Your show "Longmire" (premiering its second season May 27th on A&E) is getting all the raves these days. What can fans expect from the show and your character this season?
I love playing Vic Moretti, she's such a spit fire. Last season we saw Vic struggling with her relationship with her husband and the reasons (some obvious and talked about, others more clandestine and secret)... they moved from Philadelphia to Absoroka County, Wyoming. We will have more of that this season. Also her relationship with Walt is an interesting one. She cares for him and admires him but because of the problems in her marriage she may be reaching out to him. Then of course we have more crime, more shootings, more wild animals, and beautiful scenery. All the things the loyal "Longmire" fan base has come to expect with a lot more personal relationships this season. This character is a lot more like myself than anyone I've portrayed. She's strong and extremely capable but she's flawed and damaged. She's girly with a whole lot of attitude thrown in. I love that about her. She's not as outwardly masculine as quite a few of the characters I've become known for, and she's a whole lot less crazy too!
You have worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, from Richard Dreyfuss to Kiefer Sutherland and Vin Diesel. Were you ever a bit starstruck walking on to the set?
No, not really. My mom always told me to try to identify with the person sitting across from you, not only to be personable and have something to talk about but to make them seem less daunting. I don't think she ever knew what good that advice would do me in this line of work, but it's allowed me to squash my nerves and have fun. I remember having to read with Richard Dreyfus when I was 20 and instead of focusing on how much I idolized him I just kept saying, he's the guy from "Jaws"...it's one of the first movies my dad ever showed me (I believe my mom had some words with him about that one), but it helped me take him back in years and be more of a peer then the Oscar winner sitting across from me. Little did I know I'd be working with such accomplished actors on that job and jobs to come.
You spent years on the set on the set of "Battlestar Galactica." What was it like to be a part of that project?
Such an honor. I loved every second of that job and while it wasn't my first show it was the one that I have to thank for so much of my current work. The crew and cast were like family and the show was so groundbreaking and relevant. I couldn't have seen that coming nor wished for more. People always say, we want to create something like "Battlestar," what they don't realize is that that takes tremendous balls. Ron Moore and David Eick (and the network) had tremendous trust in the writers, the actors, and the crew. We had freedom to express and make the characters what we wanted. We had input and control over what our characters did. That is not normal in this business. Ron used to say you know this character better than anyone ever will, do what you think is right. What confidence! He's fantastic!
Your new movie "Riddick" is set to release this fall. What can you tell us about the film?
Not much, other than I felt like a kid in a candy store! I've wanted to work with Vin for as long as I can remember and have been such a fan of the Riddick movies I could barely contain myself.
I play Dahl a Nordic bounty hunter, she's crazy tough. I told the director that I was supposed to play this character because my grandmother's maiden name was Dahl and I'm German...it was in my DNA.
Acting alongside Vin Diesel, we must assume the film will be action-packed. How was that experience for you?
I love action movise! Love love love! My dad raised me on science fiction and action, so not only was this a dream for me but my dad too. I did have to call him before I accepted the movie to ask permission, there's nudity and I needed to run it by him first. I'm a daddy's girl at heart and would never want to embarrass my parents. They have always been so supportive and I didn't want to disappoint him, but ultimately he was so proud and excited for me to be a part of this series. I just have to warn him to close his eyes....
My brother (Erick) however says I've ruined it for him! Damn side boob!
I hear that you used to swim competitively, and had dreams of becoming a professional. Has acting always been a passion as well?
I was always a clown running around dancing and singing. I could entertain myself for hours playing make believe. But sports were always my first love.
When you grow up in a small town becoming an actor seems so far fetched! You never hear of someone succeeding and it's so easy to be taken advantage of by all those acting schools and modeling scouts (FYI, if they ask for money from you don't do it!). My parents helped me go to these schools and "they" (the schools),...well let's just say I don't wanna be sued for slander!
Anyway, after I hurt my knees I had to think of something else that inspired me that fueled my competitive nature and acting seemed like the right choice. My mom saw an add in the paper to be Kirsten Dunst's body double for a local movie and I went in for it. I was too tall but the casting agent said 'can you act?' and of course I was like 'um...totally' (lying through my teeth). I went home and my mom helped me memorize the audition and I booked the role. It changed my life...the director Sam Pillsbury convinced my mom to fly to LA with me and he introduced me to my agent (who is now my manager) I have my career to thank to that man and my mom helping me memorize!
When was it that you knew that this could be a lifelong career for you?
When I booked my first series, maybe that was naivety, but I was 18 and called my parents and said, I did it, I made it! Oh, and I won't be finishing my freshman year of college.
Now I realize that the moment was probably after 24 and when I booked "Riddick," and produced my first movie. They all seemed to happen at the same time but during those two years I realized if I chose to do this for the rest of my life I probably could in some capacity.
Portland Speed Industries, your brother’s company, customizes and modifies cars. Has he done any special projects for you?
My brother is my biggest fan and harshest critique, he's loved and hated so much of what I've done. I'm more proud of him every day. My Brudy or Brud as I call him is such a kind soul and smart guy. He and his partner Jason have really done some amazing things over at PSI. (Along with some amazing employees who know way too much about cars! haha ) They built a really cool car for Ryan Turke (Drift racer) and he got 5th in Long Beach. If you can dream it, they can build it!
Are there any words that you live by, whether it be a quote or advice you have been given?
Trust your instincts, always! And... you can't win them all! If you spend your life trying to make everyone happy you lose sight of what you want. When I got sick and had cancer in 2008 I realized I spent so much time trying to be the person people wanted me to be. I never spoke my mind and often didn't say how I felt. When I came out of surgery I looked at my mom and said I will never not say anything anymore, life's too short! Now, I have ruffled many feathers in my day but what you see is what you get and....you can't win em all.
Photographer: Vince Trupsin Makeup by: Colleen Campbell Hair by: Kylee Heath Stylist: Jeff Kim