Brian adds “astronaut” to his growing list of upcoming film roles

{From Playbill.com and Deadline.com}

Brian d’Arcy James has added “astronaut” to his list of upcoming film roles. The three-time Tony nominee is currently filming the upcoming Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, directed by Damian Chazelle, who won an Oscar in 2017 for La La Land. Based on James R. Hansen’s book, First Man follows Armstrong’s journey to the moon. Brian will play Joseph A. Walker, Armstrong’s secondary boss, who flew the world’s first two spaceplane fights in 1963. Walker became the seventh man in space.

The feature will star Ryan Gosling as Armstrong, with Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin, Claire Foy as Janet Shearon, Jon Bernthal as Dave Scott, and Kyle Chandler as Deke Slayton. First Man hits theaters in October 2018.

D’Arcy James, who appeared on Broadway earlier this year in Hamilton (as King George—the role he originated in the Off-Broadway premiere), has a growing lineup of film projects on tap. He can also be seen in Molly’s Game this November, as well as the biopic Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White HouseCivil, 1992, and All These Small Moments.

In Sony Classics’ Watergate “Deep Throat” biopic Mark Felt, James plays Robert Kunkel, one of the FBI agents in Felt’s division. In Molly’s Game he’s a hedge fund poker player who assists Molly Bloom in raising her high stakes games. In addition, James has Netflix’s 1922 (began streaming on Oct. 10) and he’s busy filming season two of 13 Reasons Why. Joining him in the return of that drama will be Tony winner Kelli O’Hara; the two starred together in the 2002 Broadway musical Sweet Smell of Success.


» Playbill announcement
» Deadline announcement 
» Updates on this site about Brian’s films


Brian’s run in the 10/8 Chicago Marathon to raise money for the cancer support community

Brian and brother Andrew James after running the October 8, 2017, Chicago Marathon

Brian d’Arcy James took on the 26.2-mile-long challenge of the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 8 and raised money to support cancer patients and their loved ones served by the Cancer Support Community.

“Like most everyone, my life is touched by cancer. My father Tom James died of cancer at age 50 and my cousin Tom is currently fighting cancer,” said James. “This is why my brother Andrew and I ran the Chicago Marathon under the banner of TEAM TOM to benefit the Cancer Support Community. What makes CSC so wonderful to me is the wide approach they take to not only support patients who are dealing with diagnoses, but also the friends and family around them who are as well.”

All funds raised went to benefit the Cancer Support Community.

See Brian in these 2017 movies

In 2017, Brian completed a number of Hollywood and indie films. Full list below.

Video interview about 2017 projects:

PLAYBILL print article:
“Tony Nominee Brian d’Arcy James Talks His 7 Upcoming Films” »


MOLLY’S GAME  A dramatic film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, starring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, and Kevin Costner, among others. Read more about it »

Dec. 28, 2017 TODAY SHOW Interview:



MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE  Stars Liam Neeson as Mark Felt, the longtime FBI No. 2 man under J. Edgar Hoover who will go down in history as Deep Throat. Released by Sony Pictures Classics in September 2017. Read more about it »


REBEL IN THE RYE  Stars Nicholas Hoult as writer J.D. Salinger and Zoey Deutch as Oona O’Neill, with Kevin Spacey, Sarah Paulson, Hope Davis, and Brian, among others. Released in September 2017.


1922  Based on a 2010 novella by Stephen King, 1922 follows a man’s confession of his wife’s murder. The tale is told from the perspective of Wilfred James, the story’s unreliable narrator who admits to killing his wife, Arlette, with his son in Nebraska. But after he buries her body, his life begins to unravel and he becomes convinced his wife is haunting him. 1922 is written and directed by Zak Hilditch and stars Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Dylan Schmid, Neal McDonough, Kaitlyn Bernard, and Brian.

1922 comes from Netflix Original Feature Films on October 20, 2017.

TROUBLE   Playwright Theresa Rebeck directs Anjelica Huston, Bill Pullman, David Morse, and Brian, among others, in this dramedy, from her own original script.
Watch this exclusive Trouble video featuring Brian with Anjelica Huston and Bill Pullman »

SONG OF BACK AND NECK (announcement)

ALL THESE SMALL MOMENTS   Writer-director Melissa B. Miller Costanzo’s debut film, starring Brian, Molly Ringwald, Brendan Meyer and Jemima Kirke. The dramatic comedy follows teenager Howie’s (Meyer) infatuation with Odessa (Kirke), a woman he sees on the bus, which further complicates his already-tumultuous adolescence. Ringwald and James play Howie’s parents, whose already rocky relationship is on the verge of running its course.
Read more at The Hollywood Reporter »

Check back on this page for updates.

Appearing in Discovery Channel TV series “Manhunt: The UNABOMBER”

Airing August 1, Manhunt: The UNABOMBER is a Discovery Channel eight-episode special series centered on the hunt for Ted Kaczynski, who terrified the nation with a letter bombing campaign in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Brian will play Henry Murray, a professor of Kaczynski’s at Harvard University, who convinced his young students to participate in mind-control experiments supervised by the CIA. It’s believed that these sessions, which were psychologically brutal and lasted for almost a year, were responsible for effectively weaponizing Kaczynski.

The series also features Paul Bettany as Ted Kaczynski, Sam Worthington, Mark Duplass, Chris Noth, and Jane Lynch.

King George III in Hamilton

From April to July 2017, Brian reprised his role as King George III in HAMILTON at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. He originated the role of King George (“played with vaudevillian brilliance”—Ben BrantleyThe New York Times) in the sold-out Off-Broadway run of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical HAMILTON at The Public Theater.

» Read the June 2017 GQ feature “How Brian D’Arcy James Ended Up in All Your Favorite Projects (and Almost Killed a GQ Writer)”

» Brian tells Entertainment Weekly what it’s like returning to his regal role »

Starring in the hit Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”

Brian has a recurring role in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which began streaming March 2017, and is currently filming its second season. Based on the bestselling book by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why follows the aftermath of high school student Hannah Baker’s decision to end her life. Brian plays Andy Baker, Hannah’s father, with Kate Walsh co-starring as her mother. 13 Reasons Why comes from executive producers Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), Brian Yorkey (playwright of “Next to Normal“), Selena Gomez, Joy Gorman and Kristel Laiblin.

Watch the trailer:


Read the New York Times story about the beginning of the project:

“Selena Gomez (and Others) on Adapting ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ for Netflix”


April 3: MCC’s annual Miscast Benefit

MCC Theater’s annual Miscast gala is one of the most exciting and unique theater events in town. Broadway’s hottest stars perform songs from roles in which they would NEVER be cast.

Featuring performances by:
Tony Award® winner Annaleigh Ashford (Sunday in the Park, You Can’t Take It With You)
Tony Award® nominee Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos, 9 to 5)
Tony Award® winner Norbert Leo Butz (“Bloodline,” Catch Me If You Can)
Tony Award® nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (Shuffle Along, Hamilton)
Tony Award® winner Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton, The Color Purple)
Mandy Gonzalez (In The Heights, Hamilton)
Tony Award® winner Jennifer Holliday (Dreamgirls, The Color Purple)
Tony Award® nominee Brian D’Arcy James (Something Rotten!, Next to Normal)
Tony Award® winner Kelli O’Hara (The King and I, The Bridges of Madison County)
Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen, Pitch Perfect)
…and many more

Ticket Info

The story of my solo album “Michigan Christmas”

In 2004 I was invited for the second time to host a benefit for FNI (Field Neuroscience Institute) in my hometown of Saginaw, Michigan. It had been an honor to do it the first time and I wanted to somehow make the second performance stand out from the first.

The benefit was to occur in November so I came up with the idea of writing a holiday song for the event that I could dedicate to my hometown. I called it “Michigan Christmas” and it was a very simple, personal recollection of all the beautiful holidays I had spent with my family at home.

To make a long story short, I sang the song for the benefit that evening, and just like a scene from a movie, afterwards I was approached by a successful radio personality (also a family friend) in the area named Art Lewis. He came backstage and said, “Get me a recording of that song, and I’ll put it on the radio.” Having never heard such a proposition, I went back to NYC and excitedly did just that.

With the help from my good friend Dan Lipton, we recorded the first “single” version of Michigan Christmas and promptly sent it back to Art. In no time, I was receiving phone calls from family and friends saying that my song was on the air in time for the Christmas season.

With the success “Michigan Christmas” was receiving on the radio, I was emboldened to record my first album using that song as the cornerstone of the project. I did my own treatments of various classics like “White Christmas,” as well as wrote two more original songs for the album: the title track “From Christmas Eve to Christmas Morn” and “Santa Claus is Coming Tonight”).

It’s been an absolute thrill to receive comments and compliments from people all over the world communicating their response to THEIR own Michigan Christmas. For me, that’s the biggest and best gift all.

Performing “Michigan Christmas” at Carnegie Hall in 2015. (Click for video.)

Available on iTunes

My other recordings »

In “Flipper”’s footsteps

W. C. Fields is famously credited with this warning to all:  “Never work with children or animals.”

My Uncle Brian was more specific: “Never act with a fish.”

Let me explain. My namesake and my uncle, Brian Kelly, was an actor. He was a big reason why I do what I do today. He showed me that being an actor was not only possible, but also could be a viable profession. He gave me many tips and insights about the business I’m currently in, either explicitly or by example. However, the most memorable, if not best advice he offered was the aforementioned fish dictum.

Brian Kelly in Flipper

Acting with a fish (and kids)

My Uncle Brian’s biggest role was on the beloved ’60s TV show FLIPPER. You remember, the one with the dolphin? If you do remember, you’re my age or older. If you don’t remember, imagine a weekly show set in Florida where a dolphin helps a family get in and out of G-rated hijinks. You might even remember the show’s theme song… “They call him Flipper. Flipper. Faster than lightning…”  (Earworm. You’re welcome.) Uncle Brian was the father of a small family and his character’s name was Porter Ricks. I’m still not sure if “Porter” was some kind of seafaring title, or in fact, just a unique first name.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure my uncle loved his job. And truth be told, the quote I’ve ascribed to him may not have actually been uttered. But suffice to say, at the very least, I do recall a bemused eye roll suggesting more annoyance than affection when I asked him what it was like doing scenes with a dolphin. All the same FLIPPER was a huge break for him, made him a TV star and set him on a course for a film career and things beyond in the entertainment industry (later in his career he was pivotal in making the film BLADE RUNNER come to life and served as that cult classic’s executive producer).

I think of my Uncle Brian often and in fact, I’ve taken to bringing a rare movie poster of one of his spaghetti Westerns with me to whatever dressing room I inhabit if I’m lucky enough to be in a Broadway show. He’s always close that way.

My uncle died a few years ago. He was a very kind, very funny, and very headstrong individual. At his funeral in Marina del Ray, California, where he made his home, I was struck by a story that was told that I’d never heard before. It goes like this…

When Flipper was shooting in Miami, Jackie Gleason was in full Florida swing producing his own shows there. It’s said he moved his production there so he could be closer to the golf course. At any rate, it seems that Brian Kelly and Jackie Gleason crossed paths down there more than once. For, as the story goes, Gleason liked to proclaim: “If I’m the King of Miami then Brian Kelly is the Prince!”

I love that story. The Prince indeed.

I’m happy to say that I’ve followed Uncle Brian’s advice and have never acted with anything remotely aquatic. So far. However, if it became necessary and I was forced to defy my uncle’s professional directive… I think he’d give me a pass. He’d understand. He was an actor, too. Sometimes you have to act with a fish.



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