Arts & Culture News

Dallas Actor Scoot McNairy Takes a Light Turn as a Love Interest to Anna Kendrick in Love Life

Zach Dilgard
Scoot McNairy, who has starred in movies such as 12 Years a Slave, is now playing opposite Anna Kendrick in a new comedy by HBO Max.
HBO Max, a new subscription streaming service by WarnerMedia Entertainment, launched Wednesday and offers new original programming. One of those new shows is a romantic comedy anthology series called Love Life, where each season focuses on the romantic life of one character.

The first season centers on a young woman named Darby Carter, played by Oscar nominee and Pitch Perfect star Anna Kendrick. Over the course of the 10-episode season, Kendrick will have many love interests, including Bradley Field, played by Dallas native Scoot McNairy.

“Bradley is Anna Kendrick’s boss,” McNairy says of his character. “He works in an art museum doing tours. He’s getting married in the opening episode, and [Darby] attends the wedding. Later in the show, you see that Bradley has split with his wife, and he and Darby give a go at dating each other.”

McNairy first heard of the role of Bradley when Love Life’s creator, Sam Boyd, reached out to him. The two had coffee and chatted for about an hour and a half, then Boyd asked if he was interested in playing Bradley.

Known for his roles in movies such as 12 Years a Slave and shows such as Halt and Catch Fire, True Detective and Narcos: Mexico, McNairy was interested in taking on a role that would allow for him to venture into a new territory, a feel-good project.

“I just wanted to try and get back into something that was a little bit lighter,” McNairy says. “I was really excited about the idea of working with Anna Kendrick on a comedy because she's so good at it and she's just incredible at what she does. I was lucky to jump onto something like this.”

McNairy describes himself as an “outdoorsy kid” who didn’t watch a lot of television growing up, as he was always out playing in the neighborhood and didn’t consider being an actor then. When McNairy attended Northwest Bible Church, he starred in a few plays, and even then he was always more interested in the behind-the-scenes components.

“When I did start watching movies, I was just fascinated on how they made the movie,” McNairy says. “The car crashes, all the special effects, all of that stuff was just a curiosity for me. I think my first inclination of what I wanted to do was more cinematography. So that's sort of what led me into getting into the entertainment business.”

“I was really excited about the idea of working with Anna Kendrick on a comedy because she's so good at it and she's just incredible at what she does. I was lucky to jump onto something like this.”– Scoot McNairy

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McNairy is dyslexic and credits his work in film as one of the biggest aids to his learning process. He describes himself as a “visual learner,” and says movies, not books, provided a wealth of knowledge in his teenage years.

“All kids like movies,” McNairy says. “But for me, I wasn't really reading many books, so movies were my books.”

The actor says he is similar to his character in that they both have an affinity for art. This is one of many reasons he says he was able to connect with Bradley.

“I liked having the ability to play around in that comedic world,” McNairy says. “Working on this project allowed me to step back into something I haven’t done in a long time, which is what drew me to Bradley. He’s funny, he’s dry, and this is just something I wanted to get back to.”

Love Life's first three episodes premiered May 27, and the subsequent seven episodes will be released week-by-week basic. McNairy assures us that Love Life will be a rom-com for the times.

“This is the newer generation’s version of Reality Bites,” McNairy says. “I think it’s going to be a really funny show, but heartfelt. I really think people are going to enjoy it.”