Our Exclusive Richard "Bubba" Bryant Interview: Part 2
Yesterday we gave you a taste of our interview with “Army Wives” star Richard “Bubba” Bryant and I think it’s safe to say that we could all use a little more Jeremy Sherwood (and Bubba!) in our lives! Read on for Part 2 of our chat, where we ask the actor fan questions, who he watched the episode with and who the heck he’s talking to while we’re trying to interview him!
It’s an understatement to say that the fans, who have gotten to know you over the past five years, had a strong reaction to your death. What was your family’s reaction when they saw the episode?
Bubba: Well, my mom’s side of the family was all military — they were all in the Navy. Fun fact; my grandmother and grandfather met on the military base that we film at! There are so many things that run parallel. When they talk about the funeral home on Calhoun Street? The funeral home on Calhoun Street is the family funeral home. Denise was Hazel in the flashback episode and my grandmother’s name is Hazel. A lot of parallels!
My mom is an extra a lot on the show, but she couldn’t do any of the [Episode 4] scenes. But they were very proud of me and proud that I got to tell this story.
Who did you watch the episode with?
Bubba: The first time that we saw it was with the cast — they screened it right before. And then the time that it showed on television, I didn’t want to watch it with anyone that I was really close to, because I wanted them to not have me around, to see the story and not be looking around and have Bubba there watching Jeremy — this is not “Bubba,” it’s Jeremy who dies. So I [watched with] one of my friends, this guy Anthony who’s a professional surfer and one of the soldiers, one of the extras. I grew up surfing with this kid, and he’s my boy! So I was able to watch it and kind of absorb it and have him there, have happy-go-lucky Anthony next to me.
Did he cry?
Bubba: Yeah, he was crying too! When you’re watching, when they do the funeral in Afghanistan, he’s the guy on the absolute left that has his head down. But right after that we went out to a show at the Music Farm right around here and… I didn’t go to sleep until around 7 o’clock in the morning (laughs). You know? Have to celebrate! It’s a celebration. We’re changing the world right now. People need to know what’s going on in the war.
How has the show changed your perspective on soldiers and families?
Bubba: When I was first doing the show and I went to Fort Bragg and I got to shadow all of these people and meet Army families and people saying, ‘thank you for what you do,’ I loved it. I have so much respect for these people. These people are so kind. It’s heart-wrenching and it’s tragic that people are losing their kids, their wives and their husbands going overseas trying to help humanitarian efforts. At the end of the day, everyone needs to take their hats off for the military.
One of our Facebook fans asked: What was it like playing a soldier who was in combat? Did it feel too surreal as if you were facing your own mortality?
Bubba: That is a very good question! When you’re in the rhythm of the character, like when I did the post traumatic stress scenes, it was kind of hard for me to break away from that because your body tenses up. I’ve never been claustrophobic, but when I was laying in the coffin — ah, just thinking about it now! — I started freaking out. This is the reality, this is what happens. That’s where I’m going to be when I die.
The day that we shot it was a little cold and the day started getting a little bit warmer so we started getting hot and then right when we started doing the scene where I die, this soft wind started to come across the rock quarry that we were at. And it was just this feeling — it was just so surreal. Everyone around us knew what was going on and there was just this silence and this calm wind, it was, I don’t know… very creepy and very weird. I opened up my eyes after the first take — where the medic came over and checked me — and there was a vulture circling over me. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes were vultures circling! There was something in the air that day.
We keep talking about his death, but Jeremy has been through so many things over the five seasons of the show. What was the most challenging thing for you to go through as an actor?
Bubba: The scenes when Jeremy got back into town and he had the death of [Pvt. Mark] Rison on his shoulders. He doesn’t talk about it. He does the soldier thing and he just keeps it in and keeps it in. And when he gets to explode in the first episode of the fourth season when Roland and I had the psychological breakthrough and me crying — that was a release. But the holding it in, holding in the guilt of his friend’s death and just embodying that and putting that in my head? I want to feel it, whatever happiness in my life — I want to tune that out and concentrate on what he’s going through so I can show what exactly happens to a human being when he goes through that. And I would come home and it would kill me, because your mind makes your body clench up and it was so hard for me to shake that once I would get home. Even thinking about it now, thinking about what these kids go through. But the Rison stuff, when I got home from Iraq, the whole suicide thing, that was definitely the toughest time but at the same time the most rewarding as an actor. We want to go into these different bodies and walk in their shoes and when there’s something that powerful that we get to go into, it’s… I don’t know. It’s cool to feel the human condition. But that was the hardest part definitely.
Bubba is talking to someone in the background. I have to ask; who are you talking to?
Bubba: (laughs) Oh, my dog! Yeah, I’ve got a “labra-dog,” he’s pretty cool. I had just gotten Jackson — that’s my dog — I had him for six months before we did the Lucky [the LeBlanc’s dog] stuff. And so I had already developed that relationship with the dog and learned how to deal with dogs. The animal trainer was like, ‘oh my gosh, have you done this before?’
We’ve been through all of your character’s hardships — but what about when you get to fall in love on the show? With Amanda Holden in Season 1 and Tonya in the last two seasons.
Bubba: I mean, that’s just fun, you know? I’m a “Romeo” — I love falling in love! So those scenes, and Kim Allen and Erin Krakow, are amazing. They’re so good — and I got to make out with them!
Alright, "Army Wives" fans, I'm going to make you wait until tomorrow to hear more from Romeo — er, Bubba here. And yes, we did find out if he is single or taken. Catch you back here tomorrow!