Per­fect chem­istry a must for Bad star

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

AC­TRESS Betsy Brandt finds her­self poised some­where be­tween agony and ec­stasy. While that may be a slight over­state­ment, Brandt has just fin­ished film­ing the last episodes of ground-swelling TV show Break­ing Bad.

A whole­some Mid­west­ern mother of two, Brandt plays Marie, the off-kil­ter, pil­fer­ing sis­ter-in-law in the hit. ‘‘I’m so proud of that show,’’ she sighs ‘‘I still can’t be­lieve it’s over. There’s some part of me that thinks, ’Oh, we’ll do one more.’ Even though I think that’s re­ally not likely.’’

While she’s mourn­ing the pass­ing of that show, she’s pack­ing up her fam­ily for a move to New York, where she’ll play Michael J. Fox’s wife on his new TV se­ries.

It’s a won­der that ever hap­pened. Brandt was film­ing Break­ing Bad in New Mex­ico when she made a video­taped au­di­tion for Michael J. Fox’s show. Her hus­band, who works for a soft­ware firm, was man­ning the cam­era and her son, 4, kept run­ning into the room while they were film­ing. But the net­work liked some­thing about it and asked for a sec­ond one.

When she came to LA for the Golden Globes they asked her to meet with Fox.

‘‘I met him and he was just great. He said, ‘You know, I felt like we had this chem­istry, some­thing hap­pened the first time we read to­gether.’ I said, ‘I felt that, but I just fig­ured that’s just how good you made ev­ery­body feel’. He re­ally is that great. Ev­ery­thing that you’ve heard about him – dou­ble the won­der­ful,’’ she says.

Brandt grew up in Michi­gan where her dad was an elec­tri­cian for Dow Chem­i­cal and her mum a teacher.

‘‘There’s some­thing in­ex­pli­ca­ble and some­thing hu­man about (act­ing) that I like. I don’t bungee jump or any­thing, but I like to put my­self out there and be vul­ner­a­ble. That’s my crazy. I’m not into in­sane, wildly coura­geous sports, but I can do this and sur­vive.’’

She was al­ways creative, play­ing both the sax­o­phone and the pi­ano, her pas­sion for mu­sic never waned. In fact, her hus­band gave her an ac­cor­dion for her birth­day last year.

‘‘It was some­thing I re­ally wanted. I don’t know how to do the chords so I’m just play­ing the melody. I can play Roll Out the Barrel pretty pro­fi­ciently. And I also just like to play by ear and fig­ure out the melody.’’

Though Brandt has ap­peared on many big TV se­ries, she was 27 be­fore she tried her luck in Los An­ge­les.

‘‘It was the worst-laid plan,’’ she rolls her eyes. ‘‘Just dumb, dumb, dumb. If I thought of it now I’d say, ‘Don’t move to LA, you’re al­most 30 and you’ve done noth­ing. That’s crazy’.’’

When they first ar­rived. her hus­band had a job he didn’t par­tic­u­larly like and she was the host­ess at a sushi restau­rant on Sun­set Boule­vard.

‘‘I grew up with such a work ethic and to feel like you can’t do any­thing was just a ter­ri­ble feel­ing. I found some note­books of mine the other day and it listed theatres all over the coun­try to see if there was a part for me. You just have to de­cide you’re go­ing to do it,’’ she says.

‘‘That doesn’t mean it will hap­pen. My iden­tity was also wrapped up in me work­ing and I hadn’t re­ally been me. So I’m thank­ful for that.’’

Still, she recog­nises to­mor­row might not be as bright as to­day, skip­ping from one hit TV show to a promis­ing other.

‘‘As an ac­tor, when it’s up you think it’s go­ing to stay there or keep go­ing up, and that’s not even re­al­is­tic,’’ she says.

‘‘Ev­ery­body – even huge movie stars – have downs. That’s just how it is. The work ebbs and flows. My man­ager and I were say­ing let’s re­mem­ber that in 2013 we were soooo busy. So when­ever it is that we’re not, maybe it’ll come back again. Maybe it won’t. But you’ve gotta love the ride.’’

Break­ing Bad: Se­ries 6: Mon­days from Au­gust 12, 5.30pm, and 9.30pm, Show­case HD

– LUAINE LEE

Betsy Brandt

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