Interview: Paul Sparks on Getting to Know John Breem in ‘Physical’

The 1980s-set Apple TV+ comedy Physical follows Sheila (Rose Byrne), a woman struggling to stay positive against the demeaning voice in her head who finds unexpected purpose in aerobics. In its second season, the show expands Sheila’s world to show new problems to overcome, and elevates some of season one’s familiar players, including the extremely serious John Breem (Paul Sparks).

Awards Radar had the chance to speak with Sparks, a familiar face from other TV series like Boardwalk Empire and House of Cards, who addressed Breem’s intense energy level and what he could connect to about him:

“Breem is very specific… I grew up with a pretty religious background, and the ideas of discipline and hard work, these are the types of things that will make you not just successful, but also indicate a certain amount of godliness. I think it’s part of what my upbringing was like, and I get that from him. He’s a very conflicted guy. I guess I also identify somewhat with my part, because I got out of that part of my life as well. I see him squirming with his religiosity.”

He also commented on Breem’s clean-cut wardrobe:

“It’s the eighties. There’s some big shoulders, a big, boxy suit, but he is a bit of a peacock in his blue and black with the white shirt way. It’s fun to play a person that loves the way they dress. They do such a good job on the show. He has some specific things, having the garments that they wear underneath. All the little things. I love all that stuff.”

Watch the full conversation below.

Seasons one and two of Physical are streaming on Apple TV+.


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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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