Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Interview (Army Wives): Brigid Brannagh: "I'm a Little Geeky"

From left: Wendy Davis, Brigid Brannagh, Kim Delaney, Sally Pressman, Catherine Bell
Lifetime Television’s record-breaking drama “Army Wives,” will be back March 4th (in a two-hour event) for its sixth (and some speculate, final) season. The years have brought the wives joy and sorrow, happiness and pain, and millions of viewers have been along for the ride. I spoke with series star Brigid Brannagh, who plays Pamela Moran, about her tenure on the show, and about special moments and lifelong friends.

Daytime Dial: I can’t believe it’s almost time for the sixth season of “Army Wives” to premiere. I can remember the day I received the press screener for pilot, and I knew right away that you had something special there.

Brigid Brannagh: I know, it’s crazy to me. Time flies! It feels like yesterday to me, and it also feels like a million years ago.

DD: Last season was especially heart wrenching, with Frank and Denise losing their son Jeremy. The scenes dealing with that — especially the funeral — must have been torture to film.

BB: Oh my God, we were all like, “Make this episode stop.” It was bad. I’ve been to enough funerals where “Taps” was played and the song is, just hearing it, it just evokes so many things. It’s impossible not to feel completely consumed with melancholy when “Taps” comes on, let alone that it’s playing over and over [for filming the scenes]. We’ve been surrounded by this world, by this military army life, for all of these years that you just think about a soldier that you love being gone, and you know he’s done his best for his country, and he’s gone, and he’s just a boy. It tore all of us up. Watching Terry Serpico (who plays Frank) walk in and trying not to cry.

It was so exhausting that I didn’t watch that episode for a few weeks, because I didn’t feel like crying again. I was like, “Enough.” And we certainly didn’t go light on it. It was kind of relentless to shoot it, but we all really appreciated what it was. It was just a long day of shooting.

DD: Tell me about working with Jeremy Davidson, who plays your husband, Chase.

BB: We work really hard on trying to get things right, working with the writers and trying to really dig into some of the things that have gone on for Pamela and Chase, and the arc of what our characters have done. We’re very much alike; we’re both a little geeky. Everybody has a different way of rehearsing. Some people think that if they work on something too much it takes away spontaneity. I disagree. For me, I think if you work on something so much, it becomes second nature. So, he and I do that together. There are so many things in our story lines that I’m proud of. Right now I’m just thinking of the divorce, which also killed me. That was heart wrenching. But when you’re working with somebody who you work well with, it’s like a dance. It just flies and it’s amazing.

DD: What’s it like on the “Army Wives” set?

BB: Everybody’s a decent person — there’s no drama about trailers or anything like that. Nobody cares about that sort of stuff, which is nice, because I hear horror stories about other shows. Everybody’s a decent person. Just starting with that is a pretty big deal. I spend a lot of time with Sally Pressman (Roxy) on screen, and she and I have a really easy working relationship. And I always feel humor working with Sally. Everything she does has a wink in it. And then Kim (Delaney, who plays Claudia) is really an emoter. Like when you’re doing an emotional scene and you’re watching Kim do her thing first, you’ll start crying just because she’s so good. She just always has that emotion right there at the ready.

Catherine (Bell, who plays Denise), we’re always cracking up, because Catherine has her phone in one hand and a sandwich in the other, and is totally doing her job. It’s very funny. I’m like, “Are you doing a love scene and you’ve got a turkey sandwich in your right hand?” It’s hilarious. And then Sterling (Brown, who plays Roland) is just standing back, kind of looking at everything. He’s such a good and decent person — although he likes to cause a little trouble. We have a good time.