Brian Krause on interactive storytelling and why ‘Charmed’ will always be popular

Brian Krause, best known as Leo on the original “Charmed”, is the epitome of a working actor. At the moment he’s got a whopping 115 credits to his name — plus turns as producer, actor, director, and writer. So it’s safe to say that he understands story, and what makes it work.

“I think [Charmed] is still popular today,” he told Scifi Imaginarium at Wizard World Pittsburg this past July, “because the storyline of being different, of sisterhood, sticking together, that if you do the right things that you’ll prevail, that family and togetherness are important… I think as a storyline that’s what keeps it alive. 

“But I think ultimately it comes down to Shannon [Doherty], Alissa [Milano], Holly [Marie Combs and] Rose [McGowan], who did such an amazing job. They’re easy to look at as well, but their chemistry on camera is unmatched,” he adds.  “I feel like we all watch TV to escape, and I think one thing our show was is that if you feel different, if you feel picked on, if you feel that life’s got you down, that our show is just that. The girls are different. They’ve been picked on. They don’t fit in. And so by togetherness, and hope, and doing the right thing, they prevail and I think that message resonates with a lot of our fans.”

Another thing that resonated with fans of the show was the relationship between Leo and Combs’ Piper. In fact, it was only the first time he would play someone who gave up immortality for love.  (The second time was when he played Cupid in 2010.) Why is this such a common theme?

“I think it’s a writer it’s an easy way to fall into it,” he explains. “What would you give up for love? Would you give up that dream job? Would you give up the money? There’s nothing that we could write strong enough. Would you give up a million dollars? Is that love? What would you give up? Would you give up immortality? I mean, it doesn’t get much bigger. So I think it’s a great way cinematically to be like, wow, this is how big their love is.”

But when it comes to story, that’s just one dimension. As technology progresses, new storytelling tools emerge every day, including Virtual Reality.

“I think virtual reality is going to reach a point of being in everybody’s everyday life, not just in entertainment, but in education. You’re going to see doctors, lawyers, technicians, people that make cars, using VR systems as training. Perhaps we’ll see it in our universities. When you take a history class and you’re learning about Rome, you throw this on, you walk through Rome, you touch it. It’s a great way to use it in education for all sorts of things. 

“Now in the entertainment world,” he continues, “it’s so immersive, and I really think the next step is being able to sit home be there be in it. If you watch Black Mirror, they’ve projected it to go so far. I mean it’s you’re in it, and I don’t think there’s anything that makes you feel as immersed in the surroundings as VR. Now in gaming, it’s all just growing. We’re in the infancy of it, so as an actor, I want to be a part of it. 

“I think we’ll see a whole new way of how to tell stories. Maybe you want to follow the liquor store clerk. You like that guy. Let’s follow him home. So I think you’ll be able to follow the character you want in different storylines, and go through the playground of the matrix of whatever it is and explore the entire realm, as opposed to just following one character. I think we’re kind of seeing that now, where you choose your ending on some of these new things. But I think in VR, why not? You’ll be able to follow this guy home, and then get in the car, and then go into his house.  I mean, it’s a huge task filming-wise, but I think that’s eventually where it’ll go. Let’s follow the dog home let’s see where it went.”