The Bro Code


The boys of Brothers & Sisters on the joys of siblinghood

I HAVEN’T got any brothers, but after meeting some of the guys from Brothers & Sisters, who were a barrel of irreverent laughs, I almost wished I did.

I say “almost” because Dave Annable, Matthew Rhys and Luke Macfarlane reminded me that large families are almost inevitably full of conflicts and squabbles. In other words: “God gave us our family; thank God we can choose our friends.”

In fact, in Annable’s dressing room, where a video game system was prominently set up, the 30-year-old, who is getting married to actress Odette Yustman this autumn, joked that he was trying to get co-star Calista Flockhart and her husband, Harrison Ford to adopt him.

For TV’s Walker family, the drama will never die down, especially not as Brothers & Sisters goes into its fifth season.

The new season fast-forwards to a year after the last season’s climatic car-accident ending. Rob Lowe’s character Robert McCallister is dead, which means wife Kitty (Calista Flockhart) is single again; Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) is in a steady relationship with Giles (Luc Laurent); Justin (Annable) comes back from Afghanistan a changed man; Kevin (Rhys) has a new career as a defense attorney and hubby Scotty (Macfarlane) is running his new restaurant together with Saul (Ron Rifkin); and, to top it all off, matriarch Nora (Sally Field) is acting strangely. And you thought your family life was complicated.

If you guys had your way, where would you like the show to go?

Dave Annable: Well, besides (Justin) living in a sorority house … (Laughs) Well, I think what they’re doing with Justin is really great. I’m curious to see where we’ll go next when he’s alone and single.

Matthew Rhys: I think the Walkers should trace their roots back to Wales. There should be a trip. Walkerrrnen was their original Welsh name before they came to Ellis Island.

Matthew, you’re Welsh – what are families like in Wales?

Matthew: They like drinking. They like singing. In that order. They’re pretty much matriarch-led in Wales – like, the world over, really. As much as we (men) like to think we rule the roost, we don’t.

I was just wondering if all families were as complicated as the Walkers.

Luke: (Laughs) Not all families have to turn out a television show every week.

Matthew: And keep it interesting. There is dysfunction, I think, in every family – it’s just varying levels of it. We just seem to have it in abundance. And, you know, having the high number of siblings, you’re sort of guaranteed that someone’s having a problem anywhere at one point, at one time.

But dysfunction’s fashionable now, anyway.

Matthew: It is. I think society’s evolved in some certain way – people are less frightened to talk about the dysfunction. As people become more emotionally articulate, it sort of aired a lot more.

Have the characters become part of you? Have you found yourself taking on any of the quirks?

Matthew: I’ve started taking home a lot of the clothes!

Luke: I borrowed suits for my sister’s wedding.

Fancy dress?

Matthew: “I went as a chef”!

Luke: I’m wearing, actually, Nora Walker’s dress to my sister’s wedding.

Is your mom like Nora?

Matthew: Oh, yeah. And that’s the one thing you hear all the time from people who like the show: (Puts on a squeaky, high-pitched voice) “Oh, my mother’s exactly like Nora. I know exactly how she feels. Why are you so rude to her? Why are you so rude to Sally Field???”

What’s the great Sally Field like in person?

Dave: Uh, she’s terrible! No, don’t write that! She’s the best! It’s a lot of work to wrangle us actors to get ready for a scene and Sally’s the one running the show – and she has been from day one.

Matthew: And it’s no irony that this sort of family’s led by the matriarch, and in our show, it’s sort of the same. She’s a consummate professional and really does lead by example.

So she bosses you around off the set as well?

Dave: Oh, totally. Actually, I have to go get her a coffee right now.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from her?

Dave: I think it’s “be prepared”. She always knows her lines when she comes into work and knows what she’s doing. Clearly she goes home and works. It’s easy to be young and get caught up in the fun nightlife and come to work going, “Woo, whatever, I got lines”, you know. It sort of works a lot easier if you do your homework and go home and study your lines and all that fun stuff, and not play too many video games (looks sheepishly at his console).

Matthew: She comes in early, she’s on time, she’s prepared, she’s thought about what she’s going to do. She never holds anyone up. Sits by the camera while they light, doesn’t go off and drink coffee and chit chat and get on the Internet. Old school.

Luke: No matter where you are in your career, you still have to work hard. Because she really has kind of done it all, but she doesn’t rest on her laurels.

Source: Today Online

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