Colin O’Brien “Dear Edward”
Colin O’Brien is an American actor best known for his role in the Apple TV+ drama series “Dear Edward.” He portrays the character of Edward Adler, a young boy who is the sole survivor of a plane crash that kills his family and the other passengers. O’Brien’s performance in the show has been widely praised for its emotional depth and nuance, and he has quickly become a rising star in the industry. With his impressive talent and dedication, Colin O’Brien is set to continue making a name for himself in the world of acting. The show also focus on the lives of those who survived the loss of their loved ones in the plane crash. We see how they struggle to find joy and a purpose in their lives despite the overwhelming grief and pain. “Dear Edward” is a moving and thought-provoking show that is sure to touch the hearts of its viewers. With its superb acting, masterful storytelling, and heart-wrenching themes, it is a must-watch for anyone who appreciates a well-crafted drama series.
Through their stories, “Dear Edward” highlights the resilience of the human spirit and the power of community in times of tragedy. It is a poignant reminder that even in the darkest moments, there is hope for healing and a brighter tomorrow.
BELLO: Can you tell us about your experience working on the set of “Dear Edward” for Apple TV+? What was it like working with such a talented cast and crew?
It was an amazing experience. Because we have such a large ensemble, I only acted with a handful of people but I saw many others in HMU and behind the scenes. Everyone was so passionate about the project. I think coming off the trauma and grief we all experienced during the pandemic made us want to share this story about finding hope after loss. I loved seeing what process each actor had; I really enjoyed seeing that. The crew was so supportive, warming me with electric blankets and heated vests during our outside winter plane crash filming, and teaching me about the camera equipment. We experienced the full spectrum of weather, as we started in March and filmed through the NYC summer heat, so you grow to rely on people to help make it through the extremes. I am so grateful to all of them: ) Another difference is that film allows scenes to evolve a little more, as there are usually more takes and the pacing is slower. Sometimes I like the faster pacing because it reminds me a little more of theater. At other times, it’s nice to have time to let a complex scene evolve a little.
BELLO: You’ve worked in both film and television. Is there a particular medium that you prefer, and why?
Before Dear Edward I would have said I prefer film, but both have advantages. Film is great because you get exposure to more actors to work with and characters to try on, as you might be in a few projects a year if you’re lucky. On the other hand, I like that in television you’re working with cast and crew who are together longer, so there is more of a family feel. I recently guest-starred on Grey’s Anatomy, for instance, and some of them have been together for 19 years! You really feel that when you’re there. It’s a different energy than a film set, where everyone knows the duration of their stay when they come into the project (if you stay on schedule, that is). Dear Edward is a television show, but because we were all new to each other, it kind of had a hybrid feel. Another difference is that if you’re a series regular, a season is a long time to explore your character than a film would typically offer.
BELLO: How did you first get started in acting? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do?
The way my mom tells it, I’ve been entertaining my whole life. I was kind of a crazy little kid, running up to people and doing this wacky thing with my eyebrows, telling strangers made-up jokes, and dancing to music in public. When I was four, I shared stories about my little sister at circle time in preschool, until one day when my mom picked me up at the door instead of carline, my teacher craned her head, looking behind my mom, and asked where Zoe was! She called it lying; my mom called it storytelling and decided I need a creative outlet. That’s when she signed me and my older brother up for musical theater. Our first play was a main-stage production of The Wizard of Oz. I was a munchkin, a flying monkey, and a poppy. I loved it and was hooked. It was also good for my brother. He’s on the autism spectrum and theater can be helpful for learning intonation, facial gestures, etc. We also both enjoy singing. Later, my mom bought my brother an on-camera class and dragged me along and that’s when I knew I loved behind-camera acting.
BELLO: What are some of your favorite acting projects that you’ve worked on, and why?
I love everything I’ve worked on so far, all for different reasons. I’d have to say Dear Edward has been my favorite, though. It was such an immersive experience being Edward in New York City. I really resonated with him and the city brought his love for his family to life for me because the city is haunted by memories of them. I also loved working with so many directors on Dear Edward. Each one had their own approach, so being exposed to that at my age, as an actor, was a gift. I also loved working on Wonka. It was just magical. It was my first time abroad and we filmed some beautiful areas. I’m also a huge Roald Dahl fan, so it was a dream to be on a project that explores his world. Working with Paul King, who is like a visionary fun uncle, and Sally Hawkins, who made me love acting more than I thought I could, was amazing. I also discovered a love of camera work there. An Irish cinematographer named Seamus McGarvey worked a camera that looked like a giant arm, and it was the first time I’d seen that on set. It was so cool! Also, Aquaman was filming right next to my trailer, so it was fun to see that.
BELLO: What’s the biggest challenge so far that you’ve faced as an actor, and how did you overcome it?
I guess that would be on the set of Dear Edward in winter. I had to crawl, GI Joe style, through the plane debris while we were filming the pilot. It was footage to be used in a possible nightmare Edward has in later episodes. It was freezing out, as it was winter in upstate New York. The ground was hard and the dead grass was scratching my stomach. I overcame it by thinking about crawling through the warm sand on the beach. I just really concentrated on that and I felt warmer.
BELLO: How do you prepare for a role? Do you have any particular techniques or approaches that you use?
It really depends on the role and the scene, I guess. I find it helpful to journal from my character’s voice, what he’s thinking, feeling, and wanting. Sometimes creating more backstories for my character helps me, too, like what my earliest memory is or my favorite family vacation. When I go into a scene, I am thinking about what happens before the moment, and what my character’s want is in the scene, and then I wait to see what my scene partner will bring. I also use my AirPods to keep my headspace clean. Sets can be noisy and I love the crew, so sometimes I need to create a little distance.
BELLO: Tell us about a particularly memorable experience you’ve had while working on a set.
I remember the first time we filmed in Times Square for Dear Edward. We had a really early call time to try to beat the crowds. When people think of beautiful places, they usually mention the ocean, lakes, or other things in nature. New York City defies that. It was so beautiful–all the colors, lights, noises, and energy there. It has its own rhythm. People slowly started filling the space, going about their day. Eva Ariel Binder (Shay) and I had a scene where her character is overwhelmed by the place, as it was her first time there. Edward grew up there, so it’s not anything new to him. I took her hand and guided her through the crowd. It was ironic, because, in reality, I was a bit overwhelmed, too.
BELLO: What advice would you give aspiring actors just starting out in the industry?
I would advise them to get into the theater. Find a film school and audition for roles in student films. I love film shorts. If you like to write, write your own scenes and find someone to work with on them. I used to write my own monologues and tape myself, working on different characters. Self-taping can be a good way to work on your skills.
BELLO: You’re set to appear in the upcoming film “Wonka.” Can you give us any hints about your role or what we can expect from the movie?
I know it has a huge cast, and it is a musical. I play the child version of Wonka, so am young Timothée Chalamet in the film. Expect amazing chocolate. I ate so much chocolate one day that I got sick, lol. It was such a beautiful set. I’m really excited for the world to see it.
BELLO: Are there any other upcoming projects you’re particularly excited about?
I am hoping Dear Edward gets picked up for a second season as I’d love to see what they have planned for Edward and Shay and the other characters on the show. After that, I’ll have to audition again and hope another role as amazing as Edward comes my way.
An Apple Original series. Watch all episodes on Apple TV+
Photography Dean Bradshaw @deanbradshaw
Styling Michael Fusco @mikestyles
Grooming Carolina Ballesteros @carolinab_beauty
Production & Location Maison Privée x Bello Media Group Creative Space Sunset Boulevard