All My Children alum Justin Bruening is returning to the small screen. But this time, he’s trading in his good guy image for a much darker role in the Lifetime movie, Blue-Eyed Butcher.
In a conference call with Celebrity Baby Scoop, the new dad opens up about his 18-month-old daughter Lexington Grace, his upcoming role in Ringer and playdates with Sarah Michelle Gellar‘s daughter Charlotte, and his dark role in Blue-Eyed Butcher.
We hear you and your All My Children costar wife are parents to a baby girl! Congrats! What kind of baby is she? Are you getting any sleep?
JB: “No sleep – that waved ‘bye-bye’ to me a long time ago. I don’t sleep anymore [laughs]. My baby daughter doesn’t like to sleep, that’s the problem. She is an extremely happy baby. She runs around the house and is very into her daddy right now. She’s crying because I’m lost in the office.
She is very fun. She likes to run around and she has a very short attention span. She likes to play with her animals, and is such a happy baby. She loves to make us laugh and just figured out how to laugh. Very funny!”
Blue-Eyed Butcher is quite a dark storyline! Were you able to get into the role easily amidst your busy role as dad in your real life?
JB: “Scarily yes, it wasn’t that hard to get into it. You have your moments when you have a child where you are so sleep-deprived and overworked. You get to that point where you think you are going to snap any second, and with this role I was like, ‘Oh, good! I can just snap and I don’t have to hold back!’
I feel that my character was a guy that didn’t develop the tool to hold back. He was a guy that couldn’t keep himself under control. It was pretty easy which was funny because when people complimented me on set, I wondered if it was a good thing. At the same time, it was wonderful to come home and have my daughter in my life.”
You recently costarred with Sarah Michelle Gellar on her new TV series, Ringer. Did you used to work with her at All My Children? Did you bring your daughter to the set, and did she have any playdates with Sarah Michelle’s daughter Charlotte?
JB: “I did not work with Sarah on All My Children; she left way before I did. We both went back to the last episode together. It was funny, because we both got the scripts and were talking about them. We were not in the same scene, but we were working together the same day. We get to hang out all over the place.
I never brought my daughter to the set, but she has met Charlotte and they have played together at her birthday party. They like each other a lot and are very sweet with each other. Charlotte is about a year older than my daughter and is freaking adorable. If you put the two of them together you cannot even look at them, it makes you sick [laughs].
I was always supposed to bring my daughter on the set, but I always had weird call times—like during her naptime—and my wife said I couldn’t bring her with me.”
How has fatherhood changed you? What’s your favorite part of being a dad?
JB: “It makes you grow up a lot, because you have to. But at the same time you are also regressing in the opposite direction. I get to watch Sesame Street and every cartoon and Disney movie, which we already have because I bought them in advance. That’s what I like to say anyway [laughs].
It’s fun because you get to experience everything with your child with a clean slate. It’s a first time for them – everything is a first time. You can watch them grow and watch them absorb anything you show them – that is the biggest treat to me. She is learning like five new words a day, it’s crazy! I don’t know how she does it.
She also imitates us. I cook every night as a stress relief from work, and we realized that she imitates me. Last night I was making dinner, and she went into her little kitchen and she made dinner. Her new thing is to say, ‘Everything’s hot, you can’t touch it!’ She made a little stew of lemon, potatoes, and carrots.
Being a dad definitely changed the characters I play and the roles I choose…maybe it is also from being tired all of the time [laughs]. I have become more of an adult and my acting changed for the better. It made life a lot more enjoyable.”
What’s up next for you?
JB: “I am going through fun little pilot season hell [laughs]. Just reading scripts and looking at shows. It’s kind of fun!”
What did you find challenging about your role?
JB: “I was very nervous when I read the script. My character is the complete opposite of me – he beats his wife, beats his kids. I only do that on Saturdays [laughs]. No, most of the time I don’t do that…80% of the time I do not do that [laughs]. My character was a guy that was so different from me, different than any character I played before. I didn’t know if I could convincingly do it, and that was one of the reasons why I wanted to do it. I felt like he was a character that could be seen in a different way. Maybe he was misunderstood, maybe he deserved it, I don’t know! I have no idea. It was a lot of fun to play around with the character.”
What do you think your fans will think of your character, as you mostly play the good guy?
JB: “It is very interesting. I slowly feel that with this role, I am edging my way in the other direction. I don’t know what my fans will think. I was talking to my wife, and I said, ‘Your grandma is going to hate me! She’s going to think that I beat you!’ It’s just a character with different facets of a personality, hopefully the fans get that. I saw a couple clips of me as my character and I was like, ‘Whoa, snap…okay!’ a couple of times. Like in the scene where I choked Sara.”
Can you give us any scoop on your character on Ringer?
JB: “Oh, that guy! I do get to go back to New York and film it there. I shouldn’t trust Siobhan as much as I do, because she is not looking out for my best interests.”
Do you think the fans will see Blue-Eyed Butcher as a melodrama or a drama?
JB: “For the people that see it as a drama, there is a lot of drama and melodrama in real life. Blue-Eyed Butcher is a fine combination of both. For instance, there is a scene where Sara’s character has a garage sale after the death, and that was a melodramatic part. I thought it was made up for the film, but it is actually true. There are things that happen in life that are so ridiculous and melodramatic. Everything that happens in the film is very realistic. For the people that view the film as a drama, it is definitely a drama, and for the people that view it as a melodrama, there is a lot of that too. As long as you enjoy either one of those, you will enjoy this film and any Lifetime movie for that matter.”
When asked why he doesn’t have a Twitter account, he said he didn’t think people would care about what he was up to. He said he would consider getting a Twitter account and figuring out how to use it.
Blue-Eyed Butcher is based on a true story of a Texas housewife convicted of murdering her husband by stabbing him almost 200 times in their bed. The film premieres on Lifetime on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 8:00PM ET/PT.