Actor Brian Oerly isn’t hiding from his ‘bad boy’ label or the punches that some of Hollywood’s A-listers have been throwing his way. Currently, you can catch him in theaters chasing after Jason Statham in “Parker” and battling with Sung Kang in “Bullet to the Head.” He also appears in the indie feature “The East,” which has been hitting the festival circuit including a screening at Sundance.
This stuntman turned actor has been building momentum alongside several Hollywood heavyweights recently, including Vincent D’Onofrio and Bruce Willis in the action-thriller FIRE WITH FIRE and Forest Whittaker in the Lionsgate release, FREELANCERS. He’s also popped up on the small screen in “Memphis Beat,” “CSI: NY,” “Chuck,” “Charmed,” and the infamous locker room scene with Ed O’Neill in “Modern Family.”
I had a chance to catch up with Brian and get to the bottom of his ‘bad boy’ image and all these fights he’s been getting into lately.
You’ve got a couple movies out right now including “Parker,” starring Jason Statham, and “Bullet to the Head,” starring Sylvester Stallone. Can you tell us a bit about your role in each and what it was like working in these action-thrillers?
BRIAN: Well, as usual, I am one of the Bad Guy's and I have no complaints there. In PARKER, Jason Statham is double-crossed and left for dead. In his pursuit to even the score, he enters the club I work in to question my boss upstairs. I find my fellow bouncer, played by Danny Epper, dead in the stair case which pisses me off so I head up the stairs, gun drawn, to see just what the hell is going on. Seeing Statham roughing up my boss, shots are fired in a crowded club and the chase is on. I want nothing more than to kill him, but in the end, the hero gets away.
I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Stallone a few times on RAMBO 4, BULLET TO THE HEAD, and THE TOMB, due out later this year in which I actually play two different parts, both as an actor and on the stunt side of things. Sly wears so many hats on most of his projects (i.e. Star, Director, Writer, and Producer) it is awe inspiring to be there and be a part of it all, watching, listening, and learning from him. The decisions he makes on the fly, why he makes them, and where it all ties into the story line. It is just so bitchen, cool to see. In BULLET TO THE HEAD I play a mercenary that is stalking Sung Kang's character, Taylor Kwon, through an abandon factory set as our headquarters. A violent hand to hand fight ensues after Kwon disarms me high up on the rusty catwalks, put together by Stunt Coordinator J.J. Perry. In the end, I fall 5 stories to my death, complete with brain chunks and splatter on the concrete floor below.
This is not exactly a normal job and you make it look so easy, so first tell us how you got into stunt work; and then what made you decide to transition into acting?
BRIAN: As a kid growing up I would play two things on a regular basis, a firefighter from the old television show, EMERGENCY with my red BMX bike as my Squad 51; and STUNTMAN falling off my Dad's roof into the thick bushes bellow after being pretend shot from one of the other neighborhood kids. No, it is not a normal job that a normal kid would aspire to be, but of course I'm not normal myself. It's a job that I have literally always wanted to do. The acting was a natural transition for me. I love everything about this business and what makes it all tick. I have always been a bit of a ham and I still am today. So being in front of the camera comes naturally to me. I have had the pleasure of working one on one with some of today’s elite (and fingers crossed) and I hope I am lucky enough to continue to do so.
You can also be seen as a train yard bully in the indie thriller “The East,” which recently screened at Sundance. So, are you naturally a ‘bad’ boy or are you just good at playing bad?
BRIAN: Hmmmm, well I guess that would depend on who you asked. I have definitely had my share of bad and trouble growing up. Boy-O-Boy do I! But now days I also do enjoy playing the bad guy. People say I have an unapproachable, menacing, devilish look about me, mix it all together and it equals, THE BAD GUY I guess. “I’m really not that bad, I was just drawn that way.” -- Jessica Rabbit
You’ve worked on so many action movies, both as a stuntman and now an actor. Be honest, isn’t it more fun doing the crashes, fights, and chases than actually looking into camera and saying the lines?
BRIAN: As a stunt professional we do get to do some outrageous and just down right damn cool shit. I do enjoy the hell out of it. Unfortunately, you can't do that stuff to the body forever the older we get. Don't get me wrong I’m not done with being a STUNTIE by any means just yet. Truth be told, I do very much enjoy being on the acting side of the fence. Especially working alongside some of the folks I have recently. "It's not what you are in Hollywood; it’s what people think that you are." -- Robert Stack. I love that quote because it's so true. Here's another, "If only people who dreamed about Hollywood knew how difficult it all really is." -- Greta Garbo. I like that one too because it to is so very true.
What coming up next for you? And, how can fans keep up with your career?
BRIAN: Well, I do have a few projects in the works, one of which I am not able to speak about yet. It's all hush-hush until the legal crap is done with. Coming out later this year, catch me in THE TOMB with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, BAREFOOT with Scott Speedman and Evan Rachel Wood, OLDBOY with Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Brolin, RIDE ALONG with Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Hart, and Ice Cube, and WINGED TERROR for the SYFY channel. I am not much of a fan of all the Twitter, Facebook stuff. I don't like people knowing my every step. But, people can follow me at www.brianoerly.com as updates are added to my web site regularly.
Thanks for taking time away from beating people up to chat with us, Brian. We’ll be watching for more left hooks to coming soon!