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Kyle stars as "Philip Kiriakis" on NBC's soap opera "Days Of Our Lives". Although widely recognized from his appearance on MTV's successful Real World: Chicago, Brandt's first acting job was as "the King" in his fourth-grade production of The King and I. Growing up he did some print and commercial modeling, thanks to the help of his industry related parents; his mom was a successful commercial actress and dad an advertising executive. After high school, tired of living the stereotype and lifestyle of "jock," he dived into a basic freshman acting class in college and found it really turned him on to the idea of being an actor. Brandt graduated from Princeton University where he was a member and officer of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and played 4 years of football for the Tigers as a running back. During his college summers Brandt equally divided his time training for football and honing his acting skills. He participated in summer theatre programs at Northwestern University, Chicago's famed Second City and the NY Film Academy. Brandt defines his dual personality those days saying, "I was definitely leading a double life those summers; it was amazingly fun!" Brandt was born in Hinsdale but grew up in Indianhead Park and Lincolnshire, all northern suburbs of Chicago. Brandt currently lives in Los Angeles and enjoys movies, all types of music and working out. He also plays on a basketball league twice a week. Kyle was born on January 24, 1979, in Illinois.
One on One with Kyle Brandt
Ah, young love. As much as we'd like it to be, it really never is simple. There are all those raging hormones, other young hotties to turn your head and, in the case of Belle and Philip, another love who shows up to wreak havoc and cause second thoughts. But that hasn't stopped these two from getting engaged. He popped the question and, after giving it a modicum of thought, she accepted. We sat down with Kyle Brandt and Martha Madison to find out what they thought about this turn of events, how it happened and whether Shawn might continue to cause problems.
Q: So, Belle and Philip are engaged. How do you think all those Shelle fans are going to react?
Kyle_Brandt: I do a lot of fan events and the Philip/Belle thing is nothing new. It really started when I came on the show, a year and a half ago. I don't know what fans can even make of it, just because the show's been such a roller coaster recently, particularly in the way Shawn has been acting. If you're really some sort of loyalist and you subscribe to the "they'll end up together somehow" theory, you won't like it. But I think maybe some of them have kind of jumped ship, just because how do you pair back up a couple where he has called her such terrible names? They're the verbal equivalent of hitting someone. If you're someone who really likes the character of Belle, I don't know how you can not kind of want her to be with Philip, just because he's been so upstanding and pure and true all the time. It's difficult to gauge the fan reaction. I know the "Phelle" fans are a growing army. They come out of the woodwork when I go out.
Q: Lucas and Sami got the big blow-out proposal, while yours was pretty low-key. Did you like it that way?
Kyle_Brandt: It certainly wasn't the most romantic proposal. I remember standing there with Martha when we were about to do the scene. We were like "wow, we're at Alice's!" There was literally ketchup and mustard right behind us. Fry baskets and things like that. So it wasn't your typical soap proposal and it was nowhere near as romantic as When A Man Loves A Woman. You could smell the deep fryers! It was still fun to do.
Q: Guys don't normally think about things like this, but have you considered what your dream wedding would be?
Kyle_Brandt: I think guys think more about how they would propose. I've thought about that, a fair amount actually. I don't want to spring it on her. You've got to be prepared and have a lot of understanding between each other where you pretty much know it's going to happen. At the same time, I want it to be a surprise. In terms of the actual delivery, I'll probably do something pretty dramatic. I really like big productions and surprises and things. I know the one thing I won't do -- I'm not going to do it in a restaurant. It can be very sweet, but if you don't pull it off it could be pretty strange and awkward and there are strangers everywhere. I know a lot of people have done that, but I want to do something that's very picturesque. I haven't planned it completely yet, but I've got plenty of time.
Q: Do you enjoy playing this kind of "love triangle" between Shawn, Belle and Philip?
Kyle_Brandt: Sometimes I do. From a work perspective I like it, because it lets Jason (Cook, Shawn) and I butt heads and I like doing that with him. Sometimes I think at least for my character's sake it would be nice if it wasn't a triangle but rather just a union. There have been so many times when I've been doing these scenes where I wish I could just go in and slap Philip around! Wake up! He's just in ignorant bliss. It's kind of frustrating because sometimes I feel like he's just really being played to be the sucker in this whole thing and if he could see what other people can see, it would probably be an eye-opening experience. I don't know. To hear some people say it, he's headed for heartbreak inevitably, but I'm trying to keep the faith.
Q: Philip does sometimes get to stand up for himself.
Kyle_Brandt: We played some scenes last week where Philip was able to have some backbone. He walked in on Belle and Shawn and said "you have to choose or I'm leaving." It was great because I never get to do that. I'm always like "don't worry, it's okay, I'm here." It felt very liberating to actually put my foot down because I don't ever get to do that. Philip's usually either so oblivious or just so melting for Belle that whatever she wants to do is fine. It's good a lot of times because it's very sweet, but it can only go so far. You've got to put your foot down eventually.
Q: You've got to wonder whether Philip and Shawn will ever be able to repair their friendship.
Kyle_Brandt: They just put in a lot of specific dialogue about that. Philip will say "to hell with him. I couldn't care less about him." The Philip and Shawn friendship has never really been a smooth one. If you mirror it to some of the "grown-up" storylines on the show, like if you look at the relationship of someone like Bo and John, Bo and Roman, John and Roman, they've been all over the place. But then, here's John and Roman on the raft right now together. I have a feeling that Shawn and Philip will mend fences at some point. Believe me, Shawn and Philip will be on a raft sometime in the future, too! After some new Captive Island.
Q: Does it feel like maybe Philip is rushing this whole thing?
Kyle_Brandt: It's interesting because he might've been a little quick to propose, but then she was the one who, despite what her motivations really were, said "let's get married now, before you leave." There's that whole aspect where he's leaving for war and he's saying "I guess we'll have to postpone our wedding," but she wants to do it right away. The interesting part is when I look back to last year when I went on the USO tour, we met these kids who seemed like they were just out of braces. They were eighteen and over there and they all had a wife at home and two kids. I think that's part of that lifestyle. The concept of Belle and Philip getting married before he leaves, I think that's very indicative of the military mindset. You don't know what you're future is going to be, you don't know if you're going to have a future, so you want to get some stability. I think people in the military are usually very quick to settle down. If that has anything to do with the thought that went into the story, then I can understand that. We also have to remember that people have been being murdered, left and right. They've had moments where Philip will say "you lost your mom, I lost my dad, no one understands what we're going through." There's a unique bond in that. If you've both suffered the same kind of loss, you're drawn to each other. You want to find comfort and sometimes make that a permanent thing. There are a lot of reasons for them to be drawn to each other.
Q: What makes Belle the perfect girl for Philip?
Kyle_Brandt: I always give this explanation. People ask "do you think Belle and Shawn are made for each other?" The explanation I've given a hundred times is that everyone thinks Bo and Hope are the perfect couple. They're meant to be, they're this uber-couple. Shawn is exactly like Bo. He's reckless, off the handle, does what he wants. But Belle is nothing like Hope. Belle is more like Marlena. I think, since Shawn is like Bo, he needs someone like Hope. She's adventurous, this police officer/bounty hunter. Neither Marlena nor Belle are anything like that. I think from Belle's perspective, she needs someone more reliable, more dependable, maybe more conservative. I think Philip, particularly with the lifestyle and career he's heading towards, is about order and being settled down. It's a very regimented kind of life. You can't just go off on your motorcycle and on binges and things like that. I think in terms of depending on each other and domesticity and parenting, Philip and Belle are really right on par.
Q: If they make it down the aisle, do you think Philip and Belle could turn into a "super-couple?"
Kyle_Brandt: They all will with somebody. Belle will with somebody, Shawn and Philip will with somebody. It's just that Belle only will with one of the two of them. For all we know it will be somebody else. Bottom line is that Belle will get married and have kids with either Shawn or Philip and the other one will either be wishing that he was with her or he'll be with somebody else. He'll probably be wishing he was with her!