfriend because I can’t speak for myself. That’s a good question. I’d like to be on ‘True Blood’. I think that would be cool. I watch the Food Network all day because I eat all the time. I love ‘Big Love’. That was a favorite show of mine, but that’s all over. I’m so behind.

Do you cook well enough to have your own Food Network show?

Brandon Jay McLaren: You know, I do. I cook very well. That’s what everyone tells me. I don’t know what they say when I’m gone, but that’s what they say when I’m in the room. So I’d love to have my own cooking show. Can you make that happen? Do you know anybody?

I don’t, but you should pitch yourself as a judge on ‘Iron Chef’.

Brandon Jay McLaren: That would be one of my dream jobs or a judge on ‘Top Chef’ because I love ‘Top Chef’. Maybe if someone hears that I want to be on maybe they’ll contact me.

The Killing has a special two-hour premiere on AMC Sunday, April 3 at 9pm eastern/8 central before settling into its normal Sunday 10pm eastern/9 central time slot on April 10.

You can read all our The Killing coverage here.

Being Erica airs on SOAPnet Wednesdays at 11pm eastern/10 central.

You can read our Being Erica coverage here.

Follow me on Twitter @michstjame

(Photo: Franco Deleo)