July 12th, 2012 by thetvchick
You really should tune into Political Animals on Sunday. I guarantee you’ll love it. Brittany Ishibashi plays Anne, Douglas’s (Douglas is played by James Wolk) fiancée — a bright, beautiful young interior designer who is poised to become the newest member of the Hammond family. But landing one of the country’s most eligible bachelors means signing up for a life with no distinction between the personal and the political, where every private moment because subject to public scrutiny – a life Anne hasn’t yet adjusted to. I recently had the chance to talk to Brittany at a media junket where she talked about which political families she studied for her role, how Anne and Doug met and her first experience with politics.
What inspired you to play this part?
What I loved about Political Animals was that I’d always wanted to work with Greg Berlanti because I love what he can do with a family drama and I love how he writes relationships. They’re so honest and so real. And everyone has secrets, and it’s fascinating because you get a peek behind the closed doors and you see what really makes a person tick. But the writing on the pilot is what drew me to this part. In the pilot, you don’t really see much of Anne, but the parts that you did see were so well written. You’ve got these really juicy nuggets of her issues and what motivated her. I thought that’d be really fascinating to play, and I knew after talking to Greg that it was going to be an experience that would be very collaborative. Though once obviously the cast started coming together, it was like, it’s an absolute dream.
Did you study any political families for your role?
We studied a lot of political families for this show. I actually watched a lot of really fascinating documentaries on the Kennedys and the Clintons, and even the royal family. I watched a bunch of things about Will and Kate and their dynamic. What I thought was really interesting was that you really got to see the people behind the policy and really got to see the family dynamic, especially with the Kennedys with Joe Kennedy and how that informed this political dynasty and his families choices and how those decisions that were being made that affected so many people might have come just down to a son wanting to make his father happy or not wanting to disappoint or just to keep the family dynamic healthy and intact, and it was just fascinating for me to watch all of those and put it together.
Are we going to learn more about how Anne and Doug met and how you got into the crazy family?
You are absolutely gonna see [it], and it’s exciting, because Anne never saw herself anywhere near politics and just kind of happened to fall in love with a guy who is deeply embedded in that world. As this initial little mini-season goes on you really get to see what makes them work and their ideal as a couple. They met the same age as Elaine and Bud met, 22, and this constant idea that we’re gonna keep our relationship honest and we’re gonna communicate and we’re gonna be everything that Elaine and Bud weren’t. You kind of really get to see how even under the most noble ambitions, you still crack under the pressures of media scrutiny or just the high-octane political world, which is so great. You really get to see a lot of fun stuff happen between Doug and Anne in the first six.
Is your view of the political landscape that’s really happening changed by what you’ve been doing through your show?
My political landscape has changed. I have become more engaged just by the nature of working on a show that is enmeshed in current events and the personal lives within it, but I think what’s been most fascinating for me has been just seeing behind the closed doors and the people behind the policy and the back-room deals and the rivalries and the alliances and why the choices are made. I think any time that you can have a glimpse into the workings behind the political world, behind that curtain, I think it can encourage people to maybe have a different perspective when they see what goes into it and that’s a really good thing. Hopefully our show does that in addition to being really entertaining and being really fun to watch.
In addition to, you said you looked at families like the Kennedys, were there any people that have married into families like that that you looked to for research? It’s kind of like the pressure of meeting in-laws times a thousand.
Times a billion! It’s interesting, I read a lot about Carolyn Bisset, a lot about Kate Middleton even. These women who are very strong, very capable, very charismatic in their own right but all of a sudden they’re placed under this insane magnifying glass in this fish bowl, and how they deal with it and the pressures. You see in the pilot obviously one of the ways in which Anne tries to maintain some control and clarity. It’s so devastating. I grew up as a dancer and I was constantly surrounded by eating disorders and how it was just a way for these girls to maintain some sort of control in this crazy, crazy world.
This is a six-part series, will everything be solved by the end of it?
Is anything ever really solved? Amazingly, you’d think there’d be so much to try and fit into six episodes, but it created new alliances, opened new doors, and set the stage for some wonderful connections between these relationships, these characters, that we’ll really want to see further down the line.
When you were a kid, do you remember your first entrée into politics?
This is actually a really funny example because I had no idea what was happening, but I knew that I needed to do something and partake in something and so I tried to have a tea and cookies sale. I don’t really know, oh, it was for a friend’s mother who was running for the school board. I didn’t know how to make tea, and I took cookies from a package in the house. So I literally just had a tea pot and glasses and they’d be like, “what are you selling?”, and I’d say, “Oh, I’m having tea and cookies”. And they would always say they’d have a cup of tea, so I’d give them a little cookie and take my little tea pot and pour them a cup of imaginary tea, hand it to them, and be like, “that’ll be a quarter please”. I remember the looks on these women’s faces in Orange County who are like [whispers] “there’s no tea in it”. So I sat there and I smiled and I was like, “have a good day”. To me it was helping a friend’s mom and helping raise awareness. Getting her name out there.
Be sure to tune in Sunday night at 10 PM to USA for the premiere of Political Animals.Tweet