Fighting is the ‘Last Resort’
Daisy Betts talks about life as a US Navy lieutenant, nuclear submarines, being a good shot and surviving in a male-dominated environment
ABANDONED by the country they swore to protect, the crew of a US nuclear submarine become fugitives after questioning a suspicious order to fire nuclear missiles.
The character-driven American military drama series Last Resort (Sony Entertainment Television, Tuesdays, 8.55pm) centres on the crew of the USS Colorado, a fictional US Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.
After picking up a US Navy Seal team off the coast of Pakistan, the crew receive an order to launch nuclear ballistic missiles at Pakistan. But due to suspicious circumstances surrounding the order the Colorado’s commanding officer, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher), goes against orders and refuses to fire, and his decision is supported by his crew.
Chaplin and the crew take refuge at a Nato outpost where they set up a society, becoming the smallest nuclear state in the world.
Daisy Betts, who plays Lieutenant Grace Shepard in the show, chats about Last Resort, submarines and more.
Have you met anyone who has your job in real life?
I have met several female officers to find out what kind of training they’ve been through and how they think. I’ve also chatted with men who have told me what it’s like to serve with women in the navy. I also heard an interesting story about this female officer who has a can of hairspray close by, and whenever no one is looking she fixes her ponytail, because she always wants to be perfectly presentable. As an officer in the navy, in a commanding position, it just fascinates me that she feels the need to do that.
Lieutenant Grace Shepard also comes from a world where nepotism has played a crucial role in her career. Grace’s father is an admiral in the navy and he was one of the driving forces that helped her become an officer aboard a naval submarine. People in her life and other crew members who Grace serves alongside are very judgmental, so she is constantly forced to prove her merit as an officer. Grace is all about rules and morals and doing the right thing.
Did you have to go through any sort of boot camp to prepare?
Not officially, no. Though I did some boot camp training on my own to get myself prepared for the role. And we have also had some weapons training; we’ve been out to the firing range several times. It’s not the sort of thing that I would necessarily go out and do by myself on the weekend but I’m glad to have had the experience. Are you a good shot? I am. I was so proud of myself. It’s actually really rewarding to see your bullets all land in the same spot on the target.
Have you been on a real submarine?
I haven’t been on one yet, but I would love to do so if given the opportunity. Maybe not underwater, but just to walk through and see it from a technical point of view. We have an amazing set and wonderful technical advisers who have given us a great space to work in. Our set is slightly bigger in parts than an actual sub, but there are spaces, like the hallways, that are terribly narrow and cramped.
You are constantly having to pass through these tight quarters, which, as a female surrounded by mostly men, can get quite awkward and uncomfortable.
It makes for a great deal of sexual tension. On the show of course, not on set.
Were you a fan of creator Shawn Ryan’s work before you began working with him?
The women on Last Resort all have their own storylines – they’re really strong characters.
They all have their own battles and it’s not tied in with the men at all, necessarily. Shawn writes women very well. In LA, there’s so many names that get tossed around, so when pilot season comes around and someone tells you that you could be working with Shawn Ryan, you just sort of nod your head and say: Yup, yup, yup… get me that.
What can be expected from the show?
The main goal of our submarine crew is to keep themselves alive long enough to prove their innocence to the people in Washington, whose orders they directly disobeyed. Meanwhile, people are hunting them down and trying to kill them. Week to week there will be a new challenge, and it will become about the characters and not just about the week’s story. The show challenges people to think: “Who do I believe in?”
What is it like to be involved in such a big project?
The number of years of experience among the cast is huge. I can tell I have so much to learn just by watching the other actors perform. I have a lot of scenes with Robert Patrick ( Master Chief Joseph Prosser) and we just go head to head; he’s so great to work with and he’s the most amazing character actor. There’s this blur between him and his character. Sometimes, when we’re off set or between takes, it can be difficult to tell if he’s out of character or not. But everyone is there for you if you have questions or concerns. It’s an extremely supportive environment.
What’s it like to work with Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman?
They’re both two very different actors that have very different approaches to acting. Andre is very commanding. He leads the cast off set the way that his character leads the crew on set. And this is perfectly balanced with Scott’s persona, which is more accessible. He’s also very dedicated, and this plays very nicely with Andre and his approach. And I’m the woman thrown into the mix to make it a big, complicated leadership triangle.
Your character seems very moral- driven. Do you think Grace might have a dark side that she’s hiding?
I think so. I think that’s the great thing about all of the characters on Last Resort. They all seem to be capable of having mysterious dark sides to them. We’ll just have to wait and see.
CREW CONTROL: Stars Dichen Lachman as Tani Tumrenjack, Camille de Pazzis as Sophie Girard, Robert Patrick as Master Chief Joseph Prosser, Daisy Betts as Lieutenant Grace Shepard, Sahr Ngaujah as Mayor Julian Serrat, Daniel Lissing as Seal Officer James King, Andre Braugher as Captain Marcus Chaplin, Autumn Reeser as Kylie Sinclair, Scott Speedman as XO Sam Kendal and Jessy Schram as Christine Kendal.
LEADER: Daisy Betts