Brant Daugherty On “Days” and “Pretty Little Liars”

Ohio native Brant Daugherty heats up the screen on both
PLL and Days

“It’s kinda hot knowing that you think I’m capable of murder.”

Actor Brant Daugherty has said that line before on camera and while it could easily fit into the soapy world on Days Of Our Lives, the Ohio-born actor actually said it on Pretty Little Liars. By working double duty with two very different characters, the young actor is definitely making people take notice of his acting skills as well as, yes, making us swoon in the process.

As sexy scoundrel Noel Kahn, he’s made the dating rounds with Aria, Mona and, currently, Jenna, but he also could also possibly be part of the murderous ‘A Team’ on the ABC Family drama. Over in Salem on Days, Daugherty plays the grounded and dreamy Brian, who recently made a play for Sonny (Freddie Smith) but, alas, Sonny’s heart was set on waiting to see if Will (Chandler Massey) would finally come around to being more than friends.

AfterElton recently picked up the phone to chat with a gregarious Daugherty to see what he would spill about the big PLL Halloween episode airing Tuesday (including working with guest Adam Lambert) as well as whether we’ll see more of Brian on Days even though WilSon is currently very much ON.

As devious Noel Kahn on the ABC Family hit Pretty Little Liars

AfterElton: You’re a busy guy with a lot going on. First, give me some background on how you started your acting career. Did you choose it or did it choose you?
Brant Daugherty:
I can’t ever remember deciding that it was something I wanted to do so I guess you could say it chose me. It was never something I thought about. It was really the only thing that held my interest. I remember telling my Dad when I was 3 that I wanted to be an actor and he laughed at me. [laughs] But it’s just something I always pursued wherever I was and now that I can actually do it for a living is pretty amazing.

AE: You grew up in Ohio so when did you make the leap to really start focusing on it either on the West Coast or somewhere else?
After high school I went to Chicago and went to film school at Columbia College. My parents told me that they didn’t want me studying acting in college so ‘Ha ha! I’ll study film! Take that!’ I worked around it so I like to think I got a lot of acting experience as a filmmaker. I came out to LA in 2008 so have been out here about four years.

AE: Let’s talk Pretty Little Liars. I’m definitely not in the demographic but I love it so much!
I get people outside the demographic all the time! I was just at a wedding a couple of months ago and this woman who had to have been in her 60s came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘I think you’re A!’ My head about exploded! I don’t even know what the demographic is anymore.

AE: From having talked to Marlene King {creator] and Oliver Goldstick [Executive Producer] before I know they keep things close to the vest but how much do you know?
It’s never enough, that’s for sure! I really don’t get information ahead of time unless it’s something I need to know for a scene or an arc. For example, I was told I would be dumping Mona last season and getting together with Jenna on the show so I had time to prepare for that but they didn’t tell me who ‘A’ was so you only hear what you need to hear.

AE: Do you have a solid backstory for Noel or are there still things you are finding out as the viewers are?
There are still plenty of things I’m discovering about him. When we did the prequel episode last Halloween, I didn’t know I had such a close friendship with Allison and that’s something I got to develop because the prequel was made. So they’re filling in the blanks for me here and there.

AE: The big Halloween episode this year looks like so much fun. You are in the episode, right?
It wouldn’t be Halloween without Noel Kahn! Those are my favorite episodes. I had a lot of fun shooting that one and our writer, Joseph Dougherty, no relation and also a different spelling, he wrote a scene in particular that I actually thanked him for afterwards. It fulfilled a childhood dream of mine. I can’t tell you what scene it is but I think you’ll be able to tell by the sheer amount of fun I’m having.

Could this possibly be the scene that Brant refers to? (Daugherty enters at 0:33)
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AE: Were you around when Adam Lambert was shooting his part on the episode?
I was! I got to meet him in the makeup trailer one day before we did our scenes. I knew he was going to be there because everyone was talking about it. I didn’t know what to expect but he’s genuinely one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He also works his ass off so he earned my respect while we were shooting.

AE: Let’s move to Days Of Our Lives. How did the role of Brian first come about?
Actually, I have auditioned for the show a handful of times over the last few years. I was going to screen test for the part of Will and I was in the running for that but I had a commitment to Pretty Little Liars and they had a storyline for me there that I wanted to honor so I dropped out of the running. And, of course, Chandler Massey plays the role and he’s fantastic and he just won an Emmy for it so I like to think it worked out for the best. But I thought maybe I shot myself in the foot for dropping out and they hated but then about a year later the role of Brian came up and the casting director, Marnie Saitta, she’s amazing, remembered me by some stroke of grace, she pitched me to producers and they ended up offering me the role. I’m very grateful for that.


Daugherty admitted he isn’t a fan of the gym so how does he keep in shape?

AE: Did you have much background on the show when you went in?
I actually have never seen a soap opera before. I’m familiar with them but most of my experience comes from when Joey Tribiani (Matt LeBlanc on Friends) played on [Days] so clearly I had some learning to do. I had no experience to speak of but when I got the part I started catching up.

AE: And of course if you were up for the role of Will and took the role of Brian, what were your thoughts about playing a gay character?
I didn’t think twice about it, to be honest with you. I saw a lot in Brian that I really liked when I read the scenes. I felt like he was very direct, very opinionated, very proud of who he was. He just happens to be attracted to men. It didn’t make much of a difference at all in playing it.


AE: I know Brian was just in for a couple of episodes but did you have a backstory or create anything just for yourself?
You always have to create something for yourself if they don’t give it to you. That’s part of the job. I really wasn’t given much information. We learn what we learn about him through the dialogue but it was up to me to fill in the rest. The anchor of the character to me is that he knows who he is and he’s proud of it. So it’s my job to figure out why he feels that way and what happened to him in the past to help shape that personality. He probably went through a similar of shame like what Will had been going through on the show, so when he sees Will’s behavior, it kind of holds up a mirror to Brian and he needs to interject and try to help out.

AE: You’re very much a part of the Twitter community [@brantdaugherty], I noticed, when you were tweeting #MoreBrian for the Days fans.
I love hearing from people. Every one of those gets read, every single one of them. It’s instant feedback.

AE: So we haven’t seen you on the show in awhile. Will we see Brian again?
I don’t know that yet, unfortunately.

AE: Being on TV, you have to stay in some kind of shape. Do you enjoy the gym or is it a challenge for you to work out?
I think if it’s a challenge then you’re just not doing the right thing. You just need to get creative and find a new way to accomplish the same goal. I haven’t stepped foot in a gym in years, to be honest with you. I don’t like going to the gym. It doesn’t suit my personality. I can’t run and lift weights for a certain amount of time because I get bored. Lately I’ve been surfing and I’ve picked up parkour training. It’s a different way of getting some great results.

AE: Guilty food pleasure?
Reese’s Pieces. Please don’t judge me! They’re amazing!

AE: What do you do when they’re on a craft services table on set?
I just try to stay away. I don’t want to be the guy walking around eating candy all day.

The Pretty Little Liars Halloween episode airs Tuesday at 8/7c on ABC Family. Days Of Our Lives airs weekdays on NBC.