Brian Guest is a multi-talented writer, actor and comedian who has previously appeared on shows such as Workaholics, Rush Hour, Southland, NCIS: Los Angeles, Narcos, Scorpion, Hawaii Five-0, Shameless, CSI: NY, The O.C., and more.
Whilst Brian has appeared in numerous crime shows during his career, his latest role is by far one of the most exciting for the actor. He will soon be appearing on our screens as U.S. Attorney Tim Searight in USA Network’s Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. The dramatized crime series delves into the true stories of the hip hop icons’ murders, which remain unsolved to this day.
Additionally, Brian has also wrapped up filming on the indie dark comedy The Oath. Produced by QC Entertainment, he stars alongside Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish in the soon-to-be released movie.
We caught up with Brian to talk all things Unsolved, The Oath, comedy and his plans for the rest of the year.
You play U.S. Attorney Tim Searight in USA Network’s Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. For those who have yet to see the show, what can you tell us about it and your character?
If you’re not watching, what are you waiting for?! We are a few episodes into the show at this point, and it is great! If you didn’t have a huge connection to Biggie and Tupac, I think you can still connect to the show. Unsolved was conceived from one of the creative minds behind The People v O.J. Simpson, Underground, and The Wire – Anthony Hemingway (director/producer). So ya know it’s gonna be great! I play U.S. Attorney Tim Searight, who is prosecuting another case at the same time as the investigation into the murder of Tupac and Biggie starts to unfold. You’ll just have to watch to see how they are connected.
You’ve stated in previous interviews that you were a big fan of both artists, so when you were asked to audition we’re assuming it was a no brainer for you! Did you feel more pressure to get it right?
This was absolutely a no brainer! I think everyone involved wanted to get it right. Biggie and Tupac are iconic. And the story behind their murders has sort of turned into this legend with so many theories floating out there. Everybody involved on the show upped their game to tell this story!
There wasn’t a lot of information available about your character prior, so how did that affect your preparation for the role?
I did a lot of research on the Tupac and Biggie murders as a whole anyway, because I was such a huge fan of theirs. But I had to really dig to find stuff out about Tim Searight. Also, I had the huge benefit of talking to Producer Greg Kading on set, to find out about his real life relationship with Tim.
As you mentioned, Detective Greg Kading, who wrote Murder Rap: The Untold Story of Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations, is one of the show’s executive producers. What was it like to have someone who was actually at the heart of the investigation on set?
I mean it is literally invaluable! You can get the real information from the guy that was there! Greg is so accessible and a cool easy guy to talk to.
Did your theories/thoughts on the case prior to filming change after the filming experience?
I never really formed any solid opinion on the case before because everything seemed so speculative. But after reading Murder Rap, and then being involved on Unsolved, I have a much clearer vision as to what happened.
How have you found the response to the show so far? Have you received feedback from Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.’s families?
The response has been incredible! Everyone I know is watching the show! I think this show is special- it’s well written, the producing/directing team has a clear vision, and the actors are dynamite. I am not sure of the feedback from Tupac and Biggie’s families. I can’t even imagine their thoughts on the show- it’s too personal. My only hope is that they have some peace in regards to losing their loved ones.
You’ve appeared in a few crime shows over the years. How was your experience on Unsolved in comparison?
I lived through this time period. And I am a fan of their music. So, it’s the first time I worked on a show that I felt such a personal connection to in that regard. I feel like everyone on Unsolved felt more of a connection to the material, because we all lived through this.
Aside from Unsolved, you’ve just wrapped up filming on The Oath, which was produced by QC Entertainment who were behind the hit Get Out. What kind of craziness can we expect the dark comedy?
It’s a satirical thriller that really pushes the envelope. Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, I really think audiences will relate to the absurdity and comedy of the film.
You got to work with Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish on the movie. What was that experience like?
I mean, let’s be honest… they got real lucky to work with me. Haha! They were both AMAZING! Tiffany is the real deal! She is just so funny with everything she does. And Ike is super talented and just a good guy all-around! He wrote, directed and acted in The Oath – and made it look like a breeze!
Your CV is incredibly varied – what kind of role is next up on your wish list?
I have so many roles on my list, I just hope the acting Santa brings me everything I wish for!
When you’re not busy appearing on our screens, you also write and perform your own comedy works. What do you enjoy the most about creating comedy?
I really like the journey of taking things from just an idea, and shaping it into whatever the finished product is. It’s always fun to collaborate with other people on projects, especially friends. I have a lot of talented friends with interesting points of view. Anytime I can do anything with them is an opportunity to make people laugh!
Are there any other plans for 2018 that you can/would like to share with us?
I would like to get three of the TV pilots I’ve written bought and made. I know that sounds crazy, but I am putting it out there. If I say three, maybe it will end up being two. And I’d be okay with that… FINE, I’d be okay with getting one of my TV pilots made this year! That would be great!