Cyrus and Tom Improv Scene, His Affinity To Jake, Scandal Trained and Tom’s Passion Sign Revealed To Be A Tiger…Yes! We said, tiger! Join Us As Brian Letscher Dishes On His Character.
Brian Letscher currently known for his role in ABC’s political drama series as Tom on “Scandal” has gone from secret service to the president, to being one of the well-kept secrets of the deadly B613 agent who killed the president’s son. With so many plot twists for Tom, who quickly got tangled into all the politics side activities as Scandal betrayals were revealed. We couldn’t wait to chat with the man himself. – TV After Dark phoned in and conducted our own interrogation and what’s the future looking for Tom now he’s been handled not by Command but none other than Olivia Pope. Letscher describes his Helen of Troy monologue as, “words that were on the page was just so beautiful and so strong.” We learned about the Letscher comedy duo project One & Done, Tom’s affinity towards Jake (Scott Foley) and what a romantic night with Tom would look like. Want to know more? We had quite a few laughs at the end of the interview, listen to the audio below of Brian Letscher comedic answers on Tom’s not to be taken granted wild side.
TVAD | Did you have any idea that your character would last as long as it did?
Brian Letscher | No, no idea. You know, it was really supposed to be – as far as I knew, one episode; a guest star in that first season to come in and that scene was a little comedic, the one with Tony Goldwyn and Tony Westmore (who plays Hal) and he’s trying to get out of the White House, the President is. We negotiate with him to let him leave the White House as his Secret Service agents and then it just kind of grew. It kind of grew, I think the writers, you know, let’s be honest – I don’t think we were at the top of their list in terms of saying, “Hey, what can we can figure for Tom can do?” But I think over time, somehow it just fit in nicely.
TVAD | Don’t undercut the power of the frame of Tom bearing down and standing silent protecting the president.
BL | Well it’s funny that you say that because I think as an actor it can be easier to think, “Huh. I’m not doing a whole lot, but I think overtime the nice thing about Tom is, he just kept showing up. He was there and then all of a sudden he was right in the middle of helping to facilitate the phone rendezvous with Olivia and Fitz. I think as soon as that happened, clearly he was endeared to the elixirs for helping do that and then the big twist came in season three. Oh, wow! He’s actually something else, which was a surprise for me and awesome.
Do you watch Scandal when it comes out on Thursdays?
Are you kidding me? Absolutely! Oh my gosh. If I have a big episode on, or I’m in the episode I’m live tweeting and watching for sure. But even when I’m not, I’m sitting on the couch with my girlfriend and I’m not allowed to talk to her number one when Scandal’s on, which is hilarious to me.
Good, you’re Scandal trained.
I’m totally Scandal trained and I get it. You’ve got it. You’ve got your wine and your snacks and I’m the same way. I’ve got my rum, I’m glued to the television and then I’m looking at my phone to see who’s tweeting what and what’s going on. It’s a blast. It’s a total event in my house, every Thursday. It’s fantastic!
Is there one particular episode that stands out for you as your favorite more than others?
That’s really hard. I would say the episode where James got shot, got killed. I thought was particularly strong. I think the last episode was really strong because I love when…the themes are close to the heart and they are very personal things. I felt this last episode was full of those. The episode where James got shot and killed was heart breaking for me because I loved the relationship between Cyrus and James. I thought it was so well done with two terrific actors. The writing was great, so that sucked me in. There are a ton of them. The betrayal I thought was great.
You are doing better than me. I would not be able to answer that.
You know what I remember more than anything, is I remember scenes. I don’t remember full episode, wow this episode was the great. I remember passages of time. Like the stuff between Tony and Bellamy/ between Fitz and Mellie. They’re such great relationships. I remember scenes between them that you go, “omg that’s epic, that’s such good writing, that’s so good.”
It’s nice to know that cast members go through the same feeling as the viewers.
The table read, no one knows anything until the table read. We all are finding out for the first time. There are so many gasps and sighs and omg and no way. In the table read, everyone is freaking out. We’re basically having our reaction like the audience is seeing it for the first time.
One of the moments we really enjoyed was when Cyrus really had a go at it with Tom and Jesus forgives, Jesus saves, I destroy. It was the beginning of the many in-your-face, verbal smack downs Tom would have. You held up pretty well. – How do you manage scenes like that? Were there any funny moments you can share or was that a smooth transition?
It depends on the scene, the day; a lot of things go into that. Which is what I like actually. It’s not a cookie cutter show. It’s not where you’re showing up going, “Hey, we’re going to shoot the live one, then we’re going to shoot this coverage and your coverage. We each get a couple takes and then we’re moving on.” That’s not how this show works. The directors end the EP and other actors, everyone want to get it quote on quote right. I don’t mean get it right as this is the only way this scene needs to be played. I mean they want it to be truthful and strong and they will do what ever needs to be done to accomplish that.
I have to say, Jeffy Perry…everyone is great to work with, Jeffy Perry is phenomenal to work with. He’s a theater actor, which I am as well. That came from rehearsal that came form him…that’s a perfect example if you look at that scene that could have been played with no yelling, none of that it could have been played totally differently but that’s what’s beautiful about this show and that’s as everyone is going for it in every scene and there’s no kind of TV cool. You know what I mean and I love that about this show and it takes risk and performance that way because there’s no sense of hey we don’t yell on tv.
It’s just a commitment about what that character did at that moment and that was all Jeff it was really important that he get into see the president and he was going to threaten him and get in Tom’s face and threaten him to playground duty. He’s so enraged that I’m not letting him in that’s his response so that makes for a more interesting shooting.
Now right before shooting Jeff was starting to get a little…I remember us starting to improv before the camera’s role and he was getting into it and this was one of the first scenes he and I had together like this for sure and I came back at it before action was called. He and I was going at it before the scene started. I’m going to get in that room, you’re not going to get in that room. I was saying all sorts of stuff, you know I’ll have you removed from the building, you think you’re so big and tough, you’re so boom, boom, boom and we were poking each other before our action was called. Which was fun. But again that’s unusual to get that sort of commitment and that sort of work and that’s why I love being on this show. It really is one of the reason everyone’s so committed to do what ever it takes to get good work.
Did you know that you were B613 when you joined on to be the Secret Service for the President?
Oh no no no of course not that they don’t tell you anything and when I found out at the table read. I’m your eyes on the inside Jake. So that was awesome. That was a really cool reveal, a moment.
Tom is B613 that might not be a good thing.
Yea, that was real interesting reaction all around, that’s for sure and then again he’s been around for so long that people were excited that I could get a little more in the sort of thick of things as was I.
Was Tom given a B613 back story to prepare you for the role?
No. Well it’s up to you to do that, that’s your job as the actor, to make things work, to put a story together to make things work but you also have to keep it simple, because you don’t know next week what’s going to come out, that might be completely different from the story you were telling yourself, you know what I mean?! So I think everyone has their own way of dealing with that with not really know what’s really coming. And then the more you get the more that’s reveal to you certainly like in season two Mellie got a lot more of her back story and in season three so I just got a lot more in season four actually, a little glimpse in to who Tom is and how he thinks and what he thinks of things.
Talk about the moment when you got the script saying you were going to kill the Presidents son.
Yes that was pretty heavy. It was really hard. He’s a teenager.
What was your first reaction. – Shit! I’m off the show?
Well in about five seconds it went from oh wow, holy shit I’m right in the thick of things, then omg, dah, dah, dah, omg this puts me in harm’s way. I might be killed off now. You go through all of that in about ten secs and then you go wow this is great I get more stuff to do. If that’s what you want. If you’re a player you want to play and then you focus on your job and at some point you don’t worry about what might happen in the future. You just focus about doing the best job in this scene in this episode, do your job and everything is going to happen the way it’s going to happen.
The interrogation scene was very intense. You held up very well against Command. For a minute there we thought you were going to choose Jake but you didn’t. Now look at you Tom held up in Super Max. How was it to sit down next to Joe Morton and film that particular scene.
It’s quite a group of actors on this show isn’t it. I think it’s stunning what everyone does with the amount of words they are given. Phenomenal work really done.
I’ve been doing it for a while. To me that’s a gift, when you get someone like Joe that you’re in the room with, what a gift and clearly the writers had enough faith in both of us to put us in that room together that we’d be able to pull of that scene and what I took as a compliment and then again it’s my job and what I’ve been training for and working for a long time. So to me it was a total gift to step in the room with Joe and that’s his job. His job is to combat Tom in that scene and Tom job is to try and hold up and there’s a lot goign on and. Like I said I learned quite a bit about Tom in that episode. You know the bench with Joe and then Scott. You’re learning a lot about Tom until they got to that moment you play with there’s a lot of ammunition.
If it’s a thrill to be in the room with Joe Morton, it’s a gift and you don’t have time to be anything but engaged that’s your job. Once you put the suit on you get in their and everyone’s in there it’s tome to go to work and that’s the best part of everything and then you walk it out when it’s over goign alright we left i tall in there the went after me i went after him, I did my best to live up and that’s a total gift and the same with Kerry in the next episode.
There was a lot of in your face scene shot. I was nervous for you even when Olivia came into the room. Was there several ways that Helen of Troy scene was played versus the edited version played out on television? If so tell us a little about that.
Let’s start with what it always start with, which is great writing. That monologue when we read it was at the table read. It wasn’t the way that I read it but it’s just the words that were on the page was just so beautiful and so strong and again a Tom had been built up over three and half seasons you hadn’t heard a lot from him, til when he finally spoke to have that and those sort of words and say what he said to Olivia in that moment I think was such a surprised and just brilliantly done and so well set up by the writers when he dropped that bomb, such a gift for me. It’s about again the you show up on the day and you have an amazing actor to work off of, who’s so present. Kerry is so present and alive. Oliver Bokelberg directed and we talked a lot we shot that scene quite a few times.
Do you think that Jake and or with Olivia’s help will take down Rowan?
What I think as a fan and what may or may not happen. I can’t say unfortunately because then someone will stick a needle in my shoulder. If I say anything even if it’s just speculation sitting on the couch…I guarantee as always is the case will fight for their lives on that show.
If there was anyone else Tom was assigned to protect on Scandal who would he choose?
I think Tom definitely has an affinity towards Jake he didn’t want to say Jake’s name when Rowan was pushing him, he wanted to give up Rowan we know that when Rowan walked in the room he had no choice and finally he does give up Rowan to Olivia which was so twisted since she’s the one that had him stabbed which was such a great moment, such a great moment wasn’t it?. – I think he has an affinity towards Jake and that’s nothing in the writing or anything that’s going to happen or anything that I’ve seen trust me but I think he didn’t want to give up Jake and I think he really liked the way Jake handled being Command opposed to Rowan and I don’t know what’s going to happen with those two or those three but it’s been show that he has an affinity towards Jake.
If Tom could pick to be Jake or Fitz for the day. Which one would he want to be?
Oh wow! Holy cow! You are putting me in such a tough spot you understand that right? I mean I won’t…I can’t win, that’s one of those great questions. Now you’re the great writer. You’ve written the perfect, you’ve backed me in the perfect corner to you need to be on Scandal writing staff. So therefore Tom will plead the fifth.
Whatever alternate universe there is Fitz and Olivia have their Vermont and jam, Jake and Olivia, is on a tropical island in the sun together. We’ve now paired Tom and Olivia. Describe what a steamy romantic night would look like with Tom and Olivia.
Whoa! Holy cow. One A that feels icky to me (laughs) because of everything I’ve said about Jake and Olivia. I think this is such a great question. I think Tom would shoot her to the shooting range, they’d go fire some guns, she’s d teach her how to clean a weapon, they might do some stunt work, you know teach her how to flip off a side of the building or something, or put an arm lock on somebody. Maybe hacked in a computer and do some Huck stuff with her and then at the end of the night he would politely ask her for a kiss.
That’s right Tom’s the silent type so he’d take it really slow.
That’s right but I have to say this. Although, if he got his suit off but there’s some deep passion in Tom I don’t know if we’ll ever see it on this show but he’s a tiger. He’s a tiger! (Laughs)
TV After Dark challenges Brian Letscher to our “Yes, No and Maybe” rapid fire questions on Tom Larsens secret thoughts for ABC’s Scandal.
- Would Tom be an Olitz shipper?
BL | Yes!
- Would Tom be more for Jake as Command?
BL | Yes!
- Does Tom believe President Fitz really loves his wife?
BL | I think Tom is smart enough to know that love is complicated. I think he knows you can sometimes love two people and may not love in the way you want to move forward.
- Tom have a bit of a crush on Olivia?
BL | I think it’s an icky no. I think he sees how beautiful she is but it’s a no.
- Is that it for Tom, will we see him again?
BL | We will see Tom again yes!