Perfect chemistry a must for Bad star
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