With countless above the title names (Sigourney Weaver, Carla Gugino, Ellen Burstyn, Ciaran Hinds) starring on USA's Political Animals, it would be easy for the lesser-known named to be lost in the shuffle. But thanks to beyond brilliant performances from Sebastian Stan, James Wolk and Brittany Ishibashi, fans have been wowed even when the heavy hitters were not on-screen.
I caught up with Brittany, who plays Anne Ogami (fiance to The Barrish's prodigal son Douglas, played by Wolk), to talk about the origins of her character's issues, what's coming up next and why it's so fun to push the boundaries of what you can show on television.
TheInsider.com: What first struck you about the Political Animals script?
Brittany Ishibashi: It was really juicy and fun. These characters are so crazy and intense. They jumped off the page, and the events that happen to them were just so amazing. I would tear through every script to find out what was happening next.
Insider.com: At first I thought Anne was just the arm-candy character, but then her bathroom scene during The Salon revealed her to be equally flawed. Did that moment clinch your desire to play her?
Brittany: Yes, ultimately that's what really drew me to the show. You really didn't see that much of Anne in the pilot, but what you did see were these wonderful nuggets that were so real and so truthful and so whole. [Creator] Greg Berlanti is so good at saying so much with so little, and fleshing out these three-dimensional characters.
Insider.com: When will we learn more about her?
Brittany: We really don't get any meaty stuff with Anne, or deal with those issues, and the effect The Hammond's have on her until episode 3 through 6.
Insider.com: Is her bulimic behavior solely derived from joining this family?
Brittany: It was intensified by suddenly being thrown into this political world and being under this magnifying glass. The demands it puts on a human being are incredibly intense. She comes from this family where she always put on a facade to cover what was really going on inside. So part of her gets this role; knows how to project herself as the perfect fiance and perfect bride to be.
Insider.com: What excites you about what's coming up for Anne and Douglas?
Brittany: I love that you see them self-destruct behind closed doors, but build up their strength to keep going. For Anne, maintaining her relationship with Douglas is most important. They represent what Elaine and Bud could have been if they communicated more often. Or had he not cheated [laughs]. Anne and Doug are both working towards that, but sometimes Anne feels like she's carrying the brunt of that.
Insider.com: Does Anne have dreams of holding political office?
Brittany: Anne has absolutely no political aspirations. She just happened to fall in love with a guy who is heavily embedded in that world. I don't think she ever saw herself anywhere near the world of politics, so she's trying to support the man she loves without sacrificing her own voice or conceding her own dreams. It's tough. It's a struggle for her.
Insider.com: Many people were buzzing about the show's depiction of sex, both gay and straight, in such frank ways. What was the discussion behind the scenes like during Anne and Doug's sex scene?
Brittany: It really was all about making this as real and true as possible, and also seeing what we could get away with [laughs]. It was so liberating a fun as a group of actors to come in there and feel that out. It was really, really exciting to play.
Insider.com: Will we see their wedding take place?
Brittany: I can't tell you that! But we do continue to move ahead with wedding plans while trying to do it against the world events that keep interfering. You also see their relationship evolve as their aspirations as a couple are tested from the stresses of Douglas' work – and the family dynamic. Planning any wedding is stressful, but especially with this family, so you multiply that times a million. They're confronted with a lot of surprising situations that hopefully surprise fans as well.
Political Animals airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on USA.
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