Filmmaker Brian DeRozan Discusses his work on the upcoming series “Very Frightening Tales”

Actor and filmmaker Brian DeRozan, who recently was cast as a recurring Romulan Officer in the new Star Trek: Picard and acted in the 2019 thriller, Telling Lies discusses his work on the upcoming series, Very Frightening Tales.

Tell us about Very Frightening Tales and how that series came about. 

Very Frightening Tales is a horror anthology created by Suzanne DeLaurentiis for TV and streaming. I was cast in the series trailer, met Suzanne, and quickly learned that she was looking for content. As a filmmaker myself, I have lots of scripts lying around, many of them horror. So I thought, “why not?” and sent a few to her. To her credit, she read them and replied right away.

Fortunately, she was a fan of my work, so we started developing one of the scripts specifically for Very Frightening Tales. I was cast in it and we shot it. The title is “A Slice of Life”. It’s in post-production now and will show up in one of the later episodes. 

Can you share with us some of your other recent projects you’ve worked on or have coming up?

Some other recent projects I’ve worked on include Star Trek: Picard and a film I wrote and directed called Black Face. Moving forward I’m excited to shoot a couple of episodes for TV, which I won’t name until after production, and a feature film that will begin shooting when the COVID restrictions are lifted.

Do you have a favorite role to date?

My favorite role to date is playing a Romulan Officer on Star Trek: Picard. Ever since I saw the original Star Wars as a child I’ve had a fascination with science fiction and space. So being cast in one of the most beloved sci-fi franchises was very exciting. You can imagine how much fun it was to be in full makeup, wardrobe and then arrive on set with the rest of the cast. It was a little too much fun, actually. I don’t know, maybe I like playing bad guys as well.

Aside from acting, you’re also a screenwriter. How did you get started writing?

One of my favorite writers, Charles Bukowski once wrote, “You don’t choose writing. Writing chooses you.” With that said, I’ve always been a writer but only in the past 4 years did I start writing screenplays. It really happened out of necessity. I hired someone at the time to write my first short film and after several attempts I still wasn’t happy with the result. So a good friend of mine, who is also a screenwriter, encouraged me to write it myself. “No one can tell your story better than you,” he said. So that’s where it began and the result was the short film, Pure. It’s been a long journey and writing presents many challenges, but I love doing it and always will.  

Are you the type of screenwriter who enjoys collaborating with other writers or do you prefer to write solo on a project?

It depends. If I’m writing to complete a project for someone else or I’m looking to sell a script or idea, I’m happy to collaborate with others. If I’m writing my own project that I also want to produce or direct, I prefer to write solo. With that said, every time I write something, I send it out to a few trusted friends for their feedback. All of my writing has been improved with the insight of others.

Is there a line you wrote that you are most proud of? 

I wouldn’t say I’m most proud of this line, but it is one that’s sort of stuck with me over the years. “This town’s pulse is pumped through a dark heart of materialism and superficiality.”

What is your advice to someone looking to break into show business? 

My advice would be, “Don’t quit your day job.” Haha. Ok, seriously, I’d tell someone to get into classes. Get training and focus on learning. Work harder than everyone else. Surround yourself with successful people and don’t ever give up.

If you could recreate and play any role in cinema history, what would it be? 

This is one of my favorite questions and I often discuss it with friends of mine who are in the business. For TV, I’d probably go with Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. That’s probably my favorite TV show of all time and I love an underdog story. For film, this is a tough one, but I lean towards Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting. I can identify with that role in so many ways and I prefer real characters who struggle and overcome life’s challenges.

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