Brett Baker is a film, stage and television actor currently living and working in Louisiana, Georgia and California. He has been acting professionally for twenty-five years. He’s dedicated his life to understanding and perfecting his craft. “I try to self-reflect and meditate on my own character defects, short comings and flaws, and although this is often a painful process, by doing so, I’m able to express what I’ve discovered about myself into the characters I create. This is where my life and my art intersect.” Since he began acting at 12, Brett has been recognized as an outstanding actor. He has won numerous “talent searches” and national acting competitions. He has supported and worked opposite some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters: River Phoenix, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Crudup, John Krasinski, Jason Bateman, John Cho, Dermot Mulroney, Forest Whitaker, Peter Weller, Nicholas Cage, Kevin Dunn, Zoe McKellan and Jon Voight. Brett Baker continually strives to establish himself as an inventive, easy-going, generous actor, who takes direction well and is fun to be around. Catch Brett this summer in the final episode of ABC’s The Astronaut Wives Club, and in 2016, watch him in Jon Cassar’s feature film, When the Bough Breaks. If you’re interested in reading more about Brett’s journey, his story is below.
Brett was born in San Diego but grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. He got his young start performing in equity productions at the Alaska Repertory Theatre. By the age of 14 he was working in company with Broadway actors, appearing as Ejlif Stockmann in An Enemy of the People and Young Ebenezer and Peter Cratchit in A Christmas Carol. Commercial, print and voice over work quickly followed, garnering Brett the advertising industry’s “Bonnie Award” for talent. With his mother and father’s encouragement, Brett decided to delve deeper into the craft.
In 1985 he accepted an invitation from Cornish College of the Arts (Est. 1915), and entered into a rigorous four-year training program. Brett and fellow classmate Jose Gonzales, both 17, were the youngest actors ever accepted into the Preparatory Acting Program. Four years later they mounted a joint senior thesis, A Life in the Theatre by David Mamet. The production was produced and directed by Roberta Maguire, an original founder of The Second City in Chicago. That summer, Brett was one of seven actors from his graduating class to be admitted into Intiman Theatre’s Acting Internship Program.
His first film audition popped when legendary casting director Marion Dougherty (Casting By, 2012), read him for a small speaking role in Warner Brother’s Dog Fight. Brett did not get the role, but was subsequently cast as an extra and hired to be River’s Phoenix’s stand-in. This was the beginning of his film-acting career. No acting required.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1991, Baker teamed up with fellow Cornish alumni Wolfe Bowart and Christopher Peak to form the three-man sketch comedy troupe, XY&Z. They wrote, produced and performed original material for nearly fours years. Although they appeared in two television pilots, they earned a living appearing as regulars at the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, The Improv on Melrose, The Ice House in Pasadena, The Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard and The John Ford Anson Theatre in Hollywood. In short order, the three established a reputation for originality and wit with their hallmark non-verbal, physical comedy. They garnered further attention, after a New York talent scout saw them during a nation-wide talent search, winning them a coveted 12-week touring contract sponsored by Coca-Cola. From 1991-1994, the Southern California based XY&Z, was the only sketch troupe to appear alongside comedians in a stand-up venue.
In 1996, Brett entered a national acting competition being organized under the patronage of Sir Anthony Hopkins. His hope was to further his knowledge of how to play classical text in London at the Royal National Theatre. Candidates’ auditioned throughout the United States. Twenty-four students were accepted; only five were given full ride scholarships. Brett was among the five, and spent the summer studying Shakespeare at the Old Vic under the tutelage of Sir Richard Eyre, Janet McTeer, Toby Maguire, Selena Cadell, and Patsy Rodenburg. Upon returning to the United States, he joined the cast and crew of Titanic in Rosarito, Mexico where he lived and worked as Leonardo DiCaprio’s photo double. Six months later Brett was cast as Billy Crudup’s photo double in Robert Town’s Without Limits.
Brett’s most memorable stage roles are Bobby in American Buffalo by David Mamet, Fred in Moonlight by Harold Pinter, Trepleyv in the Seagull by Chekhov and Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His stage work spans from the icy shores of Alaska to the palm trees of Los Angeles. Audiences have seen him live at The Mark Taper, The Court Theatre, The Actor’s Gang, Stella Adler Los Angeles and Cyrano’s Playhouse.
Baker hopes to split his time playing hardened characters with complex emotional entanglements, and awkward comedic underdogs. Brett’s favorite actors right now are Bill Murray, Matthew McConaughey, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Vincent Cassel, Bryan Cranston, Liam McIntyre, Sir Ian Mckellen, Aaron Paul, Woody Harrelson, Andy Whitfield, Travis Fimmel and Jon Voight.
“My funniest and most compelling dramatic work litters the cutting room floors of New Orleans and Burbank. “I’m grateful not to be shooting porn, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Someday I’d like to meet Bill Murray so we can talk about What About Bob.”