Encore September 2015

Page 38

ARTS encore

Hometown Boy in Hollywood Portage native Bret Green stars in new CBS series by

Lisa Mackinder

Bret Green, at right, stars as Preston, a paraplegic in the new CBS series The Inspectors. This scene features fellow actors Harrison Knight, at left, and Erica-Marie Sanchez.


t happened while shooting a scene this spring with Viola Davis: The moment Bret Green realized he might really have an acting career. Living in Los Angeles for two years, he had gone to about 60 auditions before landing the part of a police officer on an episode of the ABC series How to Get Away With Murder. During the shoot, “I kept thinking to myself, ‘Don’t forget your lines in front of this woman,’” he says. “I was incredibly nervous acting with Viola. I mean, she's been nominated for an Oscar twice. Her character on the show is very intimidating, so that didn't help, but she was a super sweet lady. She even called me 'a hunk.' I'll never forget that.” Despite a few butterflies, Green obviously gave a strong performance — after that, the roles kept coming. He went on to play a fraternity brother alongside Dylan McDermott on an episode of last season’s CBS series The Stalker and a male cheerleader on the ABC comedy The Goldbergs. Green’s name and face might ring a bell for some folks in his hometown. The son of Tim Green and Lisa Green, of Portage, and a Portage Northern High School graduate, Green earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Western Michigan University in 2009. But soon his name and face will be widely recognizable beyond Southwest Michigan. Last spring Green received the call — he had 38 | Encore SEPTEMBER 2015

landed a regular role on a new CBS series, The Inspectors, which debuts Oct. 3. “It was a little bit of disbelief,” Green says. “I smiled from ear to ear.” After auditioning 50 to 75 actors for each role on the series, CBS tapped Green to play Preston, a 19-year-old college freshman who became a paraplegic in the same accident that killed his father. Preston wants to become a U.S. postal inspector like his mother, who experiences problems when returning to work after the accident. “His mom is having trouble solving the crimes, so Preston and his friends step up and help her find clues and think outside the box,” says Green, who relates to his c h a r a c t e r ’s tenacity. “There are bits of Preston that exist within me.” Playing a paraplegic required Green to learn about living life in a wheelchair. Hearing about a 16-year-old who broke his neck while playing football and had lost mobility from the chest down, Green located the young man on Facebook, called the teenager and asked if they might meet. Green says the teen and his mom were open books whose determination and candor proved inspirational and provided invaluable knowledge for Green. “I learned that he was just an average kid trying to navigate life while in a wheelchair and that most kids his age lose the majority of their friends within the first year of the accident,” he says. “It really made me have compassion for the physically challenged and understand what they go through. I spent 24 hours in a wheelchair before we started filming just to understand what it's like. The looks of pity that I got were hard to handle.” Green gets additional help with understanding the physical challenges of his role from a fellow actor on the set — currently in his 40s — who, as a double amputee, has used a wheelchair since he was 16. “Greg Gadson plays my character's personal trainer to keep

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