Julie Benz Talks ‘Ricochet’

Do I really need to tell you that I’m a fan of Julie Benz? From Buffy to Angel to Dexter, she’s had a large part in my ’90s and early 2000s viewing habits. Heck, I even remember one episode of Sliders about tornadoes when she guest starred. So yeah, I’m a fan.

So I was really excited to see that she’d be starring alongside John Corbett and Gary Cole in TNT’s movie Ricochet, which premieres tonight on TNT. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, Ricochet follows two homicide detectives as they investigate a murder in high society Savannah. Julie plays Elise, the wife of corrupt Judge Laird, and her character leaves you guessing throughout the movie.

I was lucky enough to participate in a conference call with Julie, where she discussed her love of mystery novels, the challenge of playing Elise, the stuffy Southern weather, and even a few past roles. Check out the Q&A below, and don’t forget to watch Ricochet tonight on TNT!

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The first question I’ve got for you is…were you familiar with Sandra Brown’s novel prior to working with the film? – Mediamikes.com

I was familiar with Sandra Brown. I had read Ricochet a long time ago — like a while ago — and really enjoyed it. I’m an avid reader, and I love her books.

What did you like most about playing [Elise]? And how did you prepare for the role?

What I loved was how…the challenge of playing Elise was how close she keeps everything inside, and you don’t know if she’s good or bad, and you’re never sure exactly what she’s thinking. And that was a real challenge for me to play. And I had to work really hard on an accent. So I worked very hard on my accent for the movie as well. And that helps me really get into Elise because with that specific type of Southern accent she moved slower and talked slower than I do, and that allowed me to actually be a little more serious…

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It’s really an honor to talk to you. You’re one of my favorite actresses actually…I’ve followed your career ever since Hi, Honey I’m Home, and I have a website about that show… – TV Megasite

Oh my goodness.

I know, going back a ways…I was wondering in this movie you have to sort of — we don’t 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 wasn’t difficult in the fact that, I mean, I understood what her intentions were, sure. I mean, the way she got around to doing stuff wasn’t necessarily all that normal. But in her heart everything, like her intentions behind it, all was pure…But you had to actually admit, too, she’s a little crazy for what she did.

Well, you’re good at playing crazy ladies like Darla in Angel.

Thank you.

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[Read more after the jump!]

Since the movie is an adaptation from the book, how much will we see compared and contrast with what we get to read? – Starry Constellation Magazine

I think it does an amazing job of adapting the book into the movie. It — the book, I mean — there’s so much information in the book, so you actually, you know, get a lot more backstory, but the film itself follows the action quite specifically.

And you have such a really wonderful online following through Twitter. How has social media really been playing into the promotion of projects like Ricochet for you?

Oh, I mean, it’s always so great. I know I can — anytime, you know, 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. I think it’s a great way to not just promote the work that you do but also to have direct contact with fans, as well as, you know, promote any kind of charities that you’re involved in.

And with 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’s shot… And then, of course, I mean, you have John Corbett and Gary Cole so what’s not to watch?

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Well, you just mentioned Gary Cole. He’s always such a fascinating actor. What was he like to work with? – PopEntertainment.com

Oh, he’s the pro, man… [He] is an ultimate gentlemen and…just a pro. Just watching him grasp his character and…the choices that he made to play Judge Laird, it’s like being in a master class watching him work.

All right. Now over your career, it seems to have…a lot of roles that have to do with crime or killing or punishment. You mentioned that you’re a veracious reader earlier. Are you into that type of fiction or films or stuff like that? Or is that just sort of like a coincidence that you’re always playing that role?

You know, I am. I do love a great mystery. And so, yes, I guess it’s just what’s — how it’s panned out. I mean I, you know, 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. And I’ve always been a fan of especially mystery novels. Just I’ve read every single one probably out there. I love trying to figure it all out, and I love being scared.

Okay. Now, also recently after you spent so much time on series work like Dexter and No Ordinary Family and now A Gifted Man, how was it different to just sort of work on a one-off film, where just sort beginning, middle, and…

Well, it’s a little overwhelming at first because, you know, we shot it in 18 days, so it’s 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, you know, before you get there. And make choices and do as much research as you can. Rather than when you are in a TV series; they start kind of crafting the role for you. And they start writing it in your voice after you’re cast and tailoring it to who you are.

So, you know, it’s a little different in that aspect. But it’s — I would — I love doing television because I love being on set every day with the same people. So it’s sad when you have to say goodbye.

And I love playing Elise so much so…

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So I did notice you had to don a bit of a Southern accent for this. How important was setting for this movie? – Raked Reviews

Well, I think it was very important. I mean…Elise is a very specific type of Southern woman. She was, you know, 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? So it was a very important part…

And then playing in the heat was just the heat of it all. You know, we start in New Orleans; it was very hot. And even though it wasn’t Georgia, it has a lot of similar qualities. And just playing the constant heat you move slower, you talk slower, you know, you’re sweaty.

Well, do you have any particular plans for premiere night?

I plan on watching it. I haven’t seen it yet. So I plan on sitting in front of my TV like everybody else and watching it with, you know, my loved ones, and my dogs, of course, will be watching it.

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Thanks for talking again, Julie. This is a little bit off topic but you just mentioned watching it. I was wondering — since you’re no longer on Dexter — with the new episodes, do you ever watch the shows since you’re not there anymore? And what’s it like? Do you ever think, “Wow, I remember that. I wish I was still doing that,” or anything like that? – PopEntertainment.com.

Oh, you know, I have not had a chance to watch it since my demise. And, you know, I’ll relate it to being, you know, invited to Christmas dinner and then asked to sit outside.

Right, yes.

It’s that kind of — it’s bittersweet. I mean, I still support the show, and I think it’s a fantastic show, and the work on it’s great. But, you know…at the end of the day, you know, they chose to kill Rita off, and it’s opened so many doors for me career wise. But, you know, I don’t live with regrets.

So I don’t look backwards I only look forwards.

Oh, I mean, and also sorry 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 it, and I was really hoping that would be renewed. But what was that show like? That was a very different type of show. But 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. I’m a exercise fanatic and a workout junkie, and I love doing stunts. And I love having that kind of physical challenge every day. So it was really the perfect marriage of all the things that I could do as mastering, you know, comedy and drama and then also some of the action stuff.

So 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, you know, at the end of the day, no one can take that away from us.

And one last thing. You had mentioned earlier that you originally got started expecting to be in romantic comedy. Would you like to do more light type of work?

I don’t know now. I mean now it’s — I mean I love doing comedic work. I would love to explore more of that, but at the same time, I’m still used to being challenged on a different level. So I think it would — I would like to play more roles that have all those elements kind of wrapped up in one if that makes any sense.

But I think for me that I’ve evolved more into a dramatic actress to my surprise, and I’m enjoying it.

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Don’t forget to watch Julie Benz in Ricochet tonight at 9/8c on TNT.

*images courtesy from TNT

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