When we think about some of our favorite actors, such as Robert De Niro, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, and Al Pacino…we think about their films, their amazing acting abilities, and memorable lines from those works. All these actors had to start somewhere. Their fame wasn’t handed to them overnight. They all had to learn the craft of acting, and struggle for their first real break. But before all that, they had to have one simple thing: a dream.
Actor Jason Bremer had a dream as well, but he never would have guessed it would have landed him in a film based on a novel written by the world renowned author Stephen King. This novel was ‘11-22-63’, a story about time travel and ‘what if, scenarios that pose the question: ‘What would happen if you could go back in time and save former President John F. Kennedy from assassination’? The novel was hugely successful, and considered one of King’s best in recent years. When fans of Stephen King received word last year that this piece of work was being adapted on Hulu as a mini series, excitement was in the air. One of those fans was lucky enough to land the chance of a lifetime, being cast in a Stephen King film! For a King fan, this is a dream come true (next to meeting the man himself), and a great opportunity. Actor Jason Bremer got that chance. However, before film cameras began to roll, Jason was just a regular guy living in Texas.
Jason Bremer was born April 5 1981, and from Puyallup, Washington. He attended Puyallup High School, and after graduation went to Community College of the Air Force. He was a former NCOIC aircrew life support member (Laughlin AFB in Texas), in the US Air Force. During a 10 year stint in the USAF, Jason caught the acting bug. He acted for 2 years, beginning in 2008, in such plays as Biloxi Blues, and A Bad Year for Tomatoes. It was during that time he knew he wanted to become an actor full time. While in the USAF, Jason earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, he also expressed interest in pursuing a degree in acting as well. Once he left the USAF Jason moved to Dallas, Texas in 2009. Jason is currently married to Lauren, and pursuing his future career in acting.
Here is my exclusive one-on-one interview with actor Jason Bremer, of Stephen King’s 11-22-63.
Q. You are originally from Washington state, why did you decide to move to Texas?
A. My last assignment took me to Del Rio, Texas. I met my wife while I was there. She was living in Dallas at the time that we met, and we would visit one another once a month while we were dating. In 2009, close to a year after we met, I got out of the Air Force and headed to Dallas, where I currently live. My family still lives in Washington state.
Q. What attracted you most to the Air Force out of all the military branches?
A. As a kid I loved airplanes. I loved going to air shows. We lived near McChord Air Force Base, and my friends Dad was in the Air National Guard. I was in ROTC for 1 year, and after graduating high school, signed up for the Air Force. I have no problem with any branches of the military. I love my brothers and sisters in arms, but because of my love of airplanes and jets, I joined the Airforce.
Q. During your time in the military you acted in two plays. Tell us about those auditions, and your first acting experience in them?
A. Actually, I hadn’t planned on any acting in any plays while in the military. I had always wanted to do acting , however I never had the opportunity and thought it was a long shot. In 2008 I had heard that they were looking for people to try out for a play. It took me a few days to decide to go ahead with auditioning, but decided to go ahead with it, as this may have been my only opportunity. The audition really was about 20 people sitting around a table reading from the script. It lasted 2 hours and then we left. I heard a few days later I got the part for Donald Carney in Biloxi Blues. This is an excellent story, and I loved every minute of it and couldn’t get enough of it. A few months later I got a call from the same director asking if I wanted to play the part of the Sheriff in a play called ‘A Bad Year for Tomatoes’. While this was a smaller role than the one I had in Biloxi Blues, it was a fun part to play and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Q. Explain your part as the NCOIC of aircrew life support?
A. I got stationed in Del Rio, Texas as a Staff Sergeant, coming into a shop of 30 people, and a few months into the assignment I happened to make rank to the position of Technical Sergeant, which put me as the leader of the aircrew life support shop, Non Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC). I hadn’t expected it, but the experience I got the next few years in this leadership position will stick with me the rest of my life. In aircrew life support (Now known as Aircrew Flight Equipment), we are in charge of all the safety equipment for the pilots and the aircraft. This includes the inspections of parachutes, night vision goggles, flight helmets and masks.
Q. What did you find most interesting working on your bachelors in Criminal Justice?
A. I really enjoyed this time. Going to school while in the military was pretty tough, as with a full time job and trying to learn at the same time was difficult for me. But I stuck with it and got through it. The most interesting thing about this without going into detail, is how much more time it would take to become a police officer than just going through the academy, and then getting into a car and pulling over speeding vehicles. This is pretty much all I was thinking it would be like, but taking all these courses changed my thinking. Although I never followed through with becoming a police officer,I always am thinking ‘what if’, and I am very thankful for all the officers that do follow that career path, and how difficult it must be.
Q. When did you first become a Stephen King fan, and what is your favorite book by him?
A. It was in the early 1990’s, but honestly I would buy his books and really not read them. To me they were collector’s items that would sit on the shelf. It wasn’t until some of the movies/miniseries came out that made me want to read the books. I haven’t turned back since, and read most of his books. Not all, but most. My favorite will always be ‘IT’. I can always turn to that book and enjoy it. Since 2011 though, I have really loved 11/22/63, but the book ‘IT’, will always be the favorite ,with 11/22/63 coming in a close second.
Q. When did you first hear about the casting call for the film adaptation of King’s book ‘11-22-63’, and what was your audition like for it?
A. A few months before the filming here in Dallas is when I heard of it. I had already heard they were filming in Canada. By this point I had been in contact with a casting company here in Dallas for a few years. My wife had heard of this company a few years before on the news, and I contacted them to let them know that I was interested in acting. They took my name, and I had a few small parts right after. When I saw the opportunity to do something in ‘11.22.63’, I knew I had to get on it. I talked to them, and they figured they could use me all week in Dallas. I wish I could say I sat in an audition and got it, I didn’t. I got outfitted for 1960’s era costumes a week prior to filming, and I was ready.
Q. Did you get to meet ‘11-22-63’, lead actor James Franco, or Producer JJ Abrams, while on-set?
A. Unfortunately I didn’t meet JJ Abrams while I was down here in Dallas during filming, I did however chat with James Franco (although very little time), during the JFK assassination scene ( we had lots of down time to reset the take and move the camera angles). He was sitting on the grassy knoll (along with a lot of people), I sat down to rest near him (not knowing it was him), and we were there for 20 minutes and chatted a bit about the assassination scene. Very fun!
Q. What is your most memorable moment working on ‘11-22-63’?
A. Although I had fun all week, I have to say the Thursday of filming the assassination scene was my most enjoyable. I have always loved JFK, and to actually see what it could have been like to be there in 1963 was unforgettable. It really did seem like we travelled to 1963, and witnessed it.
Q. Were there any harsh working conditions while filming?
A. I would not say we had any harsh working conditions, unless you count the uncomfortable shoes they gave me to wear the first few days. Absolutely no cushion, so on day three, I took my own shoes there. I know it sounds petty, but working 15 hour days, and spending most the day on your feet, a good pair of shoes makes all the difference, and yes every day of shooting was about 15 hours. I was exhausted after each day, but I would never want to take it back. It was actually a fun 15 hours of work.
Q. Fifteen hour days, now that’s a lot! What made it so long?
A. Yes, we worked for about 15 hours each day. This included the time that all the extras had to check in and get dressed. This also included a 30 minute lunch, and at the end of the day you have to undress and check out. About 15 hours, and to say I was exhausted by the time I got home would be an understatement. It was hot all week. We were dressed like it was fall, so even though it was 85 degrees, we had to dress like it was a crisp November day. Looking at the first episode though, it was all worth the work.
Q. Was there anything in particular you enjoyed most about that era of 11-22-63?
A. Mainly the cars. I am a car lover, and to see all the 1950/’60 era cars was awesome. Also seeing the Plymouth Fury from Christine was the best car I’d ever seen. I have always loved it since seeing Christine, so to see the actual car from the movie was awesome. Another thing I loved from the 60’s era was the clothing. Just putting on a suit, or something they wore back then, takes you back in time. Because we spent 15 hours on set in costume, and seeing all the old cars, really made me feel like I was in the 1960’s. It was only when I was driving home and on the freeway, that I realized it wasn’t the 60’s. That is how realistic it felt. I loved it, and wish I could do it all over again.
Q. What Stephen King film adaptation would you like to be in next?
A. The remake of ‘IT’. I know there is a remake in the works. I would love to play the part of adult Bill Denbrough. He was my favorite character from the book, and also from the miniseries. I am really looking forward to that remake, and if I had the opportunity to audition for that role, or really, any role, I would stop what I was doing and go to the audition.
Q. Stephen King has a huge following on social media with many fan pages. What are your thoughts on Stephen King fan pages, and what do you enjoy most about them?
A. I love following any Stephen King fan pages. There are lots really, but I have to say my favorite is ‘All Things King’. Absolutely no drama!!! But what I really enjoy is just communicating with people who obsess over Stephen King as much as I do. I grew up thinking I was weird, you know? In reality there are millions of fans of his. Just keeping up with everyone and what they are currently reading, is awesome. Discussing new books/movies with everyone is a blast, and looking forward to chat with everyone online because yes, Stephen King has a huge following.
Q. What is next for Jason Bremer?
A. I wish I had the perfect answer. My dream is to continue to pursue my acting career, and just make it… big. Move out to Hollywood, and enjoy every minute of it. But if it just turns out to be something small (like it has been), I will still love every minute of it. Living in Dallas does make it a bit difficult to act, as there are not as many roles as someone would want. So I will continue to try out for anything that comes locally, and hope to meet the right persons who would think I would be perfect in their next film.