Brian Shoop is an incredibly talented and versatile actor based out of Oklahoma. He stumbled into film acting later in life and got his big break as Durham PR Director in the The Rookie, a movie about the oldest rookie in professional baseball. His faith-based film roles include the father-in-law in A Christmas Snow, Senator McIntosh in Find Me, and Phil in Home Run.
When did you first discover a love of acting?
Acting was a sort of mid-life crisis event for me. When younger – high school and college – I was an athlete and figured anyone involved in dramatic arts must have serious issues. After moving my young family from Ohio to Oklahoma for the construction market, and getting involved in a new church, I noticed I had great fun participating in skits just for fun. So, for the experience, I auditioned at a local community theater and was cast in the lead of Plaza Suite. I was hooked. I began taking classes, workshops, read everything I got my hands on and so forth. My thirst led me out of carpentry, to teach drama at a Christian School, and eventually, to pursue the career full time. In 2002, it was off to Hollywood where I became a member of the Beverly Hills Playhouse. Now back in Tulsa, I teach at my agent’s Talent Agency and only pick and choose projects I really want to be a part of.
What was your first acting role?
My first professional role was a drunk in a rehab commercial. My parents were so proud. My first role in a major motion picture was as the Durham PR Director in The Rookie with Dennis Quaid.
Tell us about your experience on The Rookie.
It was magically ironical. 39 years old and in my first major movie, and the movie was about the oldest rookie in professional baseball. The first difference I noticed from the smaller movies I had been a part of was the isolation. I was sitting in my trailer – pretty cool in one sense – but it was just me. Sitting there. I got into my wardrobe in about 30 seconds and then I just sat until they came to get me. I suppose I had envisioned sitting in a green room holding area somewhere munching trail mix and chatting with Dennis. Then, when they did bring me onto the set, I was totally amazed by the number of crew. They were everywhere – each with a specific job about which he or she was deadly serious. No one seemed to be light hearted despite my best efforts to encourage such things. Extras were together in one area until their handler herded them into the stands and told them how to be normal. Actors were moved into position around the set. That part was familiar. Then the first AD yelled, “Stand by,” and an immediate hush fell over the whole menagerie that was disconcerting. I remember thinking, “I better not mess up my lines. Half of Hollywood is standing there staring at me. What do I say again?” My character called the star in from the outfield and introduced him to someone else. It was the first time I had met either. Went against everything my Mother taught me about propriety to begin ordering this super star around as though I had known him for years and he worked for me. Amazingly, he did exactly what I told him to do – for all the takes – over and over. Eventually, we chatted but we never got to the trail mix.
What faith-based movies have you been in?
Eight of the movies on my resume could be called faith-based including Treasure Blind, a movie that I wrote and produced some years ago. The most recent example was Home Run. What is it with me and baseball movies?
What has been your most challenging or enjoyable role?
Every role seems to have its own joy and pain together. I first think of Suicide where my role, Lazarus McFee, was a brilliant professor whose experiments accidently kill his wife. As a result, he denounces all science, all society, and lives like a wild man in the Colorado mountains. That was a beautiful experience, shooting in Colorado for a couple weeks, but a fiercely demanding role. Trying to act smart. No seriously, combining feral animal behavior with brilliant cognitive ability. But then there was the role of King David in Israel – how could I top that? That was seriously thrilling.
What would be your dream role?
My dream role would be alongside actors whose craft I truly admire, and I might add, I have been blessed to already experience more of this than I ever expected. But Meryl Streep, Anthony Hopkins, Jeff Bridges, Gene Hackman, Cherry Jones – those are thrills I still only dream about.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
No immediate projects except that I am writing a couple screenplays that I would really like to see happen. One is entered in the Gideon Film Festival Screenwriting Contest, and the other is not quite finished.
What are your goals for the future?
Future goals include getting at least one of those scripts produced, and to go fishing with my grandson.