By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor
Like a lot of people, actor Brian Krause is a big fan of television and movies. He understands investing time and emotion into a program that speaks to you and means something to you on some level.
“I find myself all the time sitting down and binging something, like The Twilight Zone for hours. You grow an attachment to it,” says Krause, who himself was a star for eight seasons on Charmed, a cult classic that comes with multitudes of diehard fans. “That’s why I look forward to doing Comic Cons. I love seeing the enthusiasm of the fans when they get a chance to meet, whoever it is they came to meet. And for actors, it’s a chance for us to go face-to-face with our fans. It gives me the chills, actually.
“Plus,” he laughs, “it’s a huge ego boost. I come home and tell my agent, ‘people love me!’ I should be working more!”
Krause comes to Pittsburgh this weekend, Friday-Sunday, as part of Wizard World Comic Con. Besides Krause, his Charmed co-star Holly Marie Combs, will also appear as will American Pie actor Thomas Ian Nicholas, Samm Levine of Inglorious Basterds, Manny Sanguillen of the Pittsburgh Pirates and former ECW wrestlers Tommy Dreamer and Shane Douglas, among others. The show is headlined by actor Zachary Levi, who played the title character in DC Comics’ Shazam!, Fandral in Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, NBC’s Chuck and Amazon Prime’s breakout hit, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
While Krause jokes about working more, he has been employed as an actor since 1989. After doing commercial and guest starring roles on TV series, his big break came when he was cast opposite Mila Jovovich in Return to the Blue Lagoon, a sequel to the 1980 Brooke Shields film, Blue Lagoon. THat led to more roles including the lead role in Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers in 1992. He worked steady and in 1998, he moved to New York with his family for a role on the NBC soap opera, Another World. However, he was fired after six months and the show ended the next year.
“I definitely had my career ups and downs after that,” Krause says. “I did a movie of the week, a series called Bandit and Another World. After I lost that job, I moved back to L.A., I had a one-year-old and I’m auditioning but also working construction, working in a restaurant and even driving a pie truck to get by.”
In 1998, he went in to audition for YA series guru Aaron Spelling who was casting for a series featuring young witches called, Charmed. He took the day off work, without telling his wife, because she wouldn’t have approved of him missing out on the $100 the construction job paid. But Krause was confident. He had met Spelling before, auditioned for classic shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. He remembers being excited walking into Spelling’s “5,000-square-foot office with a giant couch that 20 people could sit on.
“I was going to walk in and when I went up to Aaron, I was going to tell him how great it was to see him. I mean I’d auditioned for the guy a million times before,” Krause says. “When I did, he answered, ‘Nice to meet you.’ At the moment, the culmination of being fired and working all of these jobs kicked in.
“‘Nice to meet me?’ I thought. I was instantly angry. I was like screw this, screw him, screw the struggle. That anger made me instantly change the way I auditioned. I let all that anger come out. When I finished, I looked at Aaron and I didn’t even say thank you. I just left. An hour later, they called and told me I had the part. It was a life-changing experience.”
Krause spent eight seasons on Charmed and has worked steady as an actor for the past 30 years.
“I have to say, I got lucky,” Krause says. “I’m going to eventually get a pension and retire as an actor. That was my goal; not to be famous, but to work my entire life as an actor. A lot of people come to Hollywood and don’t last that long because this business has a way of weeding out the people who aren’t cut out for it. It takes a long time to make it and you get rejected and beat down a lot. It takes its toll and those who make it are probably a little dead inside. But once you make it, the rewards are pretty great.”