Michigan native Brian Letscher agreed to answer a few questions for me about his (supposedly) mysterious character on The CW’s military drama Valor. We ended up chatting about his other works (including writing) & a little bit about football!
Stacey Maynard: The first one will be the easiest to ask but the hardest to answer: What if anything can you let out about Magnus’s true intentions?
Brian Letscher: Magnus wants two things specifically: to bring Jimmy Kam home and find the traitor Davis Goundry. On a larger scale, he knows the evils out there in this world and is charged, as Director of CIA Special Activities, with stopping the bad guys, no matter what. His true intentions have always been to make the world a safer place for good citizens.
SM: The secrecy of his character does have him coming off more like a possible bad guy than good guy but obviously not how you’re seeing him (and playing him).
BL: Do you think there’s secrecy? Other than classified info, Magnus is an open book!:). He has seen it all, death up close and personal, and learned to enjoy life no matter how scary or difficult and he let’s his emotions out.
SM: I feel as a viewer, there are things that he’s not saying. But then again it could be because I want ALL the classified information. Like Gallo and Madani, I want to know I’m rooting for the right person.
BL: Of course. A lot of info Magnus has is ‘need-to-know’ and there are really only 2-3 other people in the world that need to know! That is also to protect people.
SM: Speaking of those that are need to know, There definitely seems to be a deeper connection between Magnus, Richard and Thea, are we going to see more of that?
BL: Yes. Richard trained Thea along w/Magnus. They are all very close.
SM: So obviously Magnus is going to have an issue with the knowledge that Madani killed him. That being said, are you able to tell us if Richard is indeed dead?
BL: Magnus doesn’t know any of that even happened obviously. As far as he know, Richard is on the run, in hiding, trying to get back home.
SM: So he’s not just hiding the information in a way to protect Thea?
BL: We’ll see…
SM: What happened to that open book Director? 😉 Okay, shifting focus. How is the atmosphere on set? Figuring since it’s a bit on the dark side on screen, it’s the opposite on set?
BL: I love this cast and crew. Really. People are prepared and professional yet we also laugh. A lot. Says a lot about our showrunners – they really picked talent as well as smart, cool cats.
SM: I’m sure that’s always a benefit to come to work to! Though I’m sure something you are accustomed to, coming from the likes of Scandal.
BL: Scandal was a fantastic vibe as well. I’m very fortunate, no doubt.
SM: I definitely am getting that feeling. Do you have any other projects that you are working on at the moment?
BL: I’m a writer as well so December will be spent finishing a screenplay, THOSE WHO STAY, about the resurgence of The University of Michigan’s football program under a tough, new coach, set against the civil rights and anti-establishment movement in 1969.
SM: I did read about you being a writer, which as a writer myself I always find interesting! That is some seemingly heavy material, though, with the present climate of civil rights, I would assume you drawing parallels between the two?
BL: Well, unfortunately, the parallels are just there, no drawing needed. The effort then focuses on the specificity of the story. The personal relationships. And let that speak for itself.
SM: Very much so, this isn’t your first play either, right? I read that you have one opening in January as well?
BL: Sorry that was last January, not this coming. Last January. That was a stageplay. THOSE WHO STAY is a screenplay.
SM: Gotcha, sorry for the mix up. Do you approach the writing differently when writing for the screen instead of the stage?
BL: Understandable 🙂
In terms of prep – defining characters and developing story – no. Similar. But in terms of form/craft, yes. Stage is all about the language. There is no close-up. And, generally speaking, I prefer more compact stories for stage. Film – you have the distinct advantage of the close-up. The picture that means a thousand words. You can bridge space and time easier. Music and montages (if needed!), etcz
SM: Some might not think about the process as interesting, but as a writing geek, it holds a special place in my heart. Circling back to football for a moment, you played as well as write about it. It’s obviously a subject that resonates with you?
BL: Football was a big part of my life. I walked on at Michigan and really had to earn a spot on that team and eventually earned a scholarship. The experience at Michigan was incredible and taught me so much – I carry that with me as well as friendships and a community that will always be there. Can’t really ask for better than that.
SM: That is fantastic, as someone who lives and works in a college town I know how an entire town can revolve around the bonds of football. I’ll make this last one easy. Other than writing, how is your off time spent?
BL: Love to hang with my kids, read and sleep when not working!