We chatted with one of the stars of the show, Brandon Michael Hall, who plays Julian, a former flame of Dory (Alia Shawkat), a 20-something girl obsessed with finding an old college acquaintance who has disappeared.
SLING TV: Let’s talk about your character Julian. He’s a pretty smooth, cool guy who seems to really have his life together, and that’s a place Dory is very clearly not in. Was that the ultimate demise of their relationship?
BRANDON MICHAEL HALL: I think, without giving too much away, I think one of the ultimate demises of their relationship was they have a hard time agreeing really much of anything. Dory is ambitious, she’s an ambitious character and Julian’s much more realistic kind of – not even kind of, he’s just a more realistic kind of guy – very Type A, I guess. I think that was the downfall of the relationship because they have a hard time agreeing on anything, really. He’s much more of a truth teller and Dory has a hard time accepting the truth, as well.
Do you think if Julian and Dory were still together, she wouldn’t be in the lost place she’s in now?
I think so. Yeah, I think so. I think one of Julian’s goals could’ve been to help propel her into finding a career that’s stable for her and balancing out her life and creating a more stable life for her. Because Julian is a very stable guy, so I think that’s something he would – not impose, but help Dory with in her life.
Julian kind of orbits Dory’s obsession with searching for Chantal. Talk to me about his role in Search Party and why his ability to see Dory and her friends for who they are is pertinent to the story?
I think his ultimate goal is to look out for Dory as much as possible. Julian, even though he may do some what people may call “backwards things” throughout the series, he’s doing it out of love for Dory. I believe he still has deep feelings for her, so he’s constantly checking in and checking up on her because he’s still feels a little fire for their relationship. His outlook on her friends, even though he may not agree with her being around those types of friends, he understands they make her happy, so he doesn’t impose any kind of, ‘Oh, you need to stay away from these people’ or anything like that, he’s moreso, ‘Here’s the reality if you do this and here’s the reality if you do that.’ Either way, we find out through the series he sticks with her through every decision she makes, which I think is beautiful.
Of course, without spoiling anything, why do you think it was important for Julian to write the story he wrote about Elliot?
To expose lies. Julian hates people that tell lies, and I think he gets a little kick out of it, too. It shows a three-dimensional character. We, in a way, fall in love with Julian and you can either fall in love with him or – I think [executive producers] Sarah [Violet Bliss] and Charles [Rogers] gives the audience the chance to choose sides with Julian because he’s such a real guy but he does backwards things. That’s the reason he does that article about Elliot.
You went to Juilliard in New York, correct?
I lived in New York for a while –
Where are you originally from?
Originally, I’m from Dallas.
Oh, you’re from Dallas! I’m from South Carolina.
Oh, nice! A couple of Southern folk here. When I’m watching Search Party, I can very clearly pick out people from my time in New York that fits each character. For you, how much do each of these characters hit home?
All of them hit home. It’s interesting because a lot of these characters, like – us being Southern, I don’t know if you’d find any of these characters down in Texas but I know that I don’t find these types of people in South Carolina. I can find relatable people but I don’t find these types of millennial people. What Search Party does is it opens up a portal for the audience, even if you don’t live in New York, to see what millennials are like out in Brooklyn and down on the Lower East Side and how they behave and how they act. Finding Julian and relating to these other characters after living in New York for – I guess I’m going on my seventh year, was fairly easy. I just went out to Bushwick and was like, ‘Oh, there he is! Oh, there they are!’ Also, I have to say the costumes made a huge difference, too, they definitely dropped us into the characters.
I definitely agree with that. What was it about Julian and Search Party that drew you to the project?
Like I said before, it has to be before that Charles and Sarah wrote a three-dimensional character. Not saying that’s a hard thing to find in TV, but once you find a role, especially going out for auditions, and a character where you’re like, ‘Oh, I really want to play him because it’s a challenge for me,’ those are the things I’m drawn to. Because it’s comedy, comedy is a huge challenge for me and it’s an uncomfortable place, and I like putting myself in uncomfortable territory and challenging myself in that way. When I read the script and read the role I was like, ‘Absolutely. I have to work my ass off to get at least into the room,’ and once I got the part, I was like, ‘Wow, I get to really go for a challenge here.’ That’s what drew me to it, the challenge of comedy and also playing a three-dimensional character.
Tell me why people should tune-in to watch *Search Party?*
My gosh, why not?! Why wouldn’t you? Honestly, that would be my question back: Why wouldn’t you tune in to Search Party and see the movement that’s happening, especially in New York and especially in our generation? The things that Charles and Sarah wrote into the script and the little hints and how they talk about different issues that are going on in the world, it’s such a relatable piece, even if you don’t live in New York City. Everyone will be able to relate to this story and to these college students. When asked the question why would you watch it, I have to respond back, why would you not watch it because it’s going to live for a long time, it’s a great piece of art. And, it’s also funny, I mean, come on! It’s really funny, too.
Do you think there will be a second season because the way season one wraps up, it could really go either way. It could serve as a standalone season or it could carry on.
My view on the world is the glass is always half-full, so in this situation, I have to be optimistic and say absolutely it’s going to go for a second season. Realistically, I just think when people watch the show, they’re going to be really drawn to it and that’s going to be push to a second season as well. Yeah, I believe it’s going to get picked up for a second season. If not, I’m going to Turner myself! [Laughs]
Don’t miss the entire first season premiere of Search Party from November 21 through November 25 with two back-to-back episodes each night at 11pm ET on TBS; the whole first season is available on-demand.