Brad Beyer says he’s able to let things go when he’s done filming a scene. On the surface, that trait seems inconsequential until you realize his latest film, Thank You for Your Service deals with the very real effects of PTSD on our vets when they return home.
Written By: Jason Bowers
Photographer: Marc Cartwright
In the film, based on the acclaimed best-selling book of the same name, Beyer plays Sergeant James Doster, a real-life American soldier who served in Baghdad.
While people from all walks of life experience PTSD after experiencing trauma, vets at early screenings of the film are saying that someone is finally telling their stories.
As a performer, Wisconsin native Beyer’s been able to tell many stories with an extensive resume that includes roles in the NCIS and CSI franchises and the films The General’s Daughter and 42. He’s also co-starred with some heavy hitters including Halle Berry, John Travolta, Chadwick Boseman, and Harrison Ford.
Not only did Beyer tell us about the co-star he ironically didn’t meet, he also let us know which role fans are still hoping he gets to reprise (it wouldn’t be nuts if he did, pun intended). And, Brad Beyer gives us one of the best descriptions of “gentleman” we’ve ever received.
Thank You for Your Service is based on a best-selling book which deals with PTSD and readjusting to life back home after returning from Iraq. What unique challenges did you face not only playing a real person but playing one in a book so widely praised by critics and readers?
The biggest challenge was getting it right. The movie is telling such an important story, everyone in the cast was determined to do something that would make these people in the book proud.
Can you give us a little background on Sergeant James Doster, the vet you play in the film?
James Doster was a career army man. He had been in the service for 17 years, had a wife and 2 young daughters. He was stationed stateside doing recruiting for the Army. At some point he felt he needed to go Iraq to lend his experience to something he felt strongly about. He took over the 216 infantry as platoon sergeant. His men loved him. That’s what really stood out about him , the way his guys respected him.
What similarities (if any) are there between you and James?
I think James and I share a love of Family. I had the honor of spending time with his wife Amanda, who was so gracious and amazing, and his 2 beautiful daughters. He lived for his family.
Amy Schumer plays your wife in Thank You for Your Service and she’s obviously been known primarily for comedy, but was she the one keeping things light on set? How do you keep things light for yourself when you’re dealing with heavy material?
It’s funny Amy and I never met. Our scenes were all separate from each other. But she’s great in the movie. I tend to be able to let things go when I leave set. Thank God! 🙂
Have you done any early screenings with military and/or vets? What’s the reaction been like?
Jason Hall the director has been doing screenings for vets and the overall reaction has been very positive. A lot of them have said someone is finally telling their stories!
Back when you went to college, you weren’t initially studying to become an actor. What were you originally planning to do after school?
I honestly was thinking about ROTC and trying to become an officer in the marine corps after school, but then I found the theater! Probably my only regret in life is not serving.
You’ve appeared in your fair share of crime procedurals, from Law & Order (both the mothership and SVU) to CSI (Miami, NY, AND Cyber!) to NCIS to Criminal Minds. Do you have a favorite character you played on any of them?
Yes on NCIS I played a vet with PTSD. It was my first time really understanding what our guys are dealing with. It’s very serious.
You were a cast member on the show Jericho, which pretty much defined the idea of saving a show from cancellation when fans bombarded CBS by sending them 20+ TONS of nuts. With so many shows being revived, do you still get hounded by superfans about the show making a possible return (and would you want it to)?
People always ask when the show is coming back! I wish it was. It was a great show!
Is there a show that you’ve watched as a fan that you’d like to see revived or remade?
Yeah Jericho of course!
Besides (of course) Thank You for Your Service and Jericho, what’s one Bred Beyer performance everyone should see?
Well I did a crazy comedy some years back called Sorority Boys. It’s a real departure to say the least. I’m very proud of it!
You lettered in basketball, football, and track back in high school. Would you consider yourself a jock? Do you keep up with any of those sports now to stay in shape?
Ahhh, I’m an ex jock. I work out to keep fit. But I will love teaching my 2 young sons some stuff.
How would you define the word “gentleman?”
A man who is equal parts strength and sensitivity. My Dad. 🙂