Chicago Now: Brian J. Smith of SGU 'gates to "Orient Express"

Brian J. Smith in MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (PBS Photos)
Brian J. Smith in MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (PBS Photos)
Stargate Universe star Brian J. Smith (Lt. Matthew Scott) went to London last year to film in the PBS Hercule Poirot series as the young American Hector MacQueen in the story Murder on the Orient Express. Chicago Now’s Curt Wagner got to talk with him about how he got the role and what it was like to work with David Suchet, the veteran actor who brings Poirot to life.

Here are a few highlights:

No audition. That’s the kind of cool thing about where I’m getting to right now; I’m starting to get a kind of a body of work. And you put scenes from films you’ve done, and of course there’s some stuff on there from “Stargate.” Sometimes that won’t book you a job, but it can at least get your feet in the door and give a director of an idea of what you look like on a set under lights as opposed to in an audition room, which is usually an office with florescent lighting.

I think what they wanted to do with this version of “Murder on the Orient Express” is to tell the story that Agatha Christie wrote; and not just that, but to really get into the darkness of it. It’s a very dark, dark story … And just to really explore the psychology of that kind of a person.

I know one line of French. And it’s funny, no one can really tell me exactly what that translated into either because I have a vague idea that it meant something like, “No, it’s OK, there’s nothing here.” Or, “Everything’s fine,” something like that. But it was a little bit scary because there were a lot of French guys in the cast and they’d hear me say the line and they’d say, “Brian, no. This is how you say it.” So I was kind of nervous about it.

You know with Scott though, he’s so strictly working class and so strictly defined by the absence of family … In MacQueen’s case, you have a guy who grew up with everything, who had every single advantage and got to travel and could speak many languages and he’s a lot more eloquent than Scott is, but then he lost it all. And I think Scott is driven more by a need to find redemption and MacQueen is much more driven by a need for revenge.

Make sure to visit the complete interview at Chicago Now.

Murder on the Orient Express premieres Sunday, July 11, at 9 PM ET on most PBS stations across the US. Check your local listings for dates and times in your area.

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