Brett Zimmerman is an actor on the rise with a goal in mind.
With his latest big project ‘Call of Duty: WWII’ released he joins us for an interview to talk about his career, plans and culture.
Hi, how are you?
Hi, I am doing well. Life has been full of excitement lately!
So, how did you get into acting and what was your first role that you loved?
From an early age, I had a great appreciation for films thanks to movie nights with Dad and my two brothers, or cutting up doing voices with my Mom. It wasn’t until much later however that I considered acting as a career.
Growing up, I never truly knew what I wanted to be, and stepped into freshman year of college with that same uncertainty. Flashing forward, I solidified a degree from Clemson University with a BS in Business Management, but it’s the path during those four plus years where I gravitated toward acting. While making my way through school, I began working with an agency out of Charlotte, NC to both discover more work and help pay my tuition.
Evolution Talent aligned me with local bookings, regional print jobs, and commercial spots for TV. Every time I found myself on set, my heart for it grew. My eyes were wide open, and I paid attention to everything with an immense desire to learn. I eventually booked work on my first ever TV series, One Tree Hill. I worked for a week as a featured extra, and that was the week that took away all doubt.
From that moment on, I found time whenever I could outside of my class and work load at Clemson to study acting and build my resume. As a developmental agent, Evolution connected dots and helped me shape a timeline toward LA.
I arrived in LA, February of 2010, which means I’m nearing 8 years along my path out here. I’m proud of my progress and the growth I’ve found, and look forward to the sets I step onto next!
As for personal love of character, I’d have to say I connected more than ever while portraying my character PFC Ronald Daniels in COD: World War II. It was honestly a wholehearted endeavor from start to finish. He is someone I am, and will continue to be proud of in a story of brotherhood, heroes, and sacrifice.
You worked on the ‘Call of Duty: WWII’ game. What was it like working on such a big franchise?
It was truly incredible. In life, I pride myself on doing all things fully. This translates in my work ethic and passion of acting when I dive into a character or a project as a whole. Call of Duty is a global franchise, and it’s reached the level it’s at because there are the most amazing teams of people behind it. Call of Duty: WWII specifically was created as such a labor of love, with commitment, historical truth, heart, and conviction in honoring the men and women that fought and laid down their own lives during a time of unimaginable conflict.
There’s a lot of pressure when portraying a character of such strength and self-discovery, but I felt such honor in doing so. Before opening myself up to whom Private Daniels truly was to me, I had to find my footing with the mechanics of motion capture. It’s one of the most imaginative processes I have ever endured, but certainly one of the most challenging. Once I had my bearings, the world of this story opened up to me in such a way that I was free to live through the eyes of Daniels and make choices in my acting.
I am so very thankful for the cast, crew, and creators I worked alongside of. When we wrapped this project, I know we all had a sense of feeling like we had truly accomplished something great. In a game that is appreciated worldwide, we delivered a story to the world that offers remembrance toward a generation of true heroes. I’m proud of that.
Do you have any big plans for 2018?
I’ve been fortunate to work in a wide array of genres, but I’m still just scratching the surface in terms of my acting. Since day one, there have been goals set and targets year to year. This is made up of characters, creatures, roles I’d love to play, or alignment of projects that benefit a greater picture or cause.
Both a soldier and a boxer were on that list, and both challenged me in different ways. My hope is to continue finding characters or stories that do just that. Private Daniels was a character that allowed me to bring out some of the better parts of myself. My choices here were very different from that of Charlie in Flesh and Bone. I played a boxing champ, and every bit of my preparation and performance was physically demanding. I embrace both differently, but in the end appreciate the challenge of both.
I, like all actors, have a desire for the big screen, but with the growth and popularity of TV shows, there is so much potential to work on new and exciting content. In the coming year, I’d love to find longevity in a role, be it a series regular, or reprising a previous role. I’d love to become a character that viewers or players can connect to episode after episode, story after story. The more time you have with your character, the more you’re able to bring your choices into your work.
Who is your favourite actor and why?
Any actor from This Is Us, haha. Talk about feeling something…that show encompasses heartfelt moments and grounded truth week after week towards culture, choice, and change. It’s so real.
It’s hard to narrow down that question to just one. There are so many notable actors I connect with, or draw inspiration from. Robert Redford is so iconic, and has remained so relevant through the years in an extremely notable body of work
A friend once said to me, “What’s more important to you? Would you rather be relevant or remembered?” The answer is both. We can all do things to create relevancy in a moment in time, but to have a career recognized and remembered takes so much more.
Others to note who have affected me over the years or even infected me because yes, acting is infectious, would be Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Hardy, Miles Teller, Sterling K. Brown, Brad Pitt, Sylvester Stallone, and Ryan Reynolds. I applaud each of you.
Do you have a favourite film or franchise you would love to work on?
This question too has countless answers for different reasons. Star Wars, which is great for countless reasons. The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy because of the kid in me always wanting to discover who he is as a hero. Kingsmen or Bond, which both circle cool, classic, calculated action, and the toys are an added benefit. Rocky, now Creed…my brothers and I grew up with such a heart for it, and loved watching the Rocky films with our Dad.
I love Rocky too! How would you describe yourself in three words?
Determined, Loyal, and Optimistic
Our final question, we must ask. What is your definition of culture?
To me, culture is characterized by a multitude of values, practices, beliefs, and/or social norms. We as individuals can be cultivated by customary beliefs or social settings where we either grow from those around us, or allow them to challenge who we are and potentially lessen us. It is up to us as the individual to be our best self regardless of our cultural upbringing. In the end, we are all human, and we must learn to live equally regardless of culture, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other means of identification.
Thank you for such a great interview, Brett! A pleasure to have you on Our Culture Mag!