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 Julie Benz

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♠ El Ángel de la Guarda ♠
♠ El Ángel de la Guarda ♠

Age : 33
Nombre de messages : 24201
Date d'inscription : 29/08/2007

MessageSujet: Julie Benz   Lun 02 Juin 2008, 12:05

Julie Benz - About Past Work - Interview
Julie Benz as Darla on Buffy & Angel

Even though Julie Benz
made her acting debut way back in 1990, it was how she did it that
would mark her for life. It was a small speaking role in a Dario
Argento film, Two Evil Eyes. Although she would go on to do some
standard sitcoms and guest appearances on such dramas as Law &
Order and NCIS, she truly made her bones, if you will, in the
fantasy/’genre’ realm.

First, Benz garnered some serious recognition as the evil Darla in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer
television series, a role she would return to in the spin-off, Angel.
She also appeared in a recurring role in the short-lived sci-fi series
Roswell. Since then she’s been working hard and steady, taking on
projects ranging from S.Epatha Merkerson’s Lackawanna Blues to her now main job on Showtime’s Dexter as Rita Bennett.

If time has proven anything, she has now a well-earned
reputation as an actress with quite a bit of range. She also isn’t
afraid of the tough roles, roles where she doesn’t mind getting her
face shoved in the mud. She’s also a bit of a workaholic.

In a recent interview in support of the release of the
Rambo DVD, the friendly and open actress entertained our questions not
only about working with Sly Stallone
on that film, but about her Buffy past and her work in the upcoming Saw
V and Punisher War Journal films, which from her accounts tested her
physical and mental limits to the extreme…

NEWSARAMA : Julie, I recently interviewed a voice actress named Grey Delisle, who did 24 different TV series last year…


NRAMA : Yeah. Anyway, when I asked her why she did so
much, she said she’s always afraid of work drying up. Would you say
that’s a motivation for you, too ?

JB : Definitely I’ve been an actress for 23 years and I
quickly realized that work comes in waves. You have a couple of years
where you work a lot. Then you have too much down time. It affects
everybody and everybody goes through it. So when the work is flowing
you learn to enjoy every moment of it.

NRAMA : Now are you still working on Dexter or is that over with ?

JB : No. We’re getting ready to start our next season next week. In fact, I report on June 2.

NRAMA : Isn’t this like the third successful franchise you’ve been involved with ?

JB : I guess. I’ve been very lucky when it comes to television.

NRAMA : How’s that shaping up ?

JB : I know absolutely nothing about the third season. They don’t tell us anything until we start rehearsing.

NRAMA : How would you describe your character on Dexter for people who don’t know ?

JB : Rita is basically the moral compass, which allows
the other characters to love Dexter. She is an extremely damaged woman
but still has this hopeless romantic quality to her.

NRAMA : A big turn from Darla wouldn’t you say ?

JB : A very big turn. Rita and Darla are opposite ends of the spectrum for sure.

NRAMA : Just out of curiosity. Do you keep track of all your former Buffy buddies. Your former love interest, Dave Boreanaz, is doing pretty well these days.

JB : I do ! I keep in touch with a lot of the cast from
Buffy and Angel. For instance I was in Jenny Mollen’s wedding. I was
one of the bridesmaids. I see Charisma Carpenter all the time. All of them. We were pretty tight because we all kind of grew up together.

NRAMA : What about Sarah in the new Rambo movie ?

JB : Sarah is very different. I mean there are
similarities between her and Rita in that they are full of hope. Sarah
though is more faith-oriented. She’s a missionary after all. She
believes in a higher power. She also wants to take care of others.
She’s also not afraid of danger. She has a lot more courage than Rita.

NRAMA : Would you say it was different to play Sarah. Usually most of your characters have something dark in their past.

JB : It was actually very nice to play someone who
didn’t have anything dark ; a woman who believes in what she believes
in. Now Sarah also happens to be very, very experienced. She’d have to
be in her line of work. I imagine though if she were a real person, her
experiences in the movie would have changed her forever. I don’t think
she could ever go back to what she was before it.

NRAMA : I was going to go there. The body count in this Rambo film was amazing. Was it a rough shoot for you ?

JB : It was a very rough shoot. For starters we shot in
the northern part of Thailand, which was as close as we could get to
Burma. It was the first time I ever worked in a situation where there
were constant death threats made. That was completely bizarre. We had
real armored vehicles with real soldiers around us besides the fake
ones on the set. It didn’t take us long to realize we were half-way
around the world without much protection if things went bad.

NRAMA : Not to mention all the pyrotechnics going on in the shoot.

JB : That was actually fun. When I signed up for the
movie, Sly walked up to me and said make sure when we shoot certain
scenes it’ll be my face in the dirt. He was also really adamant about
me being in a scene when a building blew up right beside me. So I
thought, ‘OK. I’ll always try a new thing once.’ If I got scared, I
knew I could call on my stunt double, Heidi, to take my place.

As it turned out, there was only one stunt that really
freaked me out. There’s a scene where I was being held under water by
the soldiers. I found out I get very claustrophobic when that happens.
So after we did three takes I said enough, I couldn’t do another one.

From what I understand, I wasn’t the slightest bit calm
when I called for my stunt double. I was hyperventilating and really,
really crying. Even Sly could see I couldn’t take anymore.

NRAMA : So how was it working for Sly ?

JB : You know, he’s really an amazing filmmaker. I
learned so much about what it takes to be a film icon from him. His
dedication to the work and his image is amazing. I’ve never seen anyone
so dedicated. He basically supervised every frame of film. His passion
for what he wants is tremendous. It raised the bar to me, for sure.

NRAMA : Now the Newsarama readers would come after me
if I didn’t talk to you about Punisher : War Zone. First off, what an
interesting cast. You have Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle and Dominic West as Jigsaw…

JB : Dominic is really an amazing character actor.
Also, I think Ray Stevenson brings a lot of weight and pathos to his
role as the Punisher. He plays the darkest Frank Castle you’re ever
gonna see. It’s a much darker movie. Dominic West
is just terrifying as Jigsaw. He was both terrifying and charming, if
that is believable. I had such a great time with the two of them. Both
men are incredibly talented and I was in awe being in the same film. I
think this will be the one to really launch the franchise.

NRAMA : Well, your character of Angela isn’t exactly a saint, either.

JB : They’re not playing her that way. She’s the wife
of a cop, an undercover cop. She’s definitely pissed off at everybody
because of something that happens to her in the movie. Still, she’s a
mother first and foremost and she will do whatever it takes to protect
her daughter. She’s got a little more edge to what I usually play. It’s
also the first time I had to do an accent, I hope I did a good
Italian-American one. Still, she is not a passive player like Sarah.
She won’t let herself be a victim no matter what the situation. She
will take action first.

NRAMA : So what was that shoot like ?

JB : It was nothing compared to Thailand. When you’re
dealing with 120 degree heat, it’s nothing, even when you’re doing
minus 20 degrees in Montreal. I mean there was one scene where we were
filming in this grain silo and it got so cold it actually was snowing
inside. It was actually colder inside the grain silo than outside it.
It was cold !

NRAMA : Speaking of movies with followings, you also just did the latest Saw.

JB : Yes. That was also a tough shoot for different
reasons. I play a woman named Brit who is a real estate developer. I
like to think of her as a thoroughbred. She’s very career driven. Now
that movie was more psychologically driven. In fact, I would say it was
psychologically damaging, especially for the actors. It’s a scary movie.

NRAMA : Well, it is Saw…

JB : Yes ! And if you think it’s scary to watch, try
being in one. It gets ya. I think this one is scarier than the last
four. The traps on this one are spectacular. There are so many
surprises in this one. It’s just going to blow your mind. It blew my
mind being in it.

NRAMA : Well, is there a single original character from the first Saw around ? Are any of them still alive ?

JB : Yeah. It’s tough. To tell you the truth, it’s the
first movie I ever did where I wound up having nightmares while
filming. I mean not your normal actor nightmares like being on set,
forgetting your lines and completely naked. I mean I was reliving
scenes that were in the story.

NRAMA : Like you are one of the people tied to one of those traps ?

JB : Ummm….I’m not saying if I am or not. I just know I had problems sleeping after that shoot.

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♠ El Ángel de la Guarda ♠
♠ El Ángel de la Guarda ♠

Age : 33
Nombre de messages : 24201
Date d'inscription : 29/08/2007

MessageSujet: Re: Julie Benz   Mer 20 Aoû 2008, 00:39

But Julie Benz is used to surprising series -- she played vampire Darla on Buffy, then reprised the role on Angel. (One of my all-time favorite episodes was the one where she ... well, I hope you've seen it, too.)

Dexter's second season arrives on DVD today, so you have
time to catch up before the third season debuts on Showtime Sept. 28.
Last week, Julie called me to chat about the new episodes and answer
some Pop Candy readers' questions.

I've included a portion of that Q&A below. You can hear the entire thing in this week's podcast; more details follow.

I'd be really interested to know how different it is for
Julie to play a vulnerable character in Rita, vs. a strong one like
Darla -- Devindra

Benz: I think Rita and Darla are very similar at their core. They're
both very damaged women by men: Rita at the hands of Paul, and the
damage that she suffered from that. Darla, obviously, before she was
made a vampire, was very damaged. She was a prostitute and had bad
relationships and all of that. So, what's interesting is, at their core
they're similar, it's just one chooses to turn left and the other
chooses to turn right. Darla was a very vulnerable woman, she just
masked it very well.

I'd like to ask her about doing two action pics (Rambo and Punisher) back to back. What's the attraction -- is it the scripts or the buff leading men? -- RandomTroy

Ooh. For me, I was an athlete growing up, and I love being
challenged physically. ... It's exciting to try to do your own stunts
and to see if you can face your fears. When I did Rambo, I had to run through a ball of fire. And I was like, "OK, I'll try it once." (Laughs)

Is it true that Sylvester Stallone is a huge Dexter fan, and that’s how you got the role in Rambo? -- BIG BUSINESS

Yes, that is the truth. He was a big fan of Dexter, and I
got the call that he was interested in me taking on the female lead.
And I was like, "Seriously? Wow." I mean, that's one of the coolest
things that's ever happened to me.

Do you ever wonder what life would have been like if you were cast as Buffy? -- Melanism

No. I mean, I made the mistake years ago of mentioning that in an
interview, that I auditioned for the role of Buffy. But so did 2,000
other women. And I wasn't right for the role, and it was obvious that I
wasn't right for the role. I think Sarah's brilliant in the part. But that's how I met Joss (Whedon),
was through that audition, and he liked my choices, I just wasn't right
for the character. And that's how I got the role of Darla.

But I never wonder, because I believe everybody's path is different,
and I love the path that my career's taken. So I'm very content, very

Me: Do you still keep in touch with any cast members from Buffy?

I do. I talk to Charisma (Carpenter) almost daily. Jenny Mollen, I was in her wedding. Clare Kramer is a very, very dear friend -- I talk to her every day. Same with Robia LaMorte. Juliet Landau I speak with, J. August Richards ...
all of them. We all kind of grew up together. And there's a connection
there. It was all during our formative years in many ways, it was going
from kid to adult, really.

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