Interview with Andre Braugher from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

b99call928asmallAndre Braugher, who plays Captain Holt on FOX’s Booklyn Nine-Nine, recently spoke to the press about the new season, his character, and more. Braugher has had major roles on shows before this (my favorite being Homicide: Life on the Streets), but this is by far his most comedic role to date. Check out what he had to say about that and more.

Any particular story lines you’re excited about…

Andre Braugher: I don’t have a lot of information about [story lines] because they pretty much keep that under wraps in order to give themselves the freedom to develop [them] as they see fit, but I am excited about Kyra Sedgwick guest starring on the show. We had a really great time. She plays Deputy Chief Madeline Wuntch, an archrival and a nemesis of Captain Holt. We did three or four episodes earlier this season and had a really great time.

Jump with me to read more from Andre.

On what drew him to the role…

Andre: Well, I think it was the reputation of Mike Schur and Dan Goor. I am a fan of [Parks and Recreation], and I saw over the seasons they created, in my mind, an ever expanding world of loveable goofballs and they were quite adept at creating a mature kind of interesting comedy. I said to myself I felt like I would be in good hands playing this character with these guys at the helm. That was one of the main considerations, as was the opportunity to work with Andy [Samberg].
 
On delving more deeply into the characters’ lives…

Andre: We see certain characters again and again, like Patton Oswalt and Fred Armisen, as parts of this Brooklyn universe. I’m hoping that we’ll get a chance to see more of Kyra Sedgwick because she’s in the police hierarchy. Eva Longoria was with us for a little bit. We are opening up and expanding the personal lives, especially of Santiago and Peralta.

I’m sure we’ll see more of [my character in-depth]. I couldn’t tell you exactly when it’s going to happen or how it’s going to happen, but I’m sure we will because it’s part of the master plan for Brooklyn Nine-Nine to really create, I think, a full and complex universe for all of these characters, but in terms of particulars, there’s nothing I can share.
 
On the feud between Holt & Deput Chief Madeline Wuntch…

Andre: Well, it’s a longstanding feud. It seems like they’re alter egos for each other. They’re both a little committed to excellence to a high degree. They’re both sort of intuitive detective types. They’re both a little strange in their own way, a little robotic and quirky in that way. There was an event way back in the past, back in 1989, you may not have been born back then, back in 1989, and that’s the genesis for their dispute, the bone of contention between the two of them.
 
On his favorite part of filming the show…

Andre: My favorite part of filming the show? Well, I enjoyed the episodes a lot outside the precinct where we go on our adventures and such. I’ve enjoyed our Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes. I’ve enjoyed “The Party” particular. “The Party” was really an opportunity to see everyone in a really drastically different atmosphere than the bullpen, and I just found it to be a lot of fun. It was a great script and a lot of fun to film. In retrospect, “The Party,” maybe it was Episode 16, I can’t remember, but towards the end of the season, I thought that was my favorite episode.
 
On playing Holt, the stoic man, opposite Jake (Andy Samberg), who just cracks everyone else up in the precinct…

b99call928bsmallAndre: I think it’s difficult to say the least. He’s a very funny guy and a lot of great off-the-cuff humor. I’ve sort of committed myself to perfecting the art of the straight man, so I’m trying very hard to not crack up.

We’ve done eight episodes this year. I’ve cracked up twice. I’m off my pace from last year, which was 3 crack ups in 22 episodes. Obviously, Andy’s getting funnier and I’m relaxing a little bit on the show, but I’ve decided to commit myself to really perfecting the art of the straight man. I’m getting better at it and I have a great cast of comedians. Between Chelsea and Andy and Joe and Terry, it’s really a funny cast and we have a great time doing it.

When we get a chance to improv, we go at it wholeheartedly. I pretty much stick to the script because that’s my job, but they really take off and I consider them all to be my kites and I am their string and so I just give them a great opportunity to fly and I guess I hold them to the earth to help tell the story, but we’re having a really great time this season.
 
On learning from his castmates…

Andre: I think they’ve developed a good way of working on the set and it was put into operation last year and we’re continuing with that. We, as a cast, as we get to know each other better, we’re working faster and more efficiently, which actually gives us more time really to play around. In any given scene, we’re going to do five or six takes of the material that’s scripted and really cover that thoroughly and then we have enough time to do what we call “fun runs” and fun runs is where everyone pulls the craziest stuff they know out of a bag and throws it into the scene. Fun runs are unpredictable, but they really breathe a lot of life into the process of creating the comedy and it keeps it loose.

I’m having a great time. I’m studying these guys like a hawk. There are a lot of great young comedians on the show and it’s giving me a real thorough education on another aspect of my art form and I’m having a great time. I’m learning a lot and I feel reinvigorated by being on the show.
 
On Braugher & Kyra Sedgwick coming from highly dramatic roles to the comedic…

Andre: It’s a lot of fun. The stakes are very high on dramas and we just have to enter into a whole imaginative world where the stakes are much more life threatening, much more serious, and I think we both appreciate being able to, in our own ways, have fun with the cop world that we created. We invested a lot of time in creating credible roles in these police dramas, but it’s also fun for both of us to get a chance to let our hair down, so to speak, to play these roles.

I found it to be light and refreshing and Kyra is a very accomplished comedian and so it was a lot of fun working with her and the material is terrific. I enjoyed it immensely and I’m looking forward to Kyra’s return sometime in the future.
 
On how the dynamic between Holt & Peralta shifts after Peralta was gone for months with the FBI…

Andre: I think it shifts slightly. I will say that Holt is a man who embraces change. As stoic as he seems, as conservative as he seems, he is a man who is interested in embracing change. With a new police commissioner and the return of my ace detective, Peralta, I feel as though the entire precinct is poised to get better, to leave the world of sleepy, underperforming Brooklyn precinct and really become something special.

That’s what I see in the scripts to date and that’s what has been pitched to me in terms of what’s going to happen with Holt and the precinct in the future. I don’t have any information about any episodes past the eight that we have done, but I will say that Holt is embracing the change that’s overcoming the entire department.
 
 
If you haven’t checked out Brooklyn Nine-Nine before now, don’t miss tonight’s season premiere. It’s truly a fantastic comedy with a great cast and well worth checking out. The season premiere is tonight (Sunday, Sept. 28) on FOX at 8:30/7:30c.

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