DAR­REN DEV­LYN

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

JULIE Benz has that rare abil­ity to dis­solve com­pletely into a role. One minute she’s play­ing Rita Bennett, lov­ing mum and the wife of a se­rial killer in ac­claimed drama Dex­ter, the next she’s barely recog­nis­able as a strip­per with a heart of gold in high-gloss soap Des­per­ate Housewives.

How­ever, de­spite her range and im­pres­sive list of cred­its, Benz con­fesses she’s as in­se­cure about her abil­i­ties and fu­ture prospects as the next ac­tor.

When Benz dis­cov­ered she was to meet a hor­rific end in Dex­ter, she had a melt­down. Benz, and the show’s crew, found out she was be­ing axed from Dex­ter just a week be­fore be­ing handed her fi­nal script.

‘‘ My first re­ac­tion to it was, ‘ God, I just lost my job, I can’t breathe,’’ a bru­tally hon­est Benz says.

‘‘ A lot of the crew were cry­ing while they were film­ing. I wasn’t look­ing to be taken off the show, I didn’t ask to be taken off, I want to make that clear.

‘‘ I didn’t watch the end of the show (her fi­nal episode) be­cause it did af­fect me. I can’t see it again, it’s so dis­turb­ing.’’

The other Dex­ter-re­lated ex­pe­ri­ence that shook Benz was co-star Michael C. Hall be­ing di­ag­nosed with Hodgkin’s lym­phoma. Hall, 39, was di­ag­nosed at the start of last year.

Benz says of Hall: ‘‘ Michael is a very pri­vate per­son and in­de­pen­dent in how he han­dles things. I think it’s tes­ta­ment to who he is and his strength (that he con­sid­ered keep­ing the ill­ness quiet). He didn’t want peo­ple to feel bad for him.’’

But things are look­ing up for her on the ca­reer front. Benz, whose se­ries cred­its in­clude Buffy, Su­per­nat­u­ral and the Steven Spiel­berg mini-se­ries Taken, re­cently be­gan film­ing a reg­u­lar role along­side Michael Chik­lis in ac­tion­drama No Or­di­nary Fam­ily, which will pre­miere soon on Chan­nel 7.

Benz and stars in­clud­ing Christo­pher Lloyd (Back to the Fu­ture) will ap­pear at the Bris­bane Su­panova Expo on April 1-3 and the Mel­bourne expo on April 8-10.

‘‘ I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to com­ing back to say thank you to the fans who have sup­ported me,’’ Benz says. Dex­ter, Eleven, Mon­day, 9.30pm For move in­for­ma­tion on Su­panova, go to www.su­panova.com.au Happy fam­ily: Julie Benz, Michael C. Hall and baby Har­ri­son on

French pol­ish: MKR’s Manu Feildel’s best cre­ation is his son Jonti (right). Pic­ture: SAM McA­DAM

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