Jonny Gries (Broots) has something he wanted to say to all of the fans about The Pretender – the show, the Novels, the continuing story – why it’s important and what makes it so special.
I just want to say thanks to all the fans who really stuck with the show. Steve and Craig have been digging around and trying to revise this amazing thing that we call the Pretender and we’re helping them by all of us – not just you, but the cast too – we’re all giving them our inspiration because of our involvement and our love of this story. And of course these guys, it’s like growing out of their ears, they know it so well, but you know they just have to put Broots more in the show. It’s all about Broots.
TPD: How did Broots end up working for the Centre? Did he realize who they were and what they did? Jon: No, he had no idea what he was getting himself into when he got the job. He just knew that he was qualified. His skills, his computer skills, were gonna get him a good position but he really didn’t know. He had no clue. And then there’s a follow up to that I think. TPD: And how do you consider that to have affected his conscience and morals? Jon: Well I think it made him quite a bit more cynical about the world. That the things that he thought were going to be, were pillars in society, I think he started to question everything, he started to realize, “hey, you know, I’m not a conspiracy theorist but maybe there is a conspiracy.”
Fan Patti asks about Broots working at the Centre.
TPD: Patti asks I want to know why Broots worked at the Centre. Did he know what they were about when he started working there? Jon: Patti, that’s a good question because that’s one that I’ve always, that’s one of the most predominant questions whenever I delved into Broots’ character, he should have known when they asked him if he has any relatives living on his employment sheet that there might have been something wrong with… He had no idea what he was getting himself into. And once he found himself there, he really was more afraid to leave than to stay.
Was Broots on Jarod’s or Miss Parker’s side?
TPD: This question comes from Vicky Ponty. We know whose side Broots was on, but what about you? Team Parker or Team Jarod? Jon: That’s a really tough question and I don’t know if I can really answer that because I think I always felt, I always felt that Broots was pretty aware that Miss Parker was actually on Jarod’s side but was not able to express that. I think that there was a lot of pressure on Miss Parker that we, all in the Centre, were not quite as aware of but she had to play a role. I always felt that, I always felt she was playing a role and I always felt that there was going to be a moment where I would turn to her and say “come on, we’ve got to help this guy.” But it never could happen.
Did you make up a backstory for Broots?
tPd: Did you mentally developed a backstory for Broots or did you just go with the script? Jon: Well, I emotionally developed a backstory for Broots, not mentally. No, just kidding. Yeah, I did, I actually did. I always try to develop a history for every character I play. You have to figure what are the circumstances which lead up to where that character is in time that we find the character in any stories. So, yeah, you always have to build a story and that’s part part and parcel to building my relationships with other characters. So yes, there’s a history.
What were your favorite episodes?
tPd: What was your favorite episode on the Pretender to film in particular? Jon: Well, I, you know, my sentimental favorite was the first episode that I ever did and I can’t… It wasn’t Curious Jarod… Every Picture Tells a Story, that was it, because that was the beginning and I knew right away when I came on the set. And the relationship with Andrea Parker, that plays Miss Parker, was immediate and i felt like it clicked and it was like “I’m gonna be here for a while.” I just felt that. So sentimentally, that one. But I think that Cold Dick was a lot of fun. I like the idea of having the story get twisted up like that and I like playing with different realities, I love those kind of things. And I can’t remember the episode where there was the second Pretender, but it was the one where I had the spoon as the weapon.
ThePretenderDaughter asks Jon what is Broots’s first name?
tPd: And this question comes from Judy, who wants to know what the heck is your first name? On the Pretender that is. We know your name is Jon. Jon: I’m not allowed to give that out. I’m not allowed to give… Broots is a code name. I can’t give it out. tPd: What letter does it start with? Jon: I can’t even tell you. tPd: Do you know? Jon: I do. tPd: Fine.
ThePretenderDaughter asks Jon Gries about his fondest Pretender memories.
tPd: What is your all time fondest memory from working on the Pretender? Jon: There’s… I mean… Gosh that’s a hard question, you know one memory… I think that there’s every aspect of every day there was something, everyday working, whether it was Patrick Bauchau wandering around and kind of musing to himself and disappearing and everybody went “Where did Patrick go?” And you know, invariably, you would find him just walking around and drinking a cup of coffee looking at things and kind of humming to himself. It always made me really happy cause you knew, you kinda knew he wasn’t going to be too far off. He never wandered too far but wandered to a place where no one would think of wandering… and he wasn’t like he would go to craft service. That would be kinda in the way, on the way wherever he was going. And just getting the cast together and all of us sitting around. And we do these crossover shows, where actors would come over from other shows on NBC and they would say “this is such friendly, warm, loving environment and we don’t have that on our show” – and I won’t mention which show. But they were not. They were like “This is unreal. How is it so nice? Why is everybody getting along so well?” So I’m looking over to Steven Long Mitchell over there and just so you know.
ThePretenderDaughter asks: Which actor did you prefer to work with?
tPd: Was it easier to play opposite Miss Parker, Mr Lyle or Jarod? Jon: Clearly, no offense to Mr Lyle and no offense to Jarod, but hands down it was easier, always easier to play against Miss Parker. tPd: And why is that? Jon: Well, she is very lovely and, even though she would be mean to me, it would give me something to play of because Broots liked it. Anyway, but the thing is that heterosexually and Mr Lyle although he is a handsome dude and Jarod is a handsome dude and a nice guy to me, I always really liked playing against Miss Parker because I never knew what I was gonna get. She always surprised me.
The Pretender Lives: ThePretenderDaughter asks Jon Gries Questions #10
tPd: While filming the Pretender who messed up their lines the most? Jon: I would say, I mean, I don’t know who messed up their lines the most but who was the most interesting to work with because he was not certain always of what was going on, and sometimes to his credit we would be shooting two episodes at once and sometimes we would be bouncing back and forth between the two, so Patrick Bauchau sometimes would very candidly be standing there on the set, we all would be ready to do it, just about to go and he turned and go, “So, what are we doing here? What is this? What do I say?” And we would go laughing at him because he would just come from the other episode, he just be shooting, but he would wait to the last second to finally go “And what are we doing this particular moment? Oh ok…” Or he would say something from the other episode and it’d be a little wrong. “No, no Patrick. You can’t say that because the other episode is after this episode and you’re giving away information that we can’t give in this episode” and he would go “Oh really? Oh, ok…”
Fan Jenjen, asks Jon to explain the character development for Broots.
tPd: JenJen asks what kind of work did you put into Broots’ character development?
Jon: I would say, with respect to Broots, it was a different experience for me as far as building a character. One- it was an ongoing thing so there was a constant evolution but I would say, more than usual in the past when I arrived, since I’ve been creating characters, it was really centered specifically in the relationships with the cast, because I, you know, there was so much hidden, there was so much that wasn’t there, that I needed to fill in those blanks and I certainly wasn’t getting all the answers from Steven Long Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle. So I had to do a little bit of my own imagination building the relationships. Interesting stories I could tell… Maybe…
Fan question 2
Q: Johnny, Miss Parker was always bullying you on the set, so I’m wondering if Andrea Parker intimidates you in real life. Jon: Kim, Miss Parker wasn’t bullying me on set, that was part of our relationship. Is that what being in an abusive relationship is like because I thought she loved me.
Jon Gries tells Julie secrets about why Broots stayed at the Centre
Julie: Hi guys, I have 2 questions for Broots. What is the story of Broots before he arrives at the Centre and why does he want to stay in the Centre. Bye. Jon: Julie, au revoir! Why? First I’m going to answer the second question. Why did Broots stay? Because Broots was afraid to leave, but then in time I think he thinks he is going to fix the place. He is going to make the place right, he has the power inside to make the place right ’cause he knows everything. He is also afraid to leave as I said. The part about Broots that lead to him getting into the Centre. He used to have special clearance in the military but he left to go work for private entities because that meant he was going to get paid more money. Unfortunately, he chose the Centre.
Was Broots the brains behind the Centre?
Q: Hey Johnny, was Broots really the brains behind the Centre? Jon: Coby, come on! Don’t ask me that question. Of course! Of course! They all had to come to him. That’s the number one clue. Everybody came to Broots. At the end of the day, Miss Parker came to Broots, Mr. Parker came to Broots, everybody came to Broots.
Jon Gries tells about the ‘Secret Meetings’ with the producers.
Brian: Hey Jon, it’s Brian here. I was wondering if you could tell us about the secret meetings that you’ve had with the producers. Jon: The secret meetings with the producers were incredible because it would usually revolve around where we were gonna go for lunch and what we were gonna eat. And whether or not I was gonna drive or somebody else was gonna drive. It was secret meetings.
Laurette asks if Jon has read The Pretender novels?
Laurette: Hi, I hope you’re all doing well. I want to take a moment to thank all of you to do this, as we are probably the luckiest fans in the world. Now I have a question for you Jon. How do you feel about the Rebirth of the Pretender? And have you read the book? Jon: Au revoir Laurette. It’s Jon. I’m gonna answer your question. I have read the book and I’m very excited about the Rebirth of the Pretender, particularly because Broots is going to play prominently. Even though he is not in the first book. It’s ok, I understand. I understand… you have to slow play these things, build them slowly. And then when they finally get there… oh yeah, it’s going to be good. So yes I did very much enjoyed the book and thank you for your question.
CVS: On January Saturday 18th we will do a first of a series of live chats at thepretenderlives.com. SLM: We’ll be starting at 2 pm Los Angeles time and we’re gonna have a special guest with us this year for our first chat and his name is Mr. Jonny Gries. Jon: Mr. Lyle does that? Oh hi! And listen if you have any questions or any emails you can send them along to the: All: email@example.com SLM: Or if you have questions or if you want to send a question video you can send it to All: firstname.lastname@example.org Jon: thepretenderlives.com SLM/CVS: See you there!
The Pretender Lives: ‘The Three Wise Pretenders’
SLM: What? Jon: Hi. I just wanna know is Broots ever coming back? SLM: Oh yeah. Tell him when, Craig. CVS: Shh. Soon. SLM: I told you. Jon: This is a script they gave me to say stuff. I want you guys to ask some questions because they are not going to tell me anything. They don’t tell me anything. So we have to work together. I wanna know about Miss Parker and Jarod. Do they ever… you know what I mean? I wanna know. What Sydney’s real name? Is Sydney related to Miss Parker? I mean, what am I doing here? How did I get in this place? I wanna know. I wanna know. We need answers. I want answers now and you guys gotta help me, because I’m gonna be staying between these guys and it’s like hanging out in the CIA or something. They don’t tell me anything. I’m not even in the book!
The Pretender Lives: Chat With Mr. Broots 2
CVS: On Saturday January 18th, we will be doing the first of a series of live chats at 2 pm Pacific time at thepretenderlives.com. SLM: And we’ve got a very special guest star join us for this chat. We hope you will come and say hello to him. I think you remember who he is. Jon: I just have one question. Where the hell is Broots in this thing? SLM: Oh he is coming. Don’t worry! CVS: He is going to be there. Jon: Yeah, really? SLM: Oh yeah. Jon: I’ll tell you what. I wanna know. You’re dang right he is coming. I’m gonna make sure of it. SLM: Do you want to know when? Jon: Yeah. SLM: We’ll tell you. It’s soon. CVS: Between now and never. Jon: Yeah, between now and never. That’s great. That makes me really happy. Makes me feel like I was really important to this show. You know something? I’m gonna find out when and so are these people when they join our video chat.
The Pretender Lives ‘and another thing’
Jon: And another thing. What ever happened to Baby Parker? I mean that’s a pretty big mystery… Hey guys. CVS: How’d it go? Jon: It was great! SLM: You want to do more of these? Jon: I just went off book a little bit. I just thought I’d… you, know, pretty good stuff. SLM: You didn’t tell them anything, did you? Jon: No. SLM: Ok, cool. Alright, so… Jon: About that chat, it’s January 18 at 2 pm Los Angeles time at thepretenderlives.com. Helpdesk. SLM: Great! So you’re gonna be there right? Jon: The helpdesk. SLM: That’s all he answers. Helpdesk. So send your questions there.
The Pretender Lives: Vania will be at the chat, will you?
Jon: Vania. How have you been? It’s been so long. I missed you.
The Pretender Lives: The Post it Note
CVS: So what’s the problem? Jon: I want to know why am I not in this. SLM: You’re gonna be in this. Not in this one. Jon: No, but why? CVS: You weren’t in the pilot. It’s book one. SLM: We’re sort of following… Jon: But we’ve already lived the whole thing. Why do we need to go back to the beginning again? SLM: No no no, you’re missing the point. Jon: No, you’re missing the point. I should be in this! SLM: Technically, you should have been in it, but … Jon:I mean, I wasn’t in the first episode but then you ended up putting me in the … CVS: It was the lawyers. SLM: The lawyers! It was out of our hands. Jon: The lawyers! CVS: You know, the lawyers! SLM: Did you see the post it note? It says Broots on it, so you’re in the book. Jon: I’m in the book in a post it note.
The Pretender Lives : Global Fandom #1
Jon: The chat begins at 2 pm LA time. SLM: For Karen Redling in North Carolina that’s 5 pm. Jon: For Nathalie, Rym, Vicky, the Delphines, because we have 2 Delphines in France and Erica in Luxembourg that is 11 pm. Eleven. CVS: And I’m told that Erica and Nathalie can’t get hold their tongues, SLM: Oh, it’s true. CVS: So we’re expecting a lot of video questions from you. SLM: A lot of video. Jon: We like that. SLM: See you then. Bye.
The Pretender Lives: Global Fandom #2
Jon: For Carlos Coto the genius behind Not Even a Mouse and Cold Dick, I mean the episode Cold Dick… SLM: And for Leland Orser that played Argyle was probably one of our favorite guest stars of all time. Jon: and he is right around the corner from here. SLM: There will be 2 pm on the 18th. CVS: And for Miss Kiss My Grits in Nashville and Miss Karen in Georgia that’s 4 pm Jon: Hi all. And for Julie and Laurette in France that would be 10 pm. SLM: For Kris Russel in Belgium and Chekoye in Nigeria it’s 11 pm. Jon: Enchanté. CVS: See you there.
The Pretender Lives: Global Fandom #3
Jon: For Jenna Busch in LA and Bonnie Burton in San Fran it’s 2 pm. I dig their work and their sites. CVS: For Miss SL 27 in Italy that’s 11 pm your time. We hope you’ll stay hope to watch it. SLM: For Zinelan in the Philippines it’s 6am Sunday on the 29th. Jon: 6am on Sunday. Who is next? For Janie, Jane in Brisbane, it’s going to be 10 am on the 29th. I love her writing too. SLM: So do I. CVS: Me too. Jon: We love you Janie. SLM: Bye.
The Pretender Lives: Keyser Soze
I just read this and I’ve got questions and so January 18th at 2 pm LA time we’re gonna have a chat, Steve Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle at the email@example.com and if you have any questions or any videos asking those questions send them cause I’ll be there and I’m going to prod them, because these guys skirt everything! There are always adding more mystery. I want answers. Why isn’t Broots in this book? What’s he gonna do? Is he Keyser Soze? He might be.
The Pretender Lives: Global Fandom #4
SLM: In LA the chat begins at 2 pm Jon: And for Kris Thompson, the pop culture hound of London, that would be 10 pm. SLM: For Soumaya in Algeria that’s 11 pm. Jon: An hour later. CVS: And our friend Adam, who is always living in the present, the time is now. Jon: That’s right! SLM: And what about our friends… Jon: At Another Man’s Gun, our friends. SLM: What are our friends’ names? CVS: Another Man’s Gun. SLM: That’s not their names. But they are from Another Man’s Gun and we’d like you to join us and ask as many questions as you like as well. CVS: See you there.
SLM: Do you want to go grab a bite or something? Jon: Yeah, yeah… That’s a good idea. I don’t want to believe it. I mean, why am I not in this? SLM: Jonny… Jon: I mean, I was Broots for a long time. CVS: Yeah you are our guy. SLM: You’re our best guy. Jon: I haven’t lost that much hair since then. SLM: No, no, no. Jon: I’m a hard working man. I’m a workman. SLM: You are. No one was ever a better workman on the show and we think… look in one of the fu… in an upcoming book. How is that? Jon: In an upcoming book? SLM/CVS: Yeah. Jon: In an upcoming book? That’s pretty ambiguous. That’s as ambiguous as the show. In an upcoming book he is going to be appearing. That could be like 4 books down the road! CVS: Four? Come on. SLM: Four’s a long time! CVS: Jon: Raines is in this. SLM: No Raines isn’t in here. He is not in here. Jon: Well don’t tell him that, he is going to go crazy. I thought I read Raines. SLM: No, we’ve got a better bad guy. But listen that’s not the issue. Jon: You guys are so cold. He poured his blood out on the stage. SLM: He is coming in a future book as well, right? CVS: Let’s talk … for a second. You’re safely in by then. SLM: Yeah. CVS: Guaranteed. Jon: I hope you guys enjoy your meal. You can keep this. I don’t want this. I’m not even in it, so I don’t need it. SLM: Jonny, Jonny! This was number one. Number two’s coming. Number ten’s coming too! Jon: I’m a hard worker. I’m a hard working guy. I am a work man. I don’t know about tacos today, guys. I mean, I dunno. CVS: Is this thing safe? We don’t want you to get lost. SLM: It smells like someone died in here. Jon: I’m going home, I’ve got to think about things. SLM: He was always touchy.