Kevin Bigley began his acting career in San Francisco, which led him to studying theater in Chicago, and then over to LA. He was urged to move out to LA by none other than his colleague, Vince Vaughn. Kevin currently plays Brian Czyk, an impressionable and eager EMT on the USA Network comedy series, Sirens. Developed by Denis Leary and Bob Fisher, Sirens follows the ridiculous antics of Brian (Kevin Bigley), Hank (Kevin Daniels), and Johnny (Michael Mosley) both on and off the clock. Kevin and I discussed working with the Sirens cast, life lessons from Vince Vaughn, and even some of his favorite bands.
Alex Obert: In the early stages of Sirens, what was it like when you met Michael Mosley and Kevin Daniels?
Kevin Bigley: I ended up getting cast before them, actually. I was the only one who tested for Brian, which doesn’t mean that I had it. I did apparently because Bob Fisher told me that he had casted me in his mind, but I didn’t know that. It was me and Jess, we were testing. We ended up getting the parts, but they were like, “We don’t have a Johnny and we don’t have a Hank yet. We’re gonna have you come in and chemistry read with a couple people, actors auditioning for the part.” And Mosley was one of them, as was Kev. I immediately liked them, there was a really nice tempo with them. They were both really good and really funny. And then they booked them the same day along with a press release. It’s like, “Holy shit! The show’s actually gonna happen.” Now we have everybody cast. Kevin Daniels sent me a Facebook message being like, “I think we’re in a television show together.” (laughs) So I called him and talked to him about how pumped I was. And then when we all got over to Chicago, we became really fast friends during the pilot. We just went out and had some drinks late at night, so it was fun, a good time.
Alex Obert: How do you get along with the supporting cast?
Kevin Bigley: Supporting cast is great because a lot of them are Chicago people. I went to college there and spent a year working at some of the theaters there. Although it’s changed a little bit, I have a decent finger on the pulse so I could talk about certain actors and theaters. Somebody was telling me that they were working on a certain play at a certain theater. I would most likely know what they were working on, so we could talk about it, which was cool. They were definitely welcomed into the family. We would go out with them. We did a thing where we would get canvas back chairs (director’s chairs) for people and it started with a prank that we did on Mosley for his birthday. We got him a canvas back chair that was inscribed “TV’s Michael Mosley”, which he thought was really funny. And then we did it to Kevin and it said “Juilliard’s Kevin Daniels”. And then to me, because I hadn’t really done much until now, it was “Blank’s Kevin Bigley”. There was nothing for Kevin Bigley. We would fuck around with each other on that and we ended up doing that for everybody else too. I thought it was a fun set for guest star people to be on because I think everybody was very welcoming.
Alex Obert: With Mike and Kevin, what was it like filming the In Case of Emergency videos for the Sirens website?
Kevin Bigley: That was fun, that was really fun! What was cool about that was that we had some stuff that we got to say, but we have a lot of flexibility to do our own thing,We would also ad-lib on the show. With In Case of Emergency, we had a lot of opportunity to do that. The weirdest thing about it probably was we were out of those uniforms for about four months, so it was really cool to go back and be the characters again. So that was a lot of fun.
Alex Obert: What was your favorite question to answer?
Kevin Bigley: I really like the swimming question where I described caloric intake. I don’t know which one they used, but there’s this one really cool take that I thought was really funny. Brian goes from describing calorie intake to the intricacies of swimming and the Olympic swimmer technique. He just fully rambled and trailed off.
Alex Obert: I understand you are aware of Michael’s role on Scrubs.
Kevin Bigley: Michael’s been around. He’s just definitely the veteran. Kevin, of course, has worked a lot too, but Mosley’s been on a few series. I always pick his brain about stuff. On the pilot, I actually memorized his IMDB to mess with him, all of his resume. (laughs) And when we were standing around or something with Mosley there along with the crew, I’d go, “Come on guys! This isn’t how it was on Scrubs!” He thought that was good stuff. And then I tried getting more obscure and picking movies that he’s done, little bits and pieces. Like, “Come on! This guy was in 27 Dresses! We’ve gotta pick it up!” And every time, I would get a certain reaction from Mosley. He was like, “Really? Come on!” And I’d be like, “Tell me about it. What was it like on The Proposal?” I liked to mess with Mosley. Mosley also likes to mess with everybody else. The Scrubs stuff is great, he’s done a lot of stuff.
Alex Obert: With your role on Sirens, how do you feel you and Brian are alike?
Kevin Bigley: I think Brian is a child of my friends and I in college with his sense of humor, what we thought was funny. He’s a concentrated version of me and my friends screwing around in college. I think there’s shades of me in there of course. My fiancee would probably say more than I’d like to admit. I think we’re alike in some ways.
Alex Obert: One of your biggest mentors is Vince Vaughn, what is some great advice you received from him?
Kevin Bigley: Working with Vince was really cool. He was a really great director. He did this thing that I thought was really cool where we would have these meetings for three or four hours in this room at The Drake, a hotel in Chicago. He would sit us down and we would talk and we’d talk about the script and read through it and stuff, but a lot of times he would just talk and what he was doing, which I didn’t realize at the time, he was breaking down the whole Vince Vaughn thing. He was being real personable. I was completely starstruck because this was a guy that I’ve always respected and idolized. But it was really cool to kind of break down that wall. So when he was on set and you were working your way through a scene between setups, he would take you outside and just tell you a story about Swingers or something. (laughs) Really cool. He’s incredibly intelligent as well. And then he ended up fighting for me to get a small part in The Dilemma. I got to meet Ron Howard. And then Vince gave us advice about moving out to LA, once I decided to, he was like, “Great! I’ll give you some advice about Los Angeles. Number one, don’t compare cities. Chicago and LA are completely different. Don’t compare, Chicago’s always gonna win. Number two, your first year sucks. You’re gonna absolutely hate it.” And he was completely right about both of them.
When we moved here, we had nothing. Our apartment was a roller rink, just a big hardwood floor with no furniture or anything. We had two chairs and a TV on the floor. (laughs) It was so depressing! I came home one day, I was working catering, I went from working a Vince Vaughn pilot to working catering for Jerry Springer’s new show on the Game Show Network called Baggage. It was a nice little reality check. When I got home, I saw on the wall, my fiancee, girlfriend at the time, put up a framed cutout of Vince’s words. (laughs) We had it up there for two years. 1. Don’t Compare. 2. Your first year sucks. You’re gonna absolutely hate it. – Vince Vaughn
Alex Obert: Getting into music for a bit, what is the best concert you ever attended?
Kevin Bigley: I really like The Orwells. They’re buddies of ours. I got to go to a house party to watch ’em play. That was really cool. It was very Hollywood. (laughs) It was really cool to be up in Hollywood Hills watching them play there. It was pretty sweet.
Alex Obert: What are your go-to karaoke songs?
Kevin Bigley: It’s always Rat Pack, like That’s Life, I’ll do that. Or I’ll even go Eagles, like Desperado. But usually I like bringing the mood down, something somber, something really somber and depressing. I really like to be a buzzkill when it comes to karaoke.
Alex Obert: If you could license any song to use on Sirens, which would it be?
Kevin Bigley: Bob Fisher’s such a music aficionado, that guy knows so much about music. They had the soundtrack for the pilot when they were screening it, he had taken the Rolling Stones song, Emotional Rescue, with that heavy bass line and put it in. I thought it was so cool, it fit the show so well. But of course, a Rolling Stones song is astronomical in price to have as your theme song. But it was really cool, hearing the thumping of the bass in that song, I still think of the pilot.
Alex Obert: Regarding tomorrow night’s episode of Sirens, how would you describe it in three words?
Kevin Bigley: A little different. It’s just a little different. It’s more about the job. So people who see the exploits of the characters and the sitcom stuff that we kind of accomplished in the other episodes will watch this one and they’ll see that it’s a lot more about what it’s really like to be an EMT. It’s about how things on that job can all be crazy and laughs and fun and then all of a sudden, something serious is gonna happen at the drop of a hat and everything turns upside down. And as you watch it, it justifies the kookiness and the humor throughout the rest of the series and it shows how it’s a coping mechanism. When somebody gets hurt and you see the big tragedies in life, it justifies the stupid shit. (laughs)
Alex Obert: I’d like to thank you so much for your time!
Kevin Bigley: Thanks Alex! I appreciate it, man!