Billy Brown interview: ‘Working Man’
“For guys like me, meaning, 6’2″, 219, I don’t look like a vulnerable type,” admits Billy Brown. Notwithstanding the actor’s commanding and stoic physical appearance, in “Working Man,” Brown delivers a raw and honest performance as a man who is more than meets the eye, someone that is vulnerable, caring and emotional.
“You’re seeing something that you wouldn’t necessarily expect and you’re finding the vulnerabilities, the openness that we all have,” he says. Watch our exclusive video interview with Brown above.
In “Working Man,” Peter Gerety stars as Allery Parkes, a factory worker in a small Rust Belt town, who defiantly shows up at work every day after the plant is closed. Brown co-stars as Walter Brewer, a passionate former co-worker who befriends Allery, alongside two-time Oscar nominee Talia Shire (“The Godfather, Part II” and “Rocky”) as Allery’s devoted wife Iola.
Reviews have been favorable for “Working Man,” scoring a 73 at Metacritic and certified fresh with an impressive 93% at Rotten Tomatoes. The film has been praised for first-time writer/director Robert Jury‘s moving screenplay and direction, as it paints a compelling picture of a man finding a sense of purpose amidst the despair of the Rust Belt and his own personal grief and loss. All three of the film’s main cast – Gerety, Shire and Brown – have also received positive reviews for their touching performances.
Brown loves how his character serves as the catalyst for Allery’s journey towards coming to terms with the loss and regret and has paralyzed him emotionally. Brown found the friendship between the two men so compelling because they were so different. “It was the exact opposites of these two men, outwardly speaking,” he says, that made it more interesting when Walter starts to break Allery out of his rut. “Maybe there’s something that I can do to extricate him from that purgatory that he is in,” he explains. For example, “it’s a simple act. I give Allery Parkes the car keys to my truck. ‘You drive.’ It’s a simple act, but yet it has so much weight,” he says. “There’s a reason he hasn’t driven. And what does it mean to drive now at this moment? Rule after rule after rule has been overturned by Walter Brewer, but for good cause.”