"Now I feel like a grown-up"
Mr. S: Right. Well, you have to sort of get yourself up to that level in order to really convey those depths of emotion.
Benz: Yeah, so I find myself, you know...crying...at commercials. Living in that vulnerable state all the time really does make you more vulnerable in real life.
Mr. S: I'm sure. As you mentioned before, you like to keep the mood on the set generally pretty light. The show itself can be pretty dark, but it can also be pretty comical at times, the tonality of it. How has working on Dexter been different, for you, from working on shows like Buffy and Angel and Roswell and things like that?
Benz: I think the biggest thing for me working on Dexter is the fact that I'm a woman. I mean, I feel like I've finally grown up. You know, working on Buffy and Angel, I was still, you know, emotionally young, still learning my craft, struggling with the pressures of it all, being overwhelmed by certain aspects of the business...all of that. At this point, I feel that...on Buffy and Angel, I was half-woman, half-child, approaching the work. Now I feel like a grown-up.
Mr. S: Do you think that has something to do with the freedom that being on a premium cable show can allow you? I mean, you know, there's obviously...again, just the thematic content of the show is a lot more deep, in some ways, than most major networks are going to allow their shows to be. Obviously, there's more freedom in terms of the language. Do you think it has something to do with that as well, or that you, yourself as an actor, are also reaching a more mature place for yourself and you feel a bit more confident in your ability to traverse the landscape of show business?
Benz: It's a mix of both. I think I did grow up. A lot. I also think when you work...I mean, I loved my work on Buffy and Angel, they were great shows to work on, and a great place...a very safe place to really hone your craft as an actor, and they constantly challenged you creatively, you were allowed to make choices, and if you fell on your face, nobody ridiculed you. It was a very safe environment to grow as an actor. However, it was on The WB, so there was a lot of pressure about how you looked and all that, so you couldn't go as far as maybe you wanted to. I did get to go pretty far with Darla as far as, you know, like when she's dying of syphilis and stuff, I could kind of get to, you know, look bad. But there's still the designer clothes, this and that...the push-up bras and all of that. On a Showtime show, where they really want reality, there's none of that. You know, I'm on camera with no makeup on, my hair unwashed, looking how I really look when I run around and am running errands and all of that. They don't want the glamour side, so that pressure is completely removed, which, in a way, makes you a little more vulnerable. You don't feel as though you're hiding behind a mask. You're able to strip away that outer layer and just sort of be raw. It's one of the joys of working on a cable network. It really is like doing a really great film.