Shane Taylor

Every regiment has a man. That man wears a Red Cross and is responsible for the lives of his fellow brothers in arms. Sometimes detached from the camaraderie and serious in nature, this man dedicates his life to serving the men of his company. For Easy Company, that man was Medic “Doc” Eugene Roe. 

The actor that brought the part to life and the history to “Band of Brothers” was Shane Taylor. 

Shane Taylor in his role as Eugene Roe.

Thank you for your time Shane.

Would you please describe yourself to my readers? Who is Shane Taylor? Where about are you based?

My name’s Shane Taylor.  I’m a talking prop in the acting and the voice over field, based in the U.K. 

Have you always wanted to be an actor? 
I never thought about it like that. It wasn’t a realistic option, where I was from. I always loved to play pretend, and it annoyed me that I was forced to grow out of it! It took going to college, and finding a Youth Theatre, to show me the way to elongate my childhood
Band of Brothers is a beautiful and yet complex piece of television.  How did you get to find out about this series?

I got into it via the usual pathway. My agent called me. I wasn’t that long out of drama school. I had a couple of T.V.  jobs behind me and,  I was doing a play at the time of the call. I remember running my lines in the theatre dressing room. 

Can you talk about your audition process for this series?
It’s getting blurry, now! The initial process was a bit of a cattle call. I saw a number of people trying out for roles. I don’t tend to respond that well to those kind of things, but I loved the material, and felt I could do something with it. The fact that I was doing the play at the time helped. I was acting in front of an audience every night, so I didn’t feel rusty, and that helped my confidence. A few auditions later, and I was facing Tom Hanks and a whole bunch of V.I.P’s at The Athenaeum Hotel in London. I’d been reading for Roe from the very beginning, and that’s what stuck. 
(L) Shane Taylor (R) Eugene Roe
What preparation did you do for your role as Eugene Roe?
I was given a number to call Eugene’s widow, but that didn’t work out. However, HBO provided great resource materials, and Ralph Spina (Roe’s assistant medic) sent me a package with articles and pics, which helped my cause. 
Bootcamp was also essential prep. Not only in terms of learning to soldier from that period of time, but to forge a strong bond between us. Captain Dale Dye was instrumental, but there were others like Sgt. Freddie Joe Farnsworth. He had the ability to terrify the life out of us, but he also brought great humour, even if it was at our expense! The cadre were so adept at that balancing act, I thought they were incredible.
I know part of that preparation for many of the cast was meeting family members of whom they were playing. How does it feel when you meet family members of someone real?
I didn’t actually meet any family members until after the shoot. That’s just the way it worked out. But when I did, it was one of the most emotional experiences I’ve ever had. We were on a private bus from Paris which was tasked with taking us to the Premiere in Normandy, and one of the cast members shouted ‘Doc!’ (we all called each other by character names, back then), and one of Eugene’s daughters (Maxine) heard it. That was a good hug. 
When I think of your performance, one word comes to mind. Bastogne. Episode 6 of Band of Brothers is your highlight. It’s an episode that highlights your acting and the underlying  story. What can you tell me about filming that episode?
It was intense and all consuming which was exactly how I was hoping it would be. I moved closer to the studio during that period. I felt so privileged to have an episode highlighting Roe. But I felt it was an important one in the grand scheme of things, because the idea of following a medic, especially in something as heavy as the Battle of the Bulge, seemed pretty unique. I hadn’t really seen that done before.
There was a great luxury in essentially being the protagonist for Bastogne. I got more time with the director for a start! And to have the ability to exchange meaningful ideas was key. It was like becoming Damian Lewis for a month! David Leland, as a director, was great for me. He remains a good friend to this day. And Lucie Jeanne who played Renee Lemaire was just outstanding.  
Being directed by Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks must have been one hell of an experience. How did that affect the work and your approach to it?

Stephen was due to direct the first episode but couldn’t do it in the end, so that fell to Phil Alden Robinson, who directed Field Of Dreams. I did meet Stephen briefly in an aircraft hanger when we were shooting the second D-Day episode. He came up alongside me, I guess he saw my medic’s arm band, and started to tell me how many people were interested in directing episode six.

It felt like the pressure was on for all of those early directors, and it was for us, to really hit the ground running. But Tom seemed so relaxed in comparison. I guess he’d been monitoring everything and he, himself, knew the material so well, that he just created a sense of calm, which I think made us feel we were all on the right track.

How does it feel 20 years later to be still seeing the reaction to it from the public ?
Band was more than a job. We were representing families in a moment of history. The show is a gateway to conversation and study. It’s now considered an iconic series and we’re all very proud to be connected with it. 
Can you talk me through the reunions and ongoing relationships you’ve made. 
Well, the actual vets and their families have had many reunions over the years. And the actors, through Mike Cudlitz (Bull), and Frank John Hughes (Wild Bill), created the actors reunion. Once a year, around Easter, whoever’s in L.A can attend. 
A couple of years ago, Nolan Hemmings (Chuck Grant) had a reunion for all the British based actors. Better late than never! 
We’re not in and out of one another’s lives on a daily basis, but we do have a special bond because it was such a singularly unique experience. I guess it’s a similar feeling for the real men and what they went through in reality. I’m just thankful I only had to play pretend! 

Thank you Shane, for your time with the interview. It has been an absolute pleasure. 

Eugene Roe – Thank you for your service.