Multi-hyphenate Andrew Meikle never saw someone like himself on TV growing up, so he sought to infuse that into Two Brothers, a captivating new series bound for streaming on Prime Video and OUTtv.
Two Brothers, written, directed, produced and starring Meikle, follows Aaron (Meikle) and Aiden (Meshach O’Brien) as they strive to fit in a small-town community. Not only are they two Black men, but Aaron is gay, and the series tackles racism and homophobia amid the day-to-day life in Severn Bridge.
Recently, I had the privilege of chatting with Meikle about what inspired him to create Two Brothers, why this story is essential, what audiences can expect, how this process has fueled him as an artist and more.
This interview is condensed for length and clarity.
Melody McCune: We at GGA love a good origin story. What’s Andrew Meikle’s origin story?
Andrew Meikle: I started acting when I was nine. I did a bunch of commercials and print, and as I got older, I realized I wanted to tell my stories. I started writing short films. My short turned into a feature film, and I made three feature films.
I wrote a script I wanted to make into a television show about a group of friends at a trailer park. I’d go to this trailer park with my family every summer. Over the years, as I went over the script, I realized the dialogue was very young, very outdated, and I thought, “Okay, maybe I can make this into something.”
Originally, Two Brothers was called Four Seasons, the trailer park’s name. It was based on characters at the trailer park, and we tried to film the show, but, logistically, it didn’t work, and I didn’t have the funds to rent out an entire trailer park.
Then, the pandemic hit, and all this stuff with George Floyd happened, and Black Lives Matter, and I was like, “I don’t know how to express how I feel about this.” The only way I know how to do that is through writing. I took many personal experiences that I faced with racism and homophobia, and I put them into this story.
Initially, there were never two brothers; there were never two main characters. It was always just one, but I wanted to do something different. I’d never seen a show where they had two twin brothers — both Black, one gay, one straight, and showing how they deal with life separately and together.
That’s how Two Brothers came about. Many people don’t know that it was a different show before, and I did a 180 and completely changed it.
MM: Describe this series using three words.
AM: Intense, sexy and educational.
MM: Can you expand on your goals with Two Brothers and how you accomplish them?
AM: Originally, my goal was to film the show, put it on YouTube and see if anyone’s interested, but through the process, we skipped all that. We had a fantastic crew who made the show look amazing, which helped get us on Amazon Prime and OUTtv.
I always wanted it to be on OUTtv. Then, I met a third party who gets stuff on Amazon Prime, which was a bonus. We talked with Fearless, another streaming platform for diverse and inclusive stories.
I think I exceeded my goal, and I hope people love the show as much as I do. I hope many people watch it and talk about it so that we get a Season 2 and maybe get funding to make the episodes longer. The episodes I had were 45 minutes long, but I had to shorten each episode to 10 to 15 minutes due to budgeting. It was a challenging process to do that. It hurt me to cut a lot of stuff out, but I have more content for Season 2, so that’s how I look at it.
MM: That’s a nice, positive spin on that. What can audiences expect from this series?
AM: They can expect to relate to many of the different characters. I never saw anyone like me on TV growing up. I watched shows like 90210, Gossip Girl, The O.C. and all those CW teen drama shows, and there was never a Black gay character in them.
So, I wanted to bring a BIPOC storyline to the forefront and make them more visible in the media, which is why I think this show will be important.
MM: How has this creative process of writing, directing, acting and producing inspired you as an artist?
AM: It’s inspired me to want to do more. I love acting but, initially, I wasn’t supposed to be in the show. I was trying to cast someone else for Aaron, but there were no Black actors who wanted to play a gay role, which I found shocking, seeing as Toronto is a diverse city. I talked to my co-producer, and I sent an audition tape to her. Then, we said, “Who better to play Aaron than the person it was written about?”
It’s inspired me to write more television. I eventually want to get back to my horror roots. I love horror movies. Everyone was surprised my show was a drama because they all expected me to do horror. But I loved being in front of the camera and being on set as the actor.
MM: What do you hope audiences take away from Two Brothers?
AM: I think many people watching it will be surprised by some of the stuff they see. I don’t want to give away too much, but many people believe racism comes from outside, from other ethnicities, but I’ve experienced racism within the Black community. Being mixed race, I have been called many different things, and they were not from people of other races. I think people will be shocked.
MM: Do you have advice for emerging artists looking to break into the industry?
AM: Go for it. Being an actor is tough. There are many people out there auditioning for roles you might not get. If there are no opportunities for you, make some, which is what I did.
Write a short for YouTube, grab a bunch of your friends, film it and throw it on there because you never know who will see it. If you’re an emerging artist, make opportunities for yourself.
MM: What else is on the horizon for you, career-wise?
AM: I filmed a movie last summer coming out in June that people can watch on Amazon Prime on June 10 in Canada and June 17 in the US. It’s called My Fake Boyfriend. It stars Keiynan Lonsdale, Dylan Sprouse, Sarah Hyland, Marcus Rosner and many other talented actors.
MM: Have you binge-watched anything interesting lately?
AM: I’m binge-watching The Circle right now. I’m into all the dramas, like 9-1-1 and SVU. I binge everything.
MM: Name your top five favorite films.
MM: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, Andrew! Congratulations on Two Brothers!
AM: Thank you, Melody!