The Friendship Game: Brendan Meyer On Cosmic Horror & Connections

Brendan Meyer is familiar with the cerebral and out-of-this-world storytelling experience, having starred in such projects as Netflix's The OA and XYZ Films' Color Out of Space. His latest is RLJE Films' The Friendship Game, which follows a group of teens as they come across a strange object that tests their loyalties to each other and has increasingly destructive consequences the deeper into the game they go. The actor spoke to Bleeding Cool about signing on, working with director Scooter Corkle, bonding with his co-stars, and how the film compares to his other work.

The Friendship Game: Brendan Meyer on Cosmic Horror & New Connections
Brendan Meyer in The Friendship Game (2022). Image courtesy of RLJE Films

Stepping into The Friendship Game

BC: What appealed to you about The Friendship Game?

Meyer: It was a lot of different things. The script was interesting from the initial read and Damien [Ober's] script was well-constructed from the beginning in all these different things as far as the writing between the lines and stage direction. It was a confident and cool idea. I was drawn into it and there were a lot of interesting scenes, both for my character and in general for the movie. It was going to be something special. When I got to Zoom with the director Scooter and got a sense of his vision seeing his previous film, I was excited about this potential.

How do you break down the set Scooter ran?

[Scooter] is a really sweet and focused guy. He was focused on the work and had a real vision for what he was doing, but also sweet, and playful, and created a nice atmosphere especially, for a movie like this, which has dark and intense scenes. There were also scenes where you want to show up, be with your friends, and find a way to create a real friend chemistry or rapport that feels natural. You need the kind of set where you feel comfortable with both of those things. Both are the emotional extremes where you need to be connected emotionally to yourself and can't be too distracted. The set is sort of inviting in that way. It's really helpful.

The Friendship Game: Dir Scooter Corkle on Cosmic Horror Inspiration
Peyton List, Brendan Meyer, Kelcey Mawema, and Kaitlyn Santa Juana in The Friendship Game (2022). Image courtesy of RLJE Films

Did it feel like it had 'Hellraiser' vibes?
The script did it as much in my mind. The object has those Hellraiser vibes. When I saw it, I was like, "Okay". I watched 'Hellraiser,' not for the first time, not on purpose, but not to too far from when we started shooting 'The Friendship Game.' That was what was wild. I wound up watching it actually by coincidence and then I was talking to Scooter on Zoom right after I accepted the role.

How do you compare the cosmic horror of 'The Friendship Game' to your work in 'Color Out of Space?'
It is interesting, right? Because in some ways, those kinds of things are similar when you're dealing with something where you have to build. In this case, you're building a friendship, a community of friends, whereas 'Color Out of Space' is about building an authentic family unit. So it's different, but as an actor, it can be a similar process. You're dealing in these two kinds of worlds where you're like, "I need to make sure that the human stakes and the fun stuff are set up properly so that you can go on that dark, crazy journey. In both projects, you wind up with at least three or four days where you're in a pretty dark emotional state [laughs].

The Friendship Game: Dir Scooter Corkle on Cosmic Horror Inspiration
Brendan Meyer, Peyton List, Kaitlyn Santa Juana, and Kelcey Mawema in The Friendship Game (2022). Image courtesy of RLJE Films

Can you break down your chemistry with your co-stars?

Peyton [List], Kelcey [Mawema], and Kaitlyn [Santa Juana] are the three main actresses in this, and they're all awesome. Peyton was the first one that I'd met and she was awesome. I met everyone on the initial cast table read, but I met Peyton, and she was immediately really awesome. When someone is the lead of the film like she is, they can also set the tone for the set as much as the director or anyone else. She was so fun and a true friend now. I still hang out with her after the shoot. It's awesome to see that from your number one person. I also hang out with Kelcey and Kaitlyn. When I'm up in Vancouver, I see them all the time, and they were both just such talented & fun people to be around. All three of those women were awesome, and fun to be around, and I'm lucky to have them all as friends now. All our friendships survived the movie [laughs].

Was there any sequence that was difficult to film?

I don't want to get into to like spoiler territory, but some of the darker stuff that happens near the end of the film when the game hits its most crazy and wild. I have to do some pretty crazy things and witness some pretty dark stuff, which was pretty challenging. That stuff was a real test as far as making sure I was finding an authentic, emotional place for all that stuff without going over the top or without forcing it. It was an interesting balance and what's cool about the movie is that The Friendship Game is affecting people. It's using the other people against each other in a way. That was also a nuance as an actor, the ways that manifest themselves.

The Friendship Game: Dir Scooter Corkle on Cosmic Horror Inspiration
RLJE Films

Was there anything the film allowed you to do you wouldn't have normally been able to do?

I had to color my hair and I don't normally have that blond look. I could have that cool, bald-cut thing type thing. That was cool because that was a different look, unlike any other project I've done, which is fun. It's fun to look in the mirror and see a slightly different person. Sometimes you do that through wardrobe, hair, makeup, and stuff. I enjoy it when I can slip into a different vibe for the shoot.

The Friendship Game, which also stars Dylan Schombing, is in theaters, digital, and on-demand.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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