When a local theater critic cited 19-year-old Brian J. Smith as “a young actor going places,” probably no one could have predicted how far. Since that performance at Collin College in 2002, the Dallas native has gone on to lead roles that have taken him around the world—literally. This fall, he was in Budapest shooting Treadstone, a USA Network series based on the popular Jason Bourne franchise, which debuts Oct. 15. Smith also filmed World on Fire, a BBC/PBS series airing this fall that looks at World War II through the eyes of ordinary people. “I play a doctor who flees Texas for Paris to work in an American hospital. He not only falls in love with the city, but for the first time, discovers romantic love.”
He likens the character’s experience to his own, growing up in suburban Allen in the ’80s and ’90s. “I never fit in. Even as a little kid, I had a flair for the dramatic.” A turning point was discovering Constantin Stanislavski’s book An Actor Prepares in the high school library. “I learned acting was something I could study.”
Since graduating from Juilliard in 2007, Smith has compiled a lengthy list of film and television credits. Yet he says his career-defining role was playing the Gentleman Caller in the Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie. “It was like lightning in a bottle,” he says. “I felt seamlessly integrated into the character.” On the horizon? Additional seasons of Treadstone and an eventual return to the stage.