The Julie Benz Interview

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"Now I feel like a grown-up"

Mr. S: Okay, well, if you can't spoil anything, I'm not going to ask you to.

Benz: Agh, my dog just bit me, I'm sorry.

Mr. S: Oh, that's all right.

Benz: Um, no, I don't want to spoil it, but it definitely gets dealt with in a very creative way.

Mr. S: Okay. Yeah, I've always been very curious about what Rita's reaction would be if she were to find out what Dexter does. You know, going back to that sort of moral ambiguity discussion...just because she's someone who's dealt with so much violence in her life, I've always been curious about how she would feel. I would imagine she would be a very conflicted character when it comes to that sort of thing, because Dexter is obviously someone who is...he "takes out the trash," but he's still killing people, so I've always thought that she would have the most interesting reaction to finding out what it is that he does.

Benz: Yes, and Rita's driven now by protecting the children, at this point, and I think she would do whatever it took to protect her children.

Mr. S: Right, no, I totally agree. That always seems to be her biggest motivation, especially, you know...even early on, in the first's the first time we see Paul's life seeping back in, when one of his, I guess, "cronies" comes by and he needs money for some cocaine, and it's a very sort see Rita very on edge, and her first instinct is to, you know, just make the situation go away. She just doesn't want to have that be a part of her life anymore.

Benz: Yes, and she does suffer a lot of guilt for exposing her children for as long as they were exposed to the violence of Paul. I mean, they witnessed the beatings and the rages and all of that, and she does suffer a lot of guilt from that.

Mr. S: And you definitely play that very well, and it's something that comes across perfectly.

Benz: Thank you!

Mr. S: But it's also subtle -- I mean, I'm not trying to kiss your ass or anything, but it's a very delicate performance and it requires that because there are a lot of layers to her emotional range. …Continuing on with the theme of violence, there's a scene in the pilot episode where Rita and Dexter are sitting in the car, and they're discussing the Ice Truck Killer, and Dexter, who's clearly excited by the conversation, grabs Rita's thigh very sexually and aggressively. I was hoping you could discuss your perception of the role of violence in the show, not just in terms of what Dexter does, but really as it pertains to Rita and Dexter's relationship and love life. You know, if you wanted to elaborate on that at all.

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