The Julie Benz Interview

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"Now I feel like a grown-up"

Benz: It's such a joy to be able to work with someone of his caliber. He's so dedicated to the role, and so committed in the way he approaches a script...I mean, in that scene we were talking about, where he slices my thigh?

Mr. S: Right.

Benz: Originally it was written that he grabs and kisses me, and it wasn't working in rehearsal. We couldn't make it work. And finally, he stopped and he said, "What if I just...sliced her thigh?" And it just opened the scene up in a whole different way, and all of a sudden, it worked.

Mr. S: I can imagine. I feel, just thinking about that scene right now, if you guys had actually done the kiss, it seems like that would have been overkill, in a way. It's almost like it's grabbing for too much, when it's really not about the kiss.

Benz: You know, it was just one of those scenes where neither one of us could make it work. Something just didn't feel organic about it. And then he just said, "What if I sliced your thigh?" And all of a sudden it just opened up and flowed. That's the brilliance of his mind, how well he understands Dexter...I just look to him as my leader.

Mr. S: Well, that's really great, but I gotta tell you, it's not like you're phoning it in, I mean, I'm immensely impressed with your performance as well.

Benz: Ooooh, well, thank you! No, I definitely don't phone it in, I mean, you can't phone that in. I mean, Rita...she definitely is...close to me as far as the vulnerability of her, and the insecurity of her. It is definitely, I mean, it's magnified in her, but it's things that I struggle with on a daily basis, and living within that vulnerability. Now, I have great coping mechanisms to kind of cover that up, which Rita doesn't really have...I mean, she's been through a hell of a lot more than I've ever been through, but once I'm able to tap into that side of myself, you know...and when I work on the show, I'm a lot more emotional and vulnerable in my real life! [giggles]

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 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?

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