Check out our interview with talented actor Bourke Floyd who is best known for his recurring role as Brady on the hit WB Show Dawson’s Creek as well as guest starring roles in Spin City opposite Michael J. Fox and One Tree Hill with Chad Michael Murray.
Most recently he has guest starred on the Apple TV+ series Swagger with O’Shea Jackson Jr, The Cleaning Lady with Oliver Hudson, American Tragedy: Waco the Aftermath and the Shonda Rhimes series Station 19 as well as a series regular role in the VetTV comedy A Grunt’s Life. Bourke’s talents extend to the big screen with supporting roles in Big Momma’s House 2, Minority Report, Tears of the Sun, Gods and Generals, Hearts in Atlantis, and the upcoming film The Locksmith alongside Ryan Phillippe, Kate Bosworth, and Ving Rhames.
Follow Bourke @bourke_floyd
Hi Bourke, please tell us a little about you?
I count myself as a father first and foremost and that is the way I like to be thought of most. I am passionate about acting and just entertaining in general and I consider myself undeserving of the opportunities and success I have had in the entertainment industry. When I’m not working I love cooking, karaoke and just spending time with my family.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Father, Loyal, Performer
How did you get started into acting?
Acting, like so many of the things in my life, came completely out of nowhere and by accident. I often say that I “Forrest Gump-ed” my way through life and no example of that is more clear than how I became an actor. On the first day of high school, freshman year, I was walking to my last class of the day, a study hall. Walking down the hallway just in front of me was a beautiful fellow student. She walked into the classroom next door to mine and I followed in behind her. The class was Drama I and the teacher, Mr. Jeff Saunders would become a huge influence on me as both a young man and an actor. Becoming a professional actor came through contacts and opportunities through my participation in my high school’s drama program as well as in the summer program called SPARC – School for the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community.
How has this changed your life?
I have always been a performer, often to the dismay of many of my teachers growing up. Having the opportunity to take a natural performing trait and turn it into a career in which I can thrive has been a humbling gift for which I am fully aware I don’t deserve. When I first found success as both a model and actor, I lacked the maturity to see the greater opportunities that being a professional actor afforded me, opportunities via a public platform to actually have an impact on issues in our world and assist those who may be struggling. Now, with some more years and life experience under my belt as well as the remarkable advancement in social media, I make every attempt to use whatever platform my career provides to attempt to bring some amount of joy and relief to those in need around me and that is the most blessed way in which acting has changed my life.
What is the best and worst part of being an actor?
The best part of being an actor goes beyond just the obvious of doing something I love and about which I am passionate, it is also a creative outlet and that can be hard to find. Crafting a solid performance requires knowing the truth of the character. How can I possibly expect myself to become the truth of someone else if I don’t know my own truth? For me personally, that’s the best part of being an actor, the personal journey of development I have been forced to make in order to become better at my craft. Full disclosure, I am still continuing on that journey and constantly working to become a better actor. A part of that process allows me to make new discoveries about who I am and who I want to be and that can be simultaneously terrifying and a relief too. Being able to live in the honesty and intention of a character is very often exhilarating and therapeutic.
The worst part of being an actor is likely different for a lot of people. As someone who has the gift of support from my family and the confidence in me from my representation, I have none of the hard elements that a lot of people face when they come into this industry. Having said that, the most challenging part of being a professional actor for me personally is the lack of consistent stability and requirement for patience. If you stay in the fight and don’t quit on yourself as well as constantly reinvest in your professional and personal development you can make a living as an actor but a large part of that will also be constantly looking for your next booking. One way that helped me with the stress or negativity from constantly hearing “No” (or nothing at all) is that I changed my perspective on auditioning as a whole. I truly love acting and find so much joy in the work, why would I ever look at an invitation to audition as anything other than an opportunity to ACT! It has made the audition process so much more enjoyable, for that time during the audition that I am performing the role, it is MY role. The other “worst part” is staying in shape when the catering can be SO good and the craft services table is always stocked with delicious snacks!
How do you prepare for a role?
The preparation for a role is as different for each actor as there are stars in the sky so please know that I in no way mean for this to be any kind of instruction for others, just a recounting of the manner by which I prepare for a role. I firmly believe that if I’m the smartest guy in the room I’m in the wrong room and if I THINK I’m the smartest guy in the room, I’m the wrong guy. We can all learn something from everyone with whom we have contact.
I start my preparation by reading the entire script and then reading it again and again and again. Depending on the amount of time I have before we start principal photography I may read a script 10 – 50 times. The only information the audience has to inform them on the story we are trying to share is what is on the screen in front of them, therefore the more fully informed I am about that story, the more likely I will be to assist in the competent telling of it. I don’t worry about knowing my Ines forwards and backwards as much as I attempt to know my character’s intent in every scene. What does my character want to see happen by the conclusion of the scene? I also make notes at the top of the scene about where my character is going. This information may or may not be in the scene before but either way I make the note because I don’t know in what order we will be shooting the script or how much actual time may have passed between those scenes.
If I am finding a particular character or scene to be a challenge, I will often figure out the soundtrack for the character, the scene sometimes even just the moment for which I am finding the challenge. Music can move people in so many different ways and can bring us back to very specific times, places and emotions in our lives. I often find the song or songs that most aptly capture that for me and have that noted in my book work as well. One day I may or may not use it but while I’m preparing it can be a very helpful mechanism for me to get into character.
Finally, I try to keep my interpretation of the character loose and flexible. We all speak our own language creatively and I am not responsible for the big picture of a project. Staying nimble and ready to adapt my performance to the notes from the director as well as the performance from my fellow cast mates I am working opposite is critical to serving the material and the audience.
Tell us about your work as Brady on the hit WB Show Dawson’s Creek?
Holy cow, I will tell you that working on “Dawson’s Creek” in the role of Brady was one of the most fun experiences of my life, both professionally and personally. I became close with a few of my cast mates and we stay in touch still to this day. The show was filmed in Wilmington, NC which, although I was raised in Virginia, is where I was actually born. I joined the show in its 5th season when it was already a bonafide hit and something of an icon of pop culture. Coming in and seeing this pre-existing family working so closely together was intimidating but they welcomed me with such open arms and we were all out on the boat or hanging out at the famous Dockside Restaurant like old friends almost immediately. To this day, I am still blown away by people who recognize me from “Dawson’s Creek” or from my Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue work haha. This resurgence on streaming services has been amazing and really a lot of fun to watch. Teens are being newly introduced and relating to the story lines and performances from over 20 years ago. It’s a true testament to the universal themes Kevin Williamson and the entire writer’s room created so many years ago.
And your work in Spin City opposite Michael J. Fox and One Tree Hill with Chad Michael Murray?
In THEORY it’s incredible to have the opportunity to meet your heroes from youth but so often they don’t live up to the imagined “hype” you have built around them. To be clear, this more often than not isn’t their fault. We all have jobs to do, we are all human and we often have set our heroes on a pedestal they simply cannot live up to in reality. Michael J. Fox was the exception. Not only did he deliver on the promise of being one of the nicest and most professional people I’ve ever met, he was outgoing and welcoming to me asking for us to be on a first-named basis right out of the gate.
My first day on “Spin City” we were at a Double A baseball facility in New Jersey that was being doubled for Yankee Stadium. It was a beautiful and sunny day in early fall and our characters were seated in the front row up the first base line. After we had shot a few takes the director called for a different set up which could take several minutes so a production assistant came to take Mike into the dugout and get him out of the sun. As he passed by me (who is notably fair skinned), he stopped and said, “You better come too Bourke, you’ll turn to dust if you’re out here too long.”
Working With Chad on “One Tree Hill” was so much fun, in part because we had already worked together on “Dawson’s Creek” having both joined the cast in Season 5. We both have a background in football as well and watching NCAA games with him on Saturdays was something of a ritual. Chad is an incredibly talented actor and the work he has done for so many worthy causes using the platform his fame and talent have provided is remarkable.
What other projects have you been part of?
I had a very nice career trajectory in the early 2000s then, due to a family circumstance, I took an extended break from the industry. Since I’ve returned I have been so incredibly fortunate to have some incredible individuals come on board as advocates and advisors for me professionally including my agents at Sovereign Talent Group and Mitchell and Associates and Eliza and Eric Roberts who are more like family to me but have the obvious years of high level success in the industry behind them when they make recommendations or give me guidance. Since my return a few years ago I have been able to guest star on numerous series including “The Cleaning Lady” on Fox, “Station 19” on ABC and “Swagger” on AppleTV+. I’ve also had roles in the features Breaking with John Boyega and Wanted Man with Kelsey Grammer, amongst others. In 2023 I am looking forward to the release of “The Locksmith”, a feature film directed by Nicholas Harvard and starring Ryan Phillipe, Ving Rhames and Kate Bosworth. In “The Locksmith” I have a heavily supporting role and made some really close friends including Noel Gugliemi.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
I have really enjoyed the fatherly roles both in my career and in my life. While I have a strong background in action films and love performing my own stunts, I really have found myself dreaming of the chance to be the sitcom Dad, think Alan Thicke (Growing Pains), Bob Saget (Full House), Anthony Anderson (Black-ish) or Jason Bateman (Arrested Development).
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
I LOVE movies and television and I always have. I didn’t always have the easiest time when I was growing up and movies and television provided just the escape I longed for. Two hours in a dark theater watching “The Goonies” on an adventure or “The Karate Kid” learn both martial arts AND life Lessons from Mr. Miyagi, or seeing Webster find a loving home or Mike Seaver get out of another scrape with the help of his loving family, I loved that 30 to 90 minutes of time away from anything that was weighing me down in the real world. The most rewarding part of being an actor, for me, is the idea that I may be a small part in helping someone else in similar fashion and the platform that it gives me to positively affect the lives of others in need.
What’s your advice for the newer actors?
I am far from an expert for newer actors because the business has changed so much in two decades and continues to change with the technology as well as the new casting methods since Covid. I would say the same advice I would give to new actors is similar to the advice I would share with anyone trying to just be a better human being. I would tell them to be kind to everyone whenever possible. I would remind them to listen more and to everyone. Listen to their fears, their wants, their needs, their losses and their victories. None of us will travel the same path through life but we can still learn from the path others have taken. Finally I would advise them to be daring but patient in both their actions and their choices. So many times we want things to happen on our timeline and, simply put, neither the industry nor life work that way. Don’t be complacent and continue to evolve but don’t expect to be in control of just when “it” will happen. Don’t even expect to really understand what “it” actually is. Just be kind as much as you can, listen to those around you, invest in yourself while also taking chances and be patient while you carve your path through life.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
Once, early in my career, I had to have my hair dyed for a job. I was living in Manhattan and production scheduled me for a cut and color with a HUGE Celebrity Stylist whose salon was at The Plaza. I walked in and the young lady at reception greeted me, and asked me to follow her to a changing room where she then handed me a very plush gown and sandals. She instructed me to change before an assistant would get me. I stood in that changing room for several minutes trying to figure out what level of undress I should get. After debating back and forth, I made a decision. As I stood in the changing room with the gown on, I looked in the mirror and thought, “this doesn’t quite seem right but okay.” I wasn’t sure if I should wait inside the dressing room or back at the front so I stepped out into the hallway and began to make my way up to reception. Suddenly, a male employee came running up to me and shoved me back into the dressing room, trying to spare me the utter shame of clearly having no idea what I was doing in such a bougie place. I suppose now would be a good time to mention that I had removed both my button up shirt, and my pants. There are several lessons I learned from this situation, first only remove your pants under explicit instructions to do so, and second we’re all going to find ourselves in places and situations that are completely unfamiliar to us, ASK SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN THERE!
How would your best friend describe you?
My best friend would likely describe me as reliable and loyal and a person you can always count on to keep you safe and laughing. I think they may also say that if they were in jail and had only one phone call to be bailed out they would call me but also, likely not discount that I may have been part of the reason they were there in the first place.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
“The Never-Ending Story” because I am always trying to learn from my past and be better than I was yesterday and I just never know what the future will hold or where this story will go.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
I would remind myself to be more patient and forgiving of myself and others. I would also remind myself to listen more.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
“TRANSFORMED” by Remi Adeleke
As a popular actor you are followed by so many people. How do you feel about that pressure of always doing the right thing, and encourage people to follow their dreams?
I am incredibly humbled that there are people who follow my social media pages and I always make every attempt to use that platform as a way to draw attention to the successes of others or to those in need. When I am having a bad day or just struggling to stay positive as we all do on occasion, I actually lean further towards kindness and make an effort to bring joy to someone else. Posting an encouragement or congratulations for someone else and seeing the response from not only the subject of the post but from others that join me in their celebration helps me change my attitude and appreciate the opportunities I have in my life. I always try to answer people who reach out to me through social media whenever I can and make myself available to answer questions about the industry whenever I can.
When you started your Social Media accounts, did you expect such success?
When I started on social media I never imagined having 1000 followers and now I’m creeping close to 1 Million. I wasn’t even sure what to do with it when it first took off but I was very fortunate to have some guidance from friends with far more experience that were willing to help point me in the right direction. I am so grateful to those that do follow my page and take the time to interact with my posts.
What do you think is the secret to having a successful IG/TikTok account?
I don’t think there is any one secret to maintaining a successful Social Media account but I do think one thing I try to make certain of with my posts is that I am honestly being myself. Sometimes I am required to post about projects I am in that are releasing or I have the opportunity to do something really cool with my family in exchange for a post, when that is the case I always stay honest and stick to the truth about my experience.
What’s next for Bourke Floyd in the last months of 2022 and for 2023?
I have Guest Star Appearances on “The Cleaning Lady” on Fox and “American Tragedy: The Waco Trials” on CBS/Paramount as well as the release of films “Babylon” and “The Locksmith”.
What is your favorite healthy food?
My favorite food is always a solid salad with a Vinaigrette Dressing
And your favorite cheat food?
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
What is your own definition of happiness?
My family happy and healthy and my hearing my kids’ laughing brings me peace and peace is happiness to me.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to spend some time talking about movies with George Lucas. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the greats already but I’d love the chance to hear George Lucas’ Thoughts on all sorts of things. Even more than discussing his successes, I’d love to hear what he has turned down or refused that he wishes he hadn’t passed on.
Best advice ever given?
My Grandpa once reminded me to always work to try to be better than myself, not anyone else. That what other people are doing and their achievements are not the stick by which I should measure myself. He summed it up by saying, We can’t be in competition if I’m rooting for you!
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I have been so fortunate to have been a part of some fantastic projects in my career and I am really enjoying the work. In 5 years I’d like to think that I would have further built the platform that acting has given me and used it to further benefit society. Professionally I would hope to have become more active in developing and producing original projects.
Favorite song? Why?
“Kiss is on My List” by Hall & Oates – My birth mom loved Hall & Oates and they are still my favorite group to this day because of her. I remember her teaching me to dance when I was only 5 or 6 years old to this song.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think Social Media is incredibly powerful and the original entertainment that is being created, particularly on TikTok is amazing! Like most powerful tools, the outcomes of their use are most often determined by the user. While there is a lot of good that comes from Social Media, there are also negative things like cyber bullying, trolling and misinformation. I am all for responsible social media use, I just wish there were a way to protect people from the negative aspects more.
Where can we follow you?
Book: “The Tao of Pooh”
Quote: “The same boiling water that hardens an egg, softens a potato”. It’s not your circumstances but how you react that will define you.
Movie: “The Goonies”
Tv Series: Anything on HGTV
Favorite Food: Salad with a Vinaigrette
Travel Destination: Hawaii
Sports Team: South Carolina Gamecocks
Photo Credit: Brian Doherty