'Tiny Pretty Things': Brennan Clost Explains Why Shane's Backstory Felt 'Autobiographical'

Netflix’s Tiny Pretty Things — which feels a bit like Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girl meets Flesh and Bone — follows a group of students at a competitive ballet school. A murderous whodunnit narrative lays atop the competition, drama, sex, and scandal at the center of the show. 

The series features all double-threats – performers boasting both serious dance chops and acting skills. Rather than casting dancers to fill in — with cameras strictly hovering over the lower body for dance shots — the show chose individuals who could do both. As for one of those individuals, Brennan Clost stars as Shane. The actor is a Juilliard grad — from a class of only 12 men — who knows what it’s like to find a family in career foes, so the experience was quite realistic for the actor. 

Shane is a gay ballet dancer from a poor background looking to fulfill his dreams and find love along the way…if his internal doubts can stay out of the way. Speaking to Attitude, Clost explained why he relates to his character to quite an intense degree. 

Brennan Clost on relating to his character Shane in ‘Tiny Pretty Things’

Shane told Attitude that he recognized himself in Shane (though he initially also read for Oren). He said:

“A lot of Shane’s back-story felt really autobiographical for me: he was described as this hot-headed scrapper who was tormented growing up for his love of dance. For me, that feels very true in that I grew up in a smaller town – more closed-minded, I would say – [and] I got quite badly bullied for being a male dancer.”

Clost explained that, when he finally moved to New York City to attend Juilliard, he found his people — people who thought and felt and dreamed like him. He said: 

“And when I moved away to Juilliard I was finally surrounded by like-minded individuals and it was really my chance to flourish and figure out who I was.”

Why playing Shane was a challenge for Clost 

Clost explained that he faced “resitance” when playing Shane – aspects of his past resurfaced and identity struggles met him head-on; thus, he had to face and conquer such dilemmas to adequately embody the character. Clost said: 

“Actually, a lot about Shane’s story through the season was challenging for me: it brought me up against a lot of points of resistance within myself that I had to overcome to do justice to the character. I remember some days standing in my trailer in a sequined skirt and eye-liner and getting emotional and scared to go out and work, because those are things I would have loved to have tried growing up, but got bullied for so badly.”

Because Clost signed on to play Shane, many individuals at home, struggling with the same circumstances have a point of inspiration – a character to turn to and relate to. As Clost told Attitude, “I’m so excited for the young Brennans to see this character on TV – I needed this character on TV.”

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