Welcome to America, MR YOUNG – Brendan Meyer Exclusive Interview

What if you were a fourteen year old genius who just graduated college, what would you do? Would you:

A) Go work for NASA
B) Join a fortune 500 company
C) Go back to teach high school?

If you answered C), then you have a lot in common with MR YOUNG, the title character of the hit Canadian series that is premiering in the US today Monday September 26 on Disney XD.

Daemon’s TV
had the great pleasure to talk to Brendan Meyer who plays Mr Young about what viewers can expect from the show, how he relates to this character and how ready he is to break bad.

Read more below and don’t forget to tune in to Disney XD for the US premiere of Mr Young today on Disney XD (check your local listings for time)
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Congratulations on having ‘Mr. Young’ come to the U.S. That must be exciting.

Brendan Meyer: Yeah, it’s great. I’m so excited for it to come to the U.S. so that my friends in the U.S. can see it and also it’s just great exposure for the show and for everyone involved.

How would you describe this show to someone who’s never heard of it?

Brendan Meyer: Well, it’s basically about this fourteen year old genius called Adam Young who at the age of fourteen has already graduated university. Instead of using his degree to go off and work at NASA or do some adult job he decides that he really wants to go back and have the high school experience that he never had because he was a genius and graduated really quickly. He never got a chance to be a kid. So, he decides to take a job as a high school teacher in his hometown and so that’s what he does.

It’s interesting because he’s a kid and he’s the teacher, and so he’s a person of authority and has to deal with the principal and his fellow teachers and faculty members, but at the same time he’s this teacher dealing with kids his own age. He has a crush on one of the girls in his class and his able to be effectively bullied by the bully in his class. Not many kids respect him and that’s where a lot of the comedy comes from.

What attracted you to the role?

Brendan Meyer: Well, I thought it was a really interesting character. I thought that it was a different sort of character. And being a kid stuck between these two worlds, having to deal with the principal and the other teachers and that and also being this kid and dealing with kids his own age, I thought that it was just an interesting predicament.

It’s a different sort of take on a kid in high school. There’s never been a kid who’s trying to have the high school experience, woo the girl that he has a crush on and trying to hang with his best friend and deal with the bully, but at the same time being this teacher figure. I think it’s really interesting and lends itself to a lot of interesting storylines that haven’t been done before.

What can your viewers expect in the first season?

Brendan Meyer: There’s all kinds of interesting things. We use the science element a lot to justify some really crazy plots. I build a robot in one of the early episodes that wreaks havoc on the school. Then there’s one where a gas is released and we all have to tell the truth. I don’t want to say too much, but the thing about our show is that we have a lot of really big and exciting plots. The writers really write a lot of the time almost like they’re writing a cartoon in some way. There’s a lot of really cool, outlandish things, but they still ground it which this great sense of wordplay and timing. It’s really exciting. You can expect a lot of plots that out there and lend themselves to exciting happenings.

Do you think there’s particular elements in the show that will resonate with an American audience?

Brendan Meyer: I think they will. I think the people who work on the show are very much of that American thing. They worked on ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’ and ‘Smart Guy’ and those kinds of things. So, even though it’s a Canadian show it’s not really coming from a different place from the other Disney shows that we’ve seen in the past like ‘Suite Life’ and ‘That’s so Raven.’ It’s very much in that mold, that style of comedy and that excitement.

I think it’s going to appeal to American audiences a lot. It’s very much a family show. I don’t think it’s specifically for kids. It’s not just for adults either, but I feel like it’s a show that parents will be able to watch with their kids and enjoy as well. It has that vibe, ‘The Shreks’ and those comedies that are so great for kids, but also have a level of sophistication to them that parents and older kids can enjoy as well.

Now you’re character is stuck in two worlds, the adult world and kid world. You’re an up and coming actor. You work and are also a teenager at the same time. You’re stuck in two worlds as well

Brendan Meyer: Absolutely. I totally see that parallel. I think you’re right. Being a kid with any sort of heavy job is feeling the same sorts of things. As an actor on a television show I have to keep up with school work and deal with being a kid and at the same time I have this adult job of going in and working eleven hour days as a lead character on a TV show.

I think it’s totally relatable to people in the industry and anyone who has a real job. I think it relates to even someone who works on a farm. It can really play into that aspect of having to juggle work and doing what you want to do as job and also dealing with all the pressures of what it is to be a kid, having a crush on a girl, being bullied, all these things.

The show’s shot in front of a live audience. How has the fan response been in general?

Brendan Meyer: The audience response has been great. We do a live audience here on Fridays and we always have a really good house and people have reacted to it. I believe it’s the number one show on YTV who distributes it in Canada. So, it’s been a big hit. I think that people really, really enjoy it which is gratifying because that’s ultimately why you do it. The writers and the actors comes together to make a show that people will enjoy and laugh at. I feel like people are responding well to it, and hopefully the people watching in America will love it just as much.

Are you prepared for the potential onslaught of attention you might get if the show does well on Disney XD?

Brendan Meyer: Well, I mean, you try not to think about that aspect of it too much. I think any time that you can get exposure it’s great on a career level and also from a level of being able to reach out. The more experience that the show can get the more that lends opportunity, as well as new projects and new parts which would be great.

Also the opportunity to give back. We had a girl from the Make A Wish Foundation on our set a little while ago. I’m always trying to reach out to inner city schools and that sort of thing. So, I hope if there’s exposure for the show, we don’t know how it’s going to do, I look forward to it lending me career opportunities and also opportunities to give back and help out and such.

What got you into acting? Was there a TV show or particular actors that inspired you?

Brendan Meyer: There are specific actors that I like, but it’s so hard for me to put my finger on what inspired me. It’s something that’s been in me from such a young age. My parents are big theater goers and so I went to a lot of kids theater when I was young with no agenda of trying to get me into it. They just enjoyed it. They had no past in the business whatsoever. They just enjoyed theater and film. From a young age of two or three I really feel like it was something that I was interested in.

I was always doing theater classes and camps. I never got into the whole film and TV thing early or even professional theater. I was taking a lot of classes and having fun with it. That was just sort of my hobby and then as I got older I started to realize that this is what I wanted to do. There’s nothing else that I could think of possibly doing. It was something that I feel really came from inside of me. There wasn’t a defining moment where I went, ‘Ah ha.’ It’s just been in me my whole life. I’ve yet to come to a moment where I’m not enjoying it or where I’ve felt like I don’t want to do it anymore.

I know you’re starring in ‘This Means War’ with Reese Witherspoon –

Brendan Meyer: I wouldn’t say starring in it, but I have a small role in it. I’d like to say starring, but no. I definitely got to be there and work with there.

If you’re on the cast list you’re starring in it –

Brendan Meyer: All right, all right. I’m a star. I’ll own it.

Do you have anything else coming up?

Brendan Meyer: Yeah. I’ve been pretty busy with ‘Mr. Young.’ I’m going to be doing the two part season premiere of ‘The Haunting Hour.’ I’m costarring with Joel Courtney from ‘Super 8,’ the new J. J. Abrams movie. So that was really cool, working with him. That’s the only thing I have coming up. We film season two until the middle of January. So, I’m pretty busy up until then. Hopefully something will come along after that or season three of this.

If you could guest star on any other TV show, which one would it be?

Brendan Meyer: I’d have to say if there was any other show I could go on it would be ‘Breaking Bad.’ I think that show is really cool. I think it’s very dark and about crime, but it has a levity and a humor to it. Also the actors on that show are just so great. Bryan Cranston is the lead of that and he comes from the sitcom world with ‘Malcolm in the Middle.’

It’s fascinating to watch him. It’s a dark role and he’s got cancer and is drug dealing, but it’s interesting for me, being on a sitcom right now and seeing the way that he uses the sitcom tools that he has and the comedy he uses to make it an interesting show. I just think the writing on that show is top notch. This is my pitch to be on the show.

(Photo Credit: Rob Daly)