Brian Stepanek on his 'Suite Life' co-stars Cole and Dylan Sprouse: 'Whatever they do I always root for them'
Currently, Stepanek has a recurring role in CBS' 'Young Sheldon' as Mr. Hubert Givens, Sheldon's (Ian Armitage) science teacher
Brian Stepanek is one of those people you see on TV playing the lovable, often pitiful character in all your favorite shows. He first appeared in our radar as Arwin Hawkhauser, the kooky janitor at the Tipton Hotel, which was the venue for all of Zack and Cody’s shenanigans in Disney's 'The Suite Life of Zack and Cody'. Since then, he has been on many children's shows including, more recently, Nickelodeon’s 'Ricki Nicki Dicki and Dawn', where he played father to the eponymous quadruplets.
Currently, he has a recurring role in CBS' 'Young Sheldon' as Mr. Hubert Givens, Sheldon’s (Ian Armitage) science teacher. Having worked with Chuck Lorre in projects like 'Two and a Half Men' and 'Mom', Stepanek’s talents were already known to the show's creator, who brought him in for a few more episodes that had been initially intended for the character.
"What's great about working there is that it is a very, very well-oiled machine. Everybody there is very good at their jobs. They are the best people in the business. The writing is fantastic. It's extremely smooth and very easy," says Stepanek.
In the driver’s seat of this well-oiled machine, of course, is young Armitage, who Stepanek claims, continues to be a kid between takes, despite the fact that he is working. "He remains a kid. Between takes, he is reading a book. He loves to joke around with the crew and the crew is very aware that he is a kid. And, they try to keep that alive in him. He is really a pleasure to work with and a thrill," he gushes.
As someone who came up through Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, Stepanek obviously has quite a bit of experience working with children. The show in which we see some of his best work, 'Ricki Nicki Dicki and Dawn'. met with an untimely cancellation earlier this year, and like most fans, he too believes that the show had more in the engine.
"There were a lot of things that kind of worked towards that show coming to an end. I absolutely loved working on it. For any actor to have a regular job and a regular gig to go to is just a joy and the pinnacle. That's what you're trying to get to," he elaborates.
"For four years I got to drive to Paramount every day and go to work and get to know the crew and my co-workers and the cast and the writers and it was just an absolute pleasure so I would have loved to have kept going but I wasn't privy to all the decisions that were made but I think it could have absolutely kept going."
If he could, he would have wanted to see his on-screen children go to college. "In my selfish actor-like way I would like them all to have been 20 years old and we got another six or seven seasons and they go to college and they all go to different colleges and they say goodbye to each other after spending all that time together," says Stepanek, further adding, "That's where I would have liked to have seen gone. Going to high school and see them all — irrespective of whether they go to college or not — starting their adult lives separately from each other."
We did get one of Stepanek’s other iconic TV shows back in the day, in the form of 'Suite Life on Deck'. However, that too ended in 2011 and now that Cole and Dylan Sprouse, the stars of the show, are back in front of the camera, should we cross our fingers for a reunion? Definitely not for a TV show, Stepanek tells us, but a movie could work very well.
"If they ever did a reunion, I think it would be better served as a movie rather than an actual series. I would just like to see everybody on the show again. I have worked on that show more than anything maybe I have ever done," he says, adding that being a new dad stopped him from really bonding with the cast on the sets, however, he still feels a sense of pride in the boys who have now become well-rounded actors and heartthrobs in their own right.
In his own words, "I can't help but be proud of them. I think the route they took is fantastic. They decided 'Hey we are done with this. We are going to go to college and live sort of a normal life, get an education, see what other things are out there that we are interested in', and to be honest that is going to make them better actors, because they have all the life experience to act and use these experiences as an actor. I root for them all the time. Any time I see them in something whether it's Dylan doing his movies or business or Cole doing photography and then going to act, whatever they do I always root for them."
Menawhile Stepanek's upcoming 'Green Book', also starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen is set for US-wide release on November 21.