Victor Webster as Mutant X's Brennan Mulwray.
Once again, I have decided to open up the interview vault and revisit some of the many interviews I have had the pleasure of writing over the years and that just appeared in-print and not on-line. In today's interview, the always-busy Victor Webster talks about his electrifying work as Brennan Mulwray in Mutant X. Enjoy, and keep coming back for more familiar faces and shows!
When he was growing up, Brennan Mulwray lived in constant fear of accidentally – and literally – shocking the life out of those around him. As an adult and a new mutant with the ability to generate vast amounts of electricity, he began to use his powers for personal gain. It wasn’t until Brennan joined a group led by Adam Kane, the man who helped create him and others like him, that he came to realize that he could be doing good with his “gift.” On this particular day, though, Brennan is finding it hard to keep his powers, not to mention his temper, under control. The cast of Mutant X is filming a scene for the second season story Within These Walls in which Adam’s past is driving a wedge between him and his fellow teammates.
“Brennan takes over as team leader when Adam goes missing,” explains Victor Webster, who plays the show’s electrically charged wonder man. “The way the story is set up, the two characters have opposing views on just how Mutant X is being led. Adam wants to handle things a certain way and Brennan thinks they should be done another way. My character subsequently gets to experience what the burden of leadership is like. Because of this, a great deal of tension develops between him and Jesse [Forbes March], who’s also vying for more responsibility insofar as the team is concerned. By the end of the episode, Brennan apologizes to Adam, who also admits that some of his actions were wrong.”
While too much bickering in a family isn’t good, a little disagreement every so often is healthy, even in a family of superheroes. “Last season, our characters were always agreeing with one another,” says the actor. “We hardly ever argued. This year, the episodes are much more character-driven and as a result we have the occasional emotional tug of war. I think that’s terrific, and it certainly adds a further sense of realism to the relationships.
“As I mentioned, there’s definitely a competition going on between Jesse and Brennan. With Adam, my character has a lot of respect for him, and it appears as though he’s grooming Brennan to be his second-in-command. Emma [Lauren Lee Smith] is starting to distance herself a bit from the team and is becoming more of a lone wolf. That makes sense given that she can read the feelings of those around her. The closer Emma gets to someone the more emotionally attached she becomes, which is something she’s afraid of. So that’s a cool dynamic. Of all his teammates, Brennan gets along the best with Shalimar [Victoria Pratt]. However, that’s not to say that things with them will always be rosy. So it’s nice that the show’s writers are shaking things up with us this year.”
Like most children, Webster wanted to be a superhero when he was a youngster. “That’s what eventually led me to study martial arts,” he says. “A big fantasy of mine was to have the ability to save a person’s life.” Never in a million years did the actor think that he’d one day be doing precisely that on Mutant X. Believe it or not, zapping a bad guy with a bolt of electricity or facing them in hand-to-hand combat is the easy part of playing a new mutant. With the show’s first season under his belt, the actor has become much more comfortable walking in Brennan’s shoes. Now in year two, Webster has been working hard to take his performance to the next level.
”Some of the characters I’ve portrayed in the past have been subservient,” notes the actor. “By that I mean they’ve done what other people have told them. Conversely, Brennan is someone who takes his destiny into his own hands and does what he feels is right for him. He’s independent and it’s refreshing to play a guy who’s in control. That said, I want to give Brennan an even stronger sense of who he is. To that end, I’m trying to find different nuances to the character and, at times, make him a little less predictable. What I do may not always work but that’s part of the creative process, right?
“I have to tell you, though, that Brennan is a greater challenge for me to play this season,” continues Webster. “The writers have given me more dialogue along with more to do. Now it’s up to me to take all that and show them as well as the producers what I can do with it. I’m fortunate, too, in that besides the show’s cast I’ve worked with some wonderful guest-stars this season. One of my favorite episodes that we’ve shot so far this year is called The Grift. In it, an ex-girlfriend of Brennan’s who he lived with for a while comes back into his life and cons him into doing something. A very talented actress named Christina Cox was the guest-star and we had some great scenes together. There’s definitely an on-screen chemistry between our two characters and I had a blast playing that out.”
Although his character shed his bad boy image when he joined Mutant X, Webster wouldn’t mind occasionally re-visiting Brennan’s dark side. “I’d love it if we could do some flashbacks, especially with Brennan and his stepfather,” says the actor. “Perhaps his stepfather was very abusive towards him and his mother and smacked them around. It could be that Brennan first discovered his powers during one of those incidents. Maybe he zapped his stepfather in order to stop him from beating up his mom. That would be interesting to explore.
“There’s an upcoming episode where Brennan’s powers start to go out of control and he thinks he’s dying. He’s faced with a scenario that’s very much like when a doctor gives someone a diagnosis of terminal cancer and tells him or her that they only have a few weeks to live. What do you do? So my character has to get in touch with his sense of mortality. In another story we’re about to shoot, Brennan is injected with a drug that induces intense rage. He’s forced to use all his fighting skills against anyone who gets in his way – including Jesse. That’ll be fun to film.”
According to the actor, Brennan’s fighting technique on Mutant X this season has changed somewhat. “He’s fighting dirty now,” smiles Webster. “I’m talking down and dirty street fighting, which he should have been doing all along. Yes, he’s the martial arts guy on the show and he still does plenty of it. However, he does come from a street background where anything goes in order to win. Shalimar is the one whose fighting should be very graceful and fluid, which it is. I like mine to be a little messy and gritty. I must have a deep hidden desire to be a member of the WWF [Worldwide Wrestling Federation],” he laughs.
A native of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Webster did not become interested in acting until his early twenties. However, it was some time before he decided to pursue his dream. “I figured, ‘No way I’ll make it as an actor. There’s too much competition. It’ll be too hard.’ So I gave up before even trying,” recalls the actor. “Instead, I did almost everything else you can think of. I was a cook, a bartender, a pizza delivery guy, a bodyguard, a stockbroker, I sold ladies shoes, and for a time I even owned my own import/export company. I explored the whole gamut, and in doing so discovered, ‘This isn’t what I want for the rest of my life. What I truly want is to be all of these people and more.’
“So I moved to Los Angeles and began taking acting classes. I really focused on building a career for myself and five years later here I am. Everything happened very quickly for me and I’m still working hard to become even better at what I do. Mutant X is the best job I’ve ever had but hopefully it won’t be my last. So it’s important that I look five or ten years down the road and continue to hone my craft if I want to have any longevity in this business.”
In 1998, the actor got his first big acting break – the recurring role of Roger the bartender on the Aaron Spelling daytime TV drama Sunset Beach. “I was super nervous,” says Webster. “I didn’t want to screw up but I kept forgetting my lines even though I’d memorized them. Then, as soon as the cameras began rolling and the director yelled, ‘Action,’ all the words suddenly came flooding back into mind. Talk about weird, huh?”
Webster went on to play Nicholas Alamain in another daytime soap Days of Our Lives, and then landed the part of Victor Mansfield in the AMC Network’s Emmy award-winning series The Lot. “I’ll never forget that job,” he says. “There I was working with all these very talented and incredibly experienced stage and TV actors. I was the greenest one of the cast and I had all these emotional scenes to do. My character was a cattle farmer who was thrust into the Hollywood spotlight. Not surprisingly, he had a difficult time dealing with that. It was a very demanding as well as challenging role but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.”
Prior to starting work on the second season of Mutant X, the actor co-starred opposite Steve Martin in the Disney romantic comedy Bringing Down the House. In it, he portrays the new love interest of Martin’s ex-wife, played by Jean Smart. “My character is charming but in a real off-the-wall way,” chuckles Webster. “I had the chance to do some physical comedy, which I loved.” When Mutant X wraps production of its second year, Webster has plans to direct his first short independent feature film.
“I’m trying to convince the producers of Mutant X to let me direct some second-unit material,” says the actor. “It’s up to me now to prove to them that I can do it. I’ve been shadowing a number of our directors and asking questions. Last year I spent every lunch hour sitting in the editing room and watching how this series is put together. It’s been the ideal training ground and I’d eventually like to take what I’ve learnt and apply it to my own projects, so we’ll see.”
He’s good-looking, talented, has a great personality and is a successful actor. Yes, Webster has it all but has never taken it for granted and is not about to start now. “I consider myself extremely lucky,” muses the actor. “I’ve got so many people to thank for believing in me, including the fans, and I’m grateful for their support. I just want to continue to do interesting and challenging work that satisfies them as well as myself. Every morning I wake up thinking, ‘I can’t wait to get to the set.’ As long as that thought stays with me then I’ll keep on acting.”