EF - Tell a little about your family and where you are from?

BdJ - I grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. My father died in 1990. He was a lawyer and sadly died at the age of 50. My mother, Mary, still lives there and sells children's books from her own company. My younger brother, Andrew, will graduate next year from Marquette University. My younger sister, Kate, is acting in Chicago. My older sister, Anne, teaches drama to Boston area high school students. She is also on the board of the Speakeasy Theater Company and just recently was cast in their production of Merrily We Roll Along.

EF - I like the name d'Arcy. Where did that come from?

BdJ - Actually, my middle name is d'Arcy. It was my dad's brother's name. His name is John d'Arcy James. He was an artist. Everyone called him d'Arcy. No one called him John. Because it is my middle name, no one ever really called me Brian d'Arcy James. I added d'Arcy when I joined equity. There were already one or two Brian James'. For a while I was Brian d. James. They wouldn't let that happen so instead of changing my name I used my full name.

EF - When did you first get interested in theater?

BdJ -I started singing in Junior High School. My older sister got me further interested. My parents were really good about bringing us to see shows. We would go to Detroit and see touring shows.

EF - Did you study theater?

BdJ - Yes, I got a BS in Theater at Northwestern University. I graduated in 1990.

EF - Did study of theater help?

BdJ - Oh yeah! By going to school, I was learning the craftsmanship and learning what it meant to be an actor as opposed to the idea of being an actor.

EF - Was there someone or something that influenced you in your acting career?

BdJ - The most direct influence I had when I was younger was my Uncle Brian Kelly, my namesake, who was actually quite successful in the TV series Flipper. He played the Ranger.

EF - No way!

BdJ - Yeah, that was my uncle. We always grew up with my uncle being in the TV show, being in California, being in the pocket of the industry. We'd go to our summer cabin in Michigan and I'd always wanted to hear the stories he'd have to tell. It was kind of a romantic and personal introduction to acting. He would always try to dissuade me but it didn't work.

EF - As you got more involved and further along in your acting career, who else was an influence?

BdJ - My acting teacher at Northwestern University, Bud Beyer. He was a great mentor and I consider him a friend. We spent four years with the same teacher. Bud Beyer was the one person that taught me.

EF - Do you remember any advice someone gave you regarding the industry?

BdJ - One thing that pops into my head that is sort of funny is something Charles Durning once said. I was at the Drama League Award luncheon with Martin Moran and John Cunningham (fellow Titanic cast members). It was great. It was at the Plaza Hotel. It was really cool. I was with all these great people like Christopher Plummer and Jason Robards. Here I was sitting with all these people, I couldn't believe it. Charles Durning was receiving the 63rd annual Drama League Award for distinguished performance for the 96/97 season. He ended his acceptance speech by saying that people always ask what advice he can give about theater. After a long silence, he said "don't keep your wallet in the dressing room". That's probably the best advice I've received about the theater.

EF - You're kidding, that's great! Do you have a passion more for musicals or straight drama?

BdJ - I love to sing. I think I prefer drama in that I like to do that more. I've had a couple of opportunities to do a couple of great plays. It is challenging to me.

EF - How about between two different kind of genre's - theater and film. Do you have a preference?

BdJ - I like the idea of TV and film. It is a totally different process. It intrigues me. I like what a film can do, the impact a film can have in its final form. I would like to act, write, even direct film. I like the visualization of one's imagination and realizing that. Creating what you imagine in your head in a moving way is great.



Sail onward...


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