Check out our interview with one of Maxim’s “The Hot 10 Actresses,” and “A Day to Die” star Brooke Butler. Brooke stars “A DAY TO DIE” alongside Bruce Willis, Frank Grillo and Kevin Dillon.
After killing a drug syndicate member while protecting a parolee, Connor Connolly (Kevin Dillion) has one day to pay two million dollars in reparations he doesn’t have to Tyrone Pettis. He is forced to ask his old military ops crew, led by Brice Mason (Frank Grillio), to come together and somehow get two million dollars before Connor loses everyone he loves. Brooke portrays ‘Candace,” Connor’s wife, a tough, independent woman who is kidnapped and held for ransom with her life on the line.
Brooke has starred in television series and feature films including Netflix’s “Ozark,” FOX’s “The Resident,” TNT’s “Animal Kingdom,” ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE, and NIGHT SCHOOL, to name a few.
Follow Brooke @brookieserene
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Adventurous, Faithful, Hard-Working
How did you get started into acting?
This is a bit of an existential question for me. I don’t believe there was ever really a start, it always just was. I’ve always loved telling stories. Before I first spoke, I was setting up stuffed animals in my crib making plays and humming along. It’s been the one clear thing my whole life. Even when everything else was muddled, I always knew how to tell a story.
How has this changed your life?
It’s definitely made my entire life go a certain direction. Apart from living all over, choosing to go to USC theater school, and continually choosing my art above everything else, I would say it has made me an observer of people. I love to learn what makes people “tick,” why people make the choices they do, and what in their life has led to that. I think I tend to observe the world in a different way because I am first – above all else – a creative.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part is creating something that makes people feel, that makes people think, or just makes people laugh! I would say the worst part is that at the end of the day it’s a business!
How do you prepare for a role?
Oh gosh, I don’t know if the article has enough room for this! In short, I would say I never stop asking questions. I break down the text to create my character’s arc, I write down everything said about me (my character) by others, what I say about myself, and then fill in what would make this true in my life. I create a secret. I create where and when I lie. What I want most. Who I love. Who I hate. I discover what parts of Brooke need to be turned up, and what parts need to be turned down. It’s important for me to prepare as much as possible, and then throw it away. To create true chemistry with whom I am working with in the project, see where that leads, and what that stirs up. Then, I never stop asking questions. I never stop playing.
Tell us about your work on film “A DAY TO DIE?”
I play Candace Connolly, whose every day normal life gets turned upside down when she is kidnapped and her husband is given 24 hours to come up with the ransom or else he could lose everything he loves. I loved working on this film because yes, it’s a genre piece that keeps you entertained, but underneath there is so much more. Our director, Wes Miller, really had a clear vision for this. It’s about people from different walks of life, different political backgrounds, and different social backgrounds all coming together for one common goal. A common good. It’s a metaphor for so much of what our society needs right now.
And about your role as Candace?
As the only female lead in this male-driven movie it was important for me that Candace felt like the heartbeat, the innocence, yet strong at the same time. To see if I survive, you’ll have to check it out!
How was working alongside such a talented cast including Bruce Willis, Frank Grillo and Kevin Dillon?
It felt effortless. I felt like it was the right place for me, and I silently observed and took in advice and knowledge from these greats that have been around for so long. I wanted to learn from them. Kevin was such a wonderful collaborator. I came in with all these ideas and he was so open. That’s a dream artist to me. Leon was someone I enjoyed battling – in an artistic way. I believe we both approach acting in a similar way. I felt strong chemistry with him, and I think it showed on screen. Frank was very passionate: he wanted the project to be good and fought for it to be great. I learned a lot watching him. And as for Bruce, to have been able to work with him before he retired was the dream of a lifetime.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
I don’t like to put myself in a box. Anytime I get the chance to create something different, out there, creative, heartfelt, quirky, flawed, or just something to make you laugh I am happy.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
When someone says they were personally affected by something of mine they watched.
What’s your advice for the newer actors?
Live a life. The more life, the more experience, the more you have to say.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
“No” is the most powerful word. Also, that no one person is more important than another- it takes a village. It’s a business but the true creator must always remember their childhood wonder, love, and passion for the arts that made them start in the first place.
How would your best friend describe you?
Her name is Tamara Laurel, and she’s a beautiful songwriter in Nashville. She’s been my best friend since I was 10! I just asked her, and she wrote this (I swear I didn’t write it haha!): “Brooke is poised, kind, deep, and spirited. So much more than you’d expect from the beautiful surface; there’s a whole other world to Brooke made up of poetry, singing and songwriting, athleticism, empathy, and devotion to her faith. She makes everything fun and everyone better.”
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
“Don’t Judge This Book by its Cover, and Other Keys to Kindness”
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Don’t date the guy and choose the work. Lol
What book should every entrepreneur read?
If we are talking about acting, I would say “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rilke, or “The First Six Lessons” by Boleslavsky.
What’s next for Brooke Butler in 2022?
I just got married! Now it’s back to work. We have a music studio in our house so that’s something that’s in the works at the moment.
What is your favorite healthy food?
I like to cook. When I’m feeling a need to be healthy, I like to make stir-fry vegetables with brown rice!
And your favorite cheat food?
Honestly, I don’t deprive myself of anything so I’m not sure I have a cheat food. If I want the pizza I eat the pizza, and if I want the ice cream I eat the ice cream!
What is your own definition of happiness?
Seeing my family happy. And when my dog cuddles me in the morning.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Jesus. To simply be in His presence.
What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?
I’ve been wanting to go to Japan. It’s one of my favorite cultures to study. I’d take my husband! He likes to adventure, explore, and laugh just like me.
How would you explain your fashion style?
Grace Kelly meets Guns N’ Roses.
Best advice ever given?
“The small things make the big things happen.” – My brother wrote this on my white board in my room as a child and I’ve lived by it.
Do you support any charity?
Growing up my dad was the head of the Aids Foundation in Seattle. He instilled within my brother and me the importance of giving back from a very young age. Every Christmas growing up we raised money and supplied Christmas gifts to families who would possibly be having their last Christmas. I’ve continued doing this every year as an adult.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
Truly, I have a ‘go with the wind’ type of spirit. I’m always up for any adventure and wherever God’s plan takes me. My goals, however, are to work with Drake Doremus, star in my own female driven action film, and sell a feature I’ve written.
“Anemone” by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
What do you think of Social Media?
It can be a beautiful place for people to express themselves. I think it also puts a lot of pressure on the younger generations with high, often unrealistic expectations of beauty and what one’s life should look like. I hope my children play outside and climb trees the way I did, and that people discover who they are themselves through living a life versus keeping their nose in a phone.
Where can we follow you?
@brookieserene (my middle name is Serene, which many people don’t know!)
Book: “Heart of Darkness” Joseph Conrad
Quote: “What lies before us, and what lies behind us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.“
Movie: “The Days of Wine and Roses,” directed by Blake Edwards. “The Lives of Others.” Directed by Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck. “Breathe In” directed by Drake Doremus.
Tv Series: Friday Night Lights
Favorite Food: chocolate chip cookies
Travel Destination: Paris
Sports Team: Tiger Woods?
Photo Credit: Bonnie Nichoalds