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Julie Benz - "Rambo 4" Movie - Nydailynews.com Interview
dimanche 20 janvier 2008, par Webmaster
Actress Julie Benz survived camp Stallone while making the new ’Rambo’
Talk to Julie Benz about the glamorous life of a Hollywood actress and she’ll tell you about being tied to a pole next to a pigpen for a scene in "Rambo" - the day the pigs broke through the fence and started coming for her.
"I was terrified, because someone had told me that if they think you smell good, they’ll eat you !" Benz says. "I kept thinking, ’I hope I smell bad !’ It’s scary to come in contact with a 400-pound beast when you’re tied up. Even as someone came to rescue me, I heard Sly say, ’Keep the cameras rolling !’"
Benz, speaking by telephone from Los Angeles, laughs - partly at the memory, partly at the fact that she’s actually referred to Sylvester Stallone as "Sly." After being cast as the female lead in the first "Rambo" film in 20 years, which opens Friday, it took her a while to stop calling the action icon "Mr. Stallone" during their time filming "Rambo," which writer and director Stallone hopes will rescue one of his signature characters the same way last year’s "Rocky Balboa" capped the saga of his Philly boxer.
"He hates it when I call him ’Mr. Stallone,’" Benz, 35, says of the 61-year-old star, whom she admits was a favorite of hers when she was growing up. "But anytime you meet somebody whose work you’ve admired for a long time - when I went to audition, it was all I could do not to show that my hands were shaking. I had to get past my shyness to play opposite him. I went through a couple of phases - calling him ’Mr. Stallone,’ then calling him ’Hey, you.’
"It took a while before I could call him ’Sly’ without giggling."
In "Rambo," Stallone’s Vietnam-vet soldier for hire, John Rambo (first seen in 1982’s relatively sedate thriller "First Blood," then elevated to iconic status in "Rambo : First Blood Part II" (1985) and last seen battling the Russians in Afghanistan in 1988’s "Rambo III"), is living peacefully in a backwater of Thailand (where the film was shot), piloting a boat and catching snakes for a riverside tourist attraction.
Benz’s Sarah asks him to ferry her and a group of doctors up the river to Burma, so they can help oppressed tribes. When the vicious Burmese military takes the doctors captive, it’s up to Rambo to rescue them.
Bullets, blood and body parts all fly, of course - but in her part, Benz never touched a weapon.
"I’m not a gun person," she admits. "But those were big guns. On some days, it was so loud and intense - the sound just rips through your gut. You’re not really acting ; you’re reacting."
A slight, slim, 5-foot-4 native of Pittsburgh, Benz was nationally ranked at No. 13 in figure skating when she retired at age 16. A stress fracture derailed her as a young teen and, by the time she resumed skating, she’d discovered acting. So she put her athletic career on ice.
"Plus, figure skaters have a shorter shelf life," she notes.
After graduating from New York University, she moved to Los Angeles, where she started landing TV roles. She was eventually cast on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as Buffy’s nemesis, the evil vampire Darla, a role that carried over to "Buffy" spinoff "Angel."
Benz, so slinky and in control as the undead, is practically unrecognizable in her latest series, Showtime’s "Dexter." She plays Rita, a single mother who has survived an abusive marriage, and now is in a romantic relationship with a clean-cut police forensic scientist (Michael C. Hall) - who secretly is a serial killer who targets murderers and other nasty people.
"At the core, they’re kind of the same. They’re both very damaged women," Benz says. "They both tap into very different sides of me."
Neither, however, puts Benz into quite the state she was in at the end of a day playing a pigpen prisoner in "Rambo."
"I’d go back to the hotel and have to take three showers, just to get the first layer of mud off - and then take three more showers and a bath to finish the job," she says. "I don’t think I was clean the whole time I was filming."
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