This past Wednesday, Cinefilles was invited to the set of Masters of Sex as part of the 2014 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour. While there, we spoke to a number of regular cast members, including Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan and Caitlin Fitzgerald. In the midst of it all, we caught incoming guest cast member and former Breaking Bad star Betsy Brandt coming in and got a few minutes to talk with her about her character, Barbara, who makes her series debut in this evening’s episode. Below is the transcript of our short, but sweet conversation.
Have you been in the kitchen yet?
[The Masters] don’t invite my character over!
No, not yet!
There’s this really great copper oven over here, but the coolest thing might be the dishwasher, which must be one of the first ones ever made.
It’s good to be king! [Laughs]
You’re mainly in the office, though, right? Can you tell me about how your character comes into play?
I enter the world [in] Episode 2 this season. I start out as Bill Masters’ secretary. I don’t know if we could define this character as secretary, but she’s a secretary of some sorts.
So, she’s more like an assistant?
No, she’s a secretary. She’s just not the best secretary in the world. And as you can imagine, Bill Masters is not so cool with someone not very efficient.
It was so great, though. I was totally intimidated to meet Michael Sheen cause he is … Michael Sheen, but he was so wonderful to me. He’s also one of the funniest people–I say that and I’ve worked with Bryan Cranston. I said [to Michael], ‘It’s such a pleasure to meet you.’ He said, ‘It is, yes. Yes, it is,’ with a smile on his face. [Laughs] And then I was relaxed. Like, oh, he made a joke.
How do you like being in period costume? I believe your character has glasses?
Yes! I have some clothes, but when I have to change for another scene, I wait until the last possible second because I don’t want to take them off. They’re phenomenal and [costume designer] Ane Crabtree is amazing.
To work in period is very different for you, though.
Oh, yes! I asked Lizzy Caplan my first day, ‘How do you go to the bathroom in all this? Wait, is it going to take me an hour?’ [Laughs] It’s amazing, though. You do the whole thing–the bra, the stockings.
Does it make you feel–for lack of a better word–lazy in your everyday life to not be putting on so many layers?
I feel very thankful. [Laughs] I’m not really a Spanx girl, but I love wearing it for this.
Is there a particular item of clothing you’re dying to take home?
Absolutely. There’s a few, but there’s one that I’ve already begged for. It’s a skirt that they made for me out of vintage material, and it’s gorgeous. I’m trying to make a case for it, so we’ll see!
[Ed’s note:We talked to Ane Crabtree later in the evening, and she said this skirt will reveal a lot about Barbara. Apparently there’s a “secret thing” about her, and Crabtree built that into the skirt.]
You’re going back to drama with this after doing comedy with The Michael J. Fox Show. Do you want to still do some comedic stuff on the side, or are you done with that realm for now?
I have nothing against having some laughs! I like to mix it up!
I’m so thankful. The show I’m doing for ABC–we’ll shoot the pilot in September–is a totally different character from Marie, or from Barbara, or from Annie Henry. So, for me, that’s the biggest win for me. To play different women that I love, but different women.
Were you watching Masters of Sex before you got this part?
Absolutely! I read the pilot while I still had two seasons of Breaking Bad to do and I was like, ‘This is fantastic.’ I told my manager, ‘Get me on show!’ and she was like, ‘You already have a job at Sony!’ [Laughs]
Everyone’s been so wonderful to me because when you’re a huge fan of the show and then you go work on it, you love everyone. I don’t ever want to leave. Like, ‘I know I’m not in this episode, but I’d just like to stop by!’ And to work with Michael and Lizzy, I mean, it’s so amazing. He’s amazing and she’s just so fearless.
Watch Masters of Sex Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on The Movie Network (Canada) and Showtime (U.S.), and 10 p.m MT/9 p.m. PT on Movie Central. Look for more pieces on Season 2 in the coming weeks.