Batwoman: Brendon Zub Tells Tales of an International Childhood and the Joy of Lying Down on the JobDiana Keng at .
Batwoman followers will recognize Vancouver-based actor Brendon Zub as the former Crow Security agent turned traitor, Chuck Dodgson, who is romantically involved with arch-villainess, Alice, and until very recently, a "secured" guest of the Bat Cave.
And he'll seem very familiar to fans of holiday made-for-TV movies as he has more than half a dozen of those under his belt as well as a recurring role as Trip Bailey on The CW's Charmed (2018).
Zub is also no stranger to the Arrow-verse, appearing in the pilot episode of The Flash in 2014 in a role which could've become recurring but ultimately didn't.
This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the writer of the Batwoman pilot episode was initially concerned that he'd be recognized as his previous character, Kyle.
Zub wasn't worried at all, his role was so minor. As he tells it,"I said,'Oh, people don't know I was even on it,' and she was like, 'excellent.'"
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Speaking with him over the phone, one can't help but be drawn to the enormous "Can-Do" positivity he exudes when relating stories of his childhood and life in general.
His life was a far-ranging adventure from the start. Although born in Vancouver, Brendon spent his formative years in Calgary, then Hungary, then Germany, only to return to the city of his birth to attend the Vancouver Film School and establish his acting career in Hollywood North.
A huge fan of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, having read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in a week when he was 13, he likens his real-life travels to the prequel novel, The Hobbit, which (as aficionados know) was subtitled "There and Back Again"
Full disclosure: that fantasy literature reference, dropped very early in our conversation, warmed my geeky heart to no end. I hope you enjoy portions of our conversation, edited for content, below.
[You've had] a hugely diverse childhood, going from culture to culture, language to language, and then settling into acting where you get to incorporate things that you've seen and learned about throughout your childhood.
Exactly! I wouldn't be where I am today in my career, or [landed] the types of roles I've gotten, without my adventurous childhood.... I was never a pouty or mad kid for having to move away and meet new friends.
I was always pretty excited to learn and to go on to new adventures. I loved all the languages and the accents that I picked up along the way, which definitely helped me in my career here in Vancouver.
You've made yourself at home in the film and television industry here in Vancouver. Have you ever considered performing in live theatre?
I did [theatre] early on. At school, in Calgary at Mount Royal College for a little bit.
Then when I moved here, my first year after film school, I actually did a musical. I like singing and dancing and doing choreography, and it was a lot of fun, but I quickly got picked up in the TV world.
You've worked with some amazing actors in your time in Vancouver and elsewhere. Have you ever worked with someone you were personally awed by, someone you were a fan of already?
I met Uma Thurman in one of my first acting roles I ever got. My credit that allowed me to join the union was Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, and she played Medusa on it.
I had a day or two or three on set, a small "dad" role. I got to meet her just briefly, and I was like, 'Wow, this is so cool!'
Flashforward a decade -- nine, ten years -- and I book this role on Imposters where I'm supposed to hit on some lady at a bar and get beat up.
I'm doing a wardrobe fitting, and the crew's getting all excited, and I'm like "What's going on?" And [they ask] "Do you know who you're doing your scene with?" And I'm like, "I have no idea."
"Uma Thurman. You get to hit on Uma Thurman."
And I'm just [thinking] wow, this has just come full circle.
So, yeah, I had this really fun scene in Imposters where I get to drunkenly hit on her, and she goes Kill Bill on my ass and beats me up. So I feel like I got the best of both worlds.
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Do you have a dream role?
I majored in History in college. I find history often more interesting than fiction a lot of time. I love the Lord of the Rings and the old medieval action epic war love story.
I would love to be in an epic action [production].
And would you be a Warrior? A Cleric? Bard?
I'd be a palladin, a mix of both the cleric and warrior.
From Chuck's perspective, from your perspective as the actor portraying this character, do you feel you're a villain? Do you feel you're doing it for love? Do you feel you're doing it for other motivations?
Yeah, it's a combination. He definitely has motivations; he doesn't feel like he's been necessarily the traitor. You're going to find out more of his motivations and reasons in Episode 5, but I can say that definitely that mix of love. They haven't really fleshed out how Alice and him met up or solved that relationship.
I think more will come this season onto that backstory and whether they're working with each other or using each other or whatnot
But they both have similar goals right now, and you'll find out....he has a long game plan here, and I'm pretty sure it fits with Alice's a lot, but at the same time, I see Dodgson as a rock to her craziness.
[Then] there's this other goal and other plan, overarching [it all]. The plan that he has. He wants to see it through for the bigger reasons and not just the personal ones. He doesn't want her to get distracted.
Were you a fan of Batwoman, the graphic novel? Did you read it before [taking the role on the show]?
I had a phase when I was a teenager when I liked a lot of comics, but I wasn't the person who knew every series, every spin-off, and knew what was canon. I was a fan of Batman and Robin, the basic ones.
I didn't know much about Batwoman, but then Camrus Johnson (who plays Luke Fox on the show) gave me a few comics and kind of opened my eyes to that backstory.
Our readers have said that they feel that the show has been overshadowed by the absence of Batman. Batwoman Season 1 Episode 4 repeatedly points out "This is the point, I am BatWOMAN." Your thoughts on that?
When I watched it, I thought, "Are they going to give creedance and honor Batman?" I think they did a good job especially with revealing Batman's cave. It was epic.
The set is just absolutely beautiful. It gave me chills when I was there, seeing that reveal being shot. I think what a lot of the viewers miss is that [Kate] does honor Batman -- at the end of each show where she's talking to him through her diary.
[The diary entries] show the heart and true motivations behind [Kate's actions]. She's kind of putting on a demeanor at the same time she wants to be herself and play by her own rules.
I think that's a balance that will be seen throughout the rest of the season.
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So it was great to see you NOT hanging from the Bat Cave ceiling anymore [on Batwoman Season 1 Episode 4]. Was it a nice change of scene for you?
(laughing) There's a lot of me laying down hurt and hallucinating in Episode 4 for sure. It was a crazy day.
I think Ruby was quite jealous -- she was quite tired -- because I got to lay on the bed all, acting all bloody and hurt. I had a big nap on the bed, and I'm ready to go.
Since Dodgson was trying to kill her the last time [Mary] saw him, that scene must've played out in an interesting manner.
I told [Nicole] to have fun [pretending to be Alice]. Ironically enough, we bonded really well when I tried to kill her. We have a lot of fun together so, yeah, she's become a close friend on set.
Do you find the fight scenes difficult?
I find [fight scenes] quite easy. I train jiujitsu, and I'm quite active. I play a lot of sports -- hockey, basketball -- so I'm quite physical on and off set.
And, actually, Nicole dances, so when we do that big fight choreography scene, she did most of it, I did pretty much all of it. We picked up the steps really quickly.
You guys started filming before summer, didn't you?
Well, the pilot was actually shot in March. It was still pretty cool up here. For that rooftop scene, it was actually snowing that night. It was a long, long night shoot.
But then we started Batwoman Season 1 Episode 2 the first of July. Basically, July first or second, and then kept going from there.
As a cast, do you feel that you've gelled?
Oh, yeah. I can honestly say I haven't met a cast who clicked or bonded this quickly or are as friendly as they truly are on and off set.
I'm sure as the season continues, people will start getting into their own routines but since most of them aren't from here. They all came here from L.A. or New York or Australia.
I was the one here who kind of chaffeured them around, showed them where they might want to live. It allowed me to get really close with a lot of them and we all bonded in the new city that they were getting to know. I became quite close with a lot of them and then we still to this day, do stuff together.
We're in a group chat and we always check in with each other to see if we're doing dinners or barbeques or even went on a whale-watching trip together in August and a bunch of us went to The Who concert last weekend.
Dougray is friends with one of the bandmates and so he got us all tickets and they were fantastic. Dougray hosted a barbeque .... Ruby's hosted us at her house several times, also for the premiere of Batwoman, and she's so incredibly kind and thoughtful in general.
The show seems to be finding its footing still. Do you feel that the show [will successfully establish itself] as its own pillar of the Arrow-verse?
The way they've structured the first season of Batwoman, they kind of planned for the 13 episodes, but when they were looking at the 22 or 24 episodes, they're thinking in thirds.
The series will get much more exciting and cliff-hanger-y and stuff around episode eight or nine.
It's definitely settling in a bit, but there's a lot happening. Each week we're surprised when we get the script, and we see what's happening. There's going to be some big surprises in the first third that will be jaw-dropping.
What advice do you have for viewers who are just getting to know this show?
Definitely stick with it because things take some wild turns. If you think the first few episodes have been up or down, just wait. Some big surprises are coming your way.
Batwoman airs on The CW Sundays at 8/7c, and if you need to catch up, you can watch Batwoman online right here via TV Fanatic!
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Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond 'til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on Twitter.