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Julie Benz

Julie Benz - Smgfan.com Exclusive Interview Part II

Sunday 23 November 2003, by Webmaster

SMGFAN.com’s Exclusive Interview with Julie Benz (Part 2)

Glenn:Tell us a little about your experience working with Steven Spielberg in the television mini-series ’Taken’. Was it intimidating to work on a Spielberg project?

JB: Oh, yes, definitely! He personally cast me in Taken. He was watching Angel with his family and saw me on it. Eventually, that’s how it led to me being cast in Taken. So, that was nerve-wracking. To know that he picked me, hand picked me for this. But on top of it, knowing that he was just sitting there watching the dailies everyday. It was really intense. I like auditioning, personally. I really like it cause then I get a sense of what they’re looking for. If you’re offered something, you’re not really sure exactly what is that they saw in you that they think is the character so it’s a little scary, I feel. Although I like it. [laughs] It does cause me to work a little harder to figure out what it is that they saw in that part that made them say, "oh, we’d love to put her in this." Especially since Kate (her character in the mini-series) is extremely different than Darla. It took a lot of me to figure that one out.

JPM: But you did a wonderful job.

JB: Oh, thank you!

JPM: How true is it that you decided to turn down a shot at a role in Eyes Wide Shut because it required going topless?

JB: Oh actually [laughs], that whole story has gone out of whack. What happened was they told me for the call-back that I would have to audition topless and I decided that was not my thing and because they didn’t send out a script, it was a very top secret project, and they really didn’t tell you what it was. But once I saw the movie I understood. But prior to seeing the movie I just thought it’s one thing to do nudity in the film once your cast in the role and you’re working on a character and if it needs that, that’s one thing but to audition and be put on tape and I had a whole problem with being put on tape for an audition because you just don’t know where that tape was gonna end up. And I just thought to myself, for my own integrity, I just decided not to go further. For me it was just a decision I made and it’s really no big deal. [laughs] The story got all kinda twisted. I mentioned it in an interview once. I was never really offered any part. It was that I was going to audition topless and I thought, eh, not for me. For the first audition I had to do it in a bikini and for call-back you have to do it topless. And I just went ok, not for me. Auditioning topless just wasn’t my thing.

JPM: I agree. Someday that tape is going to end up somewhere, on the internet no less.

JB: Yeah or the DVD probably. [laughs] I would’ve loved to have worked with Stanley Kubrick but I just didn’t feel comfortable with that kinda thing.

Glenn: Seth Green recently said of his movie role in "Party Monsters" that it was probably the role he was most proud of. Of all your projects, is there one that stands out as the one you feel most proud of?

JB: Umm...[laughs] I can tell you the ones I’m not proud of. No, no, no. [laughs] There’s quite a few roles, work, I’m really proud of. Darla is especially one of them. I really feel that I was given the opportunity to grow as an actress and really challenge myself and use her almost as an acting school in a way. And I’m really proud of my work on Angel and with what I got to do with her. I’m also very proud of my work on Taken. For me to just play a ’woman’ [laughs] and that’s it was a big deal. There was no arched eyebrow, no hidden agenda. Just to be a woman trying to survive was very challenging for me to play. Um, and I’m also very proud of my work on George of the Jungle 2. For me to be able to stretch those ’comedy muscles’ again after so long of not having done comedy and trying to find the essence of character that is so broad and still keep her very real. It was a challenge to do. I think I was able to achieve some semblance of that.

JPM: Out of all of the three projects you mentioned, which one is your favorite project?

JB: Umm, that’s too hard. They’re all my favorites. They all offer something different. I mean with Darla, I lived with her for 6 years and that makes her very special and the whole experience very special. ’Taken’ was a whole completely different project. It was very epic and groundbreaking. And to be a part of something like that is an honor. And with George (of the Jungle 2) I got to be fun and silly, which I haven’t been in a few years. We shot in Australia so it’s always great when you go on location.

JPM: What was it like working with Sarah?

JB: We had tested together for All My Children and I was blown away by her back then. When you test, you watch each other test and she went first and I was fifth, there were six of us. I remember just watching her and saying, wow she’s really good. I admire her work ethic so much. She’s one of the most professional and hardest working actresses that I’ve ever worked with. And that first season of Buffy especially, she lived and breathed the show even on her days off. And at a young age, I couldn’t have done it.

Glenn: What are your current/future projects that you’d like the fans to watch out for?

JB: Right now I’m getting ready to do a movie for the Hallmark Channel called ’Dear Mr. God’. It’s a really special story about a woman and her horse. It’s based on a true story about a woman whose horse goes blind and she rides him to a ’dressage competition’ and ends up winning which is big feat in and of itself, because normally blind horses aren’t even able to be ridden so it’s a really special story. I’m really excited about it. I’m in training for horseback riding.

JPM: Do we know when it’s airing yet?

JB: No, it’ll probably be in a couple of months. It’s with Marsha Mason.

JPM: But you have the title role?

JB: Yes.

JPM: What do you think is your greatest achievement so far, not necessarily career-wise?

JB: I would have to say my marriage. I really take pride in the relationship that I have with my husband. And the way we work our marriage. To us marriage is first, everything else is second. I just feel that I got very lucky finding a man like John (Kassir - also an actor). It’s a special relationship that I’m thankful for everyday of my life.

JPM: *insert me getting a lump in my throat* I hope he’s sitting there listening to you

JB: [laughs] He’s actually upstairs but he knows. I’ve been married 5 years.

JPM: Wow! In Hollywood standards that’s like 25 years, isn’t it?

JB: [laughs] Isn’t it silly?

JPM: Have you found the meaning of life yet? (Sorry, I always ask this question)

JB: The meaning of life...I think the meaning of life is, I think it’s love. [laughs] I think it’s about loving and being loved. Trying to live life with love in your heart and treating people in a nice way. I mean that’s what I really think it is. It’s not about money or career. Cause at the end of the day, honestly, at the end of the day when you’re in your death bed and that’s it, I think it’s the relationships you’ve had and the people that you’ve touched and the people that have touched you that matter. The basis of all of that is love.

JPM: Amen!