Emma Approved star Brent Bailey takes a break from the charms of Jane Austen in love story The Republic of Two.
Fans will know him as the charming Alex Knightley in Emma webseries adaptation Emma Approved, but Brent Bailey can now be seen in a very different role.
Bailey stars in the Shaun Kosta helmed The Republic of Two as Tim, a prospective doctor who moves in with long-time girlfriend Caroline (Janet Montgomery) when the apartment above his opens up. Caroline is unsure what she wants, but she knows that she doesn’t want to be in Los Angeles, and she knows that she wants Tim.
The Republic of Two is a heartfelt and intimate examination of the course of Tim and Caroline’s relationship, and the different factors that intrude and impede on their republic of two.
Hypable: How did you become involved with ‘The Republic of Two’?
Brent Bailey: My agent found out about the project first through the amazing casting directors Sunday Boling and Meg Morman. I went in and read with them and the director Shaun Kosta. I felt really good about the audition and thought I had a really good shot at the role.
I heard that they wanted to bring me back in to read with a girl that they were considering for the role, which ended up being Janet Montgomery. I instantly connected with her and was rooting for her completely. For some reason we had exchanged numbers and I remember texting her after I knew I had the role, and I told her that my fingers were crossed that she’d get it too. Thankfully she did, and the rest is history!
Although their relationship takes centre stage, in a way the film is more a close character study of Tim than it is a love story between Tim and Caroline. Did you find it difficult to get back out of Tim’s head after spending so much time in it?
I completely agree. I think that this story is just as much about Tim figuring out who he is, and who he wants to be. I think Tim is actually very vulnerable, but tries to bury that deep down because it’s extremely scary for him. Unfortunately this makes it hard for him to express love, gratitude, excitement and sadness. Every feeling that he pushes deep down, takes him one step closer to his breaking point.
For me, getting into Tim’s head wasn’t a giant leap. Most people that are close to me know me as being very even keel. I don’t typically get overly excited or sad. This could be from moving around a lot as a child and learning that forming attachments to things eventually causes heartbreak when they go away, or perhaps it’s just a defense mechanism to protect my heart in general.
It’s definitely something that I’ve been actively working on for some time now, and it’s also a large reason that I enjoy acting so much, because when I am acting I can put my whole heart into a situation as a character because it seems less scary when it’s “pretend.” I think during the movie it helped me relate to Tim, but once we were done with filming it was a strong reminder for me to go back to being more vulnerable, and allow myself the opportunity to get hurt, because that risk is also how you find happiness.
There will be a lot of ‘Emma Approved’ fans who are interested in ‘The Republic of Two’ – obviously it is a very different type of story, so what disclaimer would you give those fans before they watched the film?
Jonathan Kiernan from the New Orleans Film Festival gave us a great review that ended by saying, “This film will hold special appeal for those who take their love stories with a shot of something dark.” I think that’s a great disclaimer. This movie isn’t your typical hollywood fairytale relationship movie. This is a very real relationship between two people and sometimes it gets ugly.
Every single person I know that has seen the film said they completely related to it in some way. A couple of people actually even said it was a bit eye opening to a current relationship that they were in. Film Threat also wrote, “will definitely cause you to look twice at your significant other, and yourself.” So just be prepared for that! Oh, and a little bit of bad language and some brief nudity!
This is a far more dramatic role than fans may have seen you in previously. Did your approach change due to the nature of the subject material?
I wouldn’t say that my approach changed much. After reading the script and talking about the character with the director, Shaun Kosta, I felt I had a pretty good grasp on Tim. The more important thing to me was the relationship with Caroline (Janet Montgomery). Thankfully Janet is incredibly talented and anytime we were acting together it didn’t feel like acting. Having a co-star that you trust and respect makes coming to work a whole lot easier.
Last time we talked, you mentioned the ways you saw yourself as similar to Knightley, but are there aspects of yourself that you recognise in Tim?
I definitely see some similarities between myself and Tim, but I relate to Knightley much more! Tim was the cool kid in school that was a great skier, popular, made friends easily and got the cute girl. I was the kid that was putting computers together, trying to create businesses, definitely not popular, and doing the cute girls homework to try to get her to like me. I also have never really been in a real fight and the thought of one is so not appealing to me, whereas Tim seems to lose his temper easily and quickly goes into defense mode.
The side of Tim that I related to the most was his love for Caroline. I am a hopeless romantic at my core and I can’t get enough of romantic comedy films. I do put up a bit of a front to guard my heart like Tim does, but at the end of the day I love finding people that can help me bring my guard down. Thankfully I am surrounded by some pretty wonderful people. I consider myself to be a very lucky guy.
‘The Republic of Two’ explores a range of relationships and issues, but if viewers were to take one thing away from this film, what do you hope it would be?
That’s actually a really tough question for me. I think that what you take away from this movie is all dependent on your current situation. I think some people will watch the movie and realize that there are going to be problems in your relationship, but if you are willing to work through them together, you can get through almost anything.
I think others will watch it and realize that the relationship that they are in isn’t the right one, and they deserve to be treated better. I think if I could hope for any particular thought when someone walks out the door, it would be them realizing that their relationship they are currently in is worth fighting for. I would want them to think that they need to not be stubborn, be open to communication and treat their significant other with the respect and admiration that they want in return.
Most of all I’d want them to believe that love is scary and sometimes it’s hard, but it’s worth the risk.
‘The Republic of Two’ is in cinemas in the United States now, and is also available for purchase on iTunes.