Julie Benz has made a career as part of mysterious, dark, brooding
TV drama, so itís not a huge surprise that her latest role Ė that of
the wife of a southern judge involved in a murder in the TNT
adaptation of Sandra Brownís best selling crime novel Ricochet
Ė is something of an inscrutable femme fatale.
Benz has some experience with inscrutable Ė and with fatale Ė
in a career that has included playing a
vampire on Buffy the Vampire and Angel, the wife of
a serial killer in Dexter and a
mother and scientist who mysteriously gains super powers during a
plane crash in No Ordinary Family. She is currently playing
the sister of the title character in A Perfect Man.
Her new TV movie Ricochet is part of TNTís new Mystery
Movie Night, a series of beloved recent mystery novels which are
being turned into weekly two-hour films. Ricochet co-stars
John Corbett as a cop with his eye on a possibly corrupt judge (Gary
Cole) and his gorgeous younger wife
About a week before the movie was to air, Benz was nice enough to
sit down with us and a few other websites and talk about the film.
Were you familiar with Sandra Brownís novel prior to working with
I was familiar with Sandra Brown. I had read Ricochet a long
time ago and really enjoyed it. Iím an avid reader and I love her
character of Elise is a little mysterious, a little bit of a
troublemaker. What did you like most about playing her? And how did
you prepare for the role?
What I loved was how for me what the challenge of playing Elise was
how close she keeps everything inside. You donít know if sheís good
or bad and youíre never sure exactly what sheís thinking. That was a
real challenge for me to play. I had to work really hard on an
accent for the movie, as well. That helps me really get into Elise
because with that specific type of Southern accent, she moved slower
and talked slower than I do. That allowed me to actually be a little
In this movie
we donít really know whether your character is a good girl or a bad
girl through most of the movie. Was that difficult to play?
No. I mean it was challenging to play but it wasnít difficult in the
fact that I understood her intentions were pure. The way she got
around to doing stuff wasnít necessarily all that normal. But in her
heart, her intentions behind it all were pure. But you had to
actually admit too sheís a little crazy for what she did.
Since the movie is an
adaptation from the book how much will we see compared and contrast
with what we get to read?
I think it does an amazing job of adapting the book into the movie.
Thereís so much information in the book, so you actually get a lot
more back-story but the film itself follows the action quite
You have such a really wonderful online following through Twitter.
How has social media been playing into the promotion of projects
Ricochet for you?
Itís always so great. Anytime TNT puts up a new promo for the show I
can just Tweet it and everybody goes and looks at it. I love social
media. Itís a great way to not just promote the work that you do but
also to have direct contact with fans as well as promote any kind of
charities that youíre involved in.
this film what do you think it is that will draw viewers in?
You know, first the story. The story is really compelling in the way
that it is shot itís very much as a film noir. Then of
course I mean you have John Corbett and Gary Cole, so whatís not to
You just mentioned Gary Cole. Heís always such a fascinating actor.
What was he like to work with?
Oh, heís a pro, man. First, heís an ultimate gentlemen and second
just a pro. Just watching him craft his character and the choices
that he made to play Judge Laird Ė itís like being in a master
class, watching him work.
Over your career itís seem to
have got in a lot of roles that have to do with crime or killing or
punishment. You mentioned that youíre a veracious reader earlier.
Are you into that type of fiction or films or stuff like? Or is that
just a coincidence that youíre often playing that type of role?
You know, I am. I do love a great mystery. So, yeah, I guess itís
just how itís panned out. [When] I started in the business I wanted
to do romantic comedies and then I was surprised by the fact that I
could actually do more than that. (laughs) Iíve always been a
fan of especially mystery novels. Iíve read every single one
probably out there. I love trying to figure it all out and I love
Okay now also recently after you spent so much time on series work
Dexter and No Ordinary Family and now A Gifted Man
how was it different to just work on a one-off film where just a
beginning, middle and end?
Well itís a little overwhelming at first because we shot it in 18
days. So itís a pretty fast process, pretty fast filming. So you
have to really do a lot of homework before you arrive on set and
really do a lot of your character development before you get there.
Make choices and do as much research as you can. Rather than when
you are in a TV series Ė they start kind of crafting the role for
you. They start writing it in your voice after youíre cast and
tailoring it to who you are. So itís a little different in that
aspect. I love doing television because I love being on set everyday
with the same people. So itís sad when you have to say goodbye. I
love playing Elise so much.
had to develop a bit of a Southern accent for this. How important
was setting for this movie?
I think it was very important. Elise is a very specific type of
Southern woman. She was very specific to Georgia and a lot of that
is what makes who she is who she is. Does that make sense? Like
where she came from? It was a very important part. Then playing in
the heat. Just the heat of it all. We start in New Orleans. It was
very hot. Even though it wasnít Georgia it has a lot of similar
qualities. Just playing [in] the constant heat you move slower, you
talk slower, youíre sweaty.
Do you have any particular plans for the premiere night?
I plan on watching it. I havenít seen it yet. So I plan on sitting
in front of my TV like everybody else and watching it with my loved
ones. And my dogs, of course, will be watching it.
This is a
little bit off topic but you just mentioned watching. I was
wondering since youíre no longer on Dexter
with the new episodes do you ever like watch the shows since youíre
not there anymore? And whatís it like? Do you ever think wow I
remember that I wish I was still doing that or anything like that?
Oh, you know, I have not had a
chance to watch it since my demise. Iíll relate it to being invited
to Christmas dinner and then asked to sit outside. Itís bitter
sweet. I still support the show. I think itís a fantastic show and
the work on itís great. But, at the end of the day, they chose to
kill Rita off. Itís opened so many doors for me career wise. I donít
live with regrets. So I donít look backwards I only look forwards.
about looking a little bit backwards but I was also a huge fan of
No Ordinary Family. In fact I spoke with Autumn [Reeser] last
year about the show and I was really hoping that would be renewed.
But what was that show like? That was very different type of show.
Was that fun to do?
Oh that was dream job for me in many ways because not only was I
challenged emotionally I got to be challenged physically as well.
Iím an exercise fanatic and a workout junkie and I love doing
stunts. I love having that kind of physical challenge everyday. It
was really the perfect marriage of all the things that I could do as
mastering comedy and drama and then also some of the action stuff.
It was so much fun to film and I think we were all sad that it did
not get to go on for a second season. But we had a really great
first season and at the end of the day no one can take that away
You had mentioned earlier that
you originally got started expecting to be in romantic comedy. Would
you like to do more light or comic type of work?
I donít know now. I love doing comedic work. I would love to explore
more of that but at the same time Iím still used to being challenged
in a different level. So I think I would like to play more roles
that have all those elements kind of wrapped up in one, if that
makes any sense. I think for me that Iíve evolved more into a
dramatic actress to my surprise (laughs) and Iím enjoying it.
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WHAT JULIE BENZ HAD TO SAY TO US IN 2017!
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