Last Resort Interview: Daisy Betts Talks Taking the Lead

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This Thursday, ABC's new thriller, Last Resort, takes yet another turn, as Lt. Grace Shepherd captains the USS Colorado through a perilous repair operation while Captain Chaplin is stuck on the island on "Skeleton Crew."

I spoke with Daisy Betts about whether the Lieutenant is ready to take the lead role on the sub, what attracted her to this military drama,and what unlikely role she'd jump at given the chance.

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What attracted you to this project and the role of Lt. Grace Shepherd? The great thing about Lt. Shepherd is that she's so gutsy and that she's making her own path in this very male dominated world.  I think she's a really good, strong, determined, empowered female role and I love that kind of thing. There's moments of vulnerability that play as well and accusations of nepotism and favoritism from Marcus Chaplin so there's all of these layers to what she has to deal with.  I saw that there were so many places for her character to go in this world and in this potential position of power. Yeah, that's why I was drawn to it in the first place and I haven't been disappointed. Every week there's been something new for her to deal with. It just gets more and more fun.

Lt. Shepherd doesn't get to play off of many other female characters. What's it like to work on such a male dominated set?
There are actually five main female roles in the show and five main male roles. It just happens that the scenes that I'm in, yeah they are the military scenes but the show itself is definitely not male dominated. There's great stuff with Tani, Sophie, Christine, and Kylie. They make up a huge part of the show as well.  I just don't have that much interaction with them as Grace.  So when I'm on the submarine or the military camp on the island, scenes like that, there's definitely a lot of testosterone floating around and that can be interesting and overwhelming at times.  It just feeds the character, in my mind, as I look around for female support and there is none.  It really helps me fuel that feeling for the character.

It looks like Grace will be given quite a challenge in the next episode "Skeleton Crew."  What can you tell us about that?
I love this upcoming episodes. It's one of my favorites and the most challenging episode to shoot so far.  Essentially, Marcus and Sam are off doing negotiations with people that have come over from D.C. So they're otherwise engaged and they find out that an underwater array is down so the submarine has to go out and fix it. So that only leaves Grace to head the mission and be captain of the submarine. She jumps at the opportunity. She's waited for this and has been training for this. She's very happy to have the opportunity but she has no idea how the situation will turn.

She also finds out that the COB is going to be on the boat with her and so the whole time they're on the boat he doesn't let up with his little cracks at Grace. So not only does she have to deal with being in charge of the submarine but she has to deal with the COB. There are lots of elements that challenge her in this episode but she really steps up to the plate. It was a really hard episode because there was just so much jargon and it was all happening very quickly and you have to know which part of the sub you're actually referring to and when you're talking about when you're talking about bubbles and degrees. But it was good fun and I think that people will respond to what Grace goes through in this next episode.

Your scenes with Robert Patrick are some of my favorites on the show. Are they fun to play and what is your take on their contentious relationship?
They are a lot of fun to play, those scenes and there are more of them to come, especially in this episode coming up. (In "Voluntold") you got a bit of a taste for Grace realizing that he does add value as someone that the enlisted men will look up to as when they were talking about the stay / go list. She realizes that if she can convince him to stay that he may have a lot of impact on what the other enlisted men choose to do. So they may not like one another and they may stare one another down with that kind of intensity but it's with a I don't like you but I can use you

That kind of continues but then in this episode we see him kind of heckling her in a way while she's in charge of the boat with a You'll never be my Captain, and things like that. So she just like can't get a break from this guy. But Robert Patrick's a lot of fun to work with and these things always play out in a very fun kind of way. Actually the end of the next episode you see just a little bit of respect gained which is really nice because I think she's earned it.

I'll admit I'm a big fan of Andre Braugher. What's it like to work with him?
Oh my gosh. He's just the most amazing actor I've ever worked with, actually. He's the ultimate professional. He's always prepared and he knows the script inside out. He's just open to having conversations and helping you work through anything in the script that you're not getting or not feeling.  He's just amazing and when he opens his mouth he could be reading anything, the phonebook and it would sound amazing. He just has a way of turning things from the page in a way that you're not expecting. He's a wonderful man and a wonderful actor and I'm so privileged to be working with him at the moment.

Grace appears to be one of Captain Chaplin's most loyal crewman. Does she ever question this path he's put them on?
I think she definitely does. In upcoming episodes I think you'll see that trust becomes a big issue. Actually based on what happened (in "Voluntold") with the crew getting messages to try and kill the Captain, I think trust is now a huge issue. So although she has trust in him, it becomes an issue where Marcus and Sam can no longer trust anybody and that includes Grace. I think it's kind of pensive to her in a way because I think she stood by him and she realizes that really there's no one except herself that she can trust. It's a really interesting dynamic. I mean she's always going to have a loyalty to him but if he doesn't trust her then maybe she'll start questioning her trust in him too.

That's a twist, especially after "Voluntold," when she basically put herself in front of him when the shots were being fired.
Yeah, that's absolutely…she sees that as her job, I think and she will protect him but I think he just shrugged it off. He was like, I'm fine and got up.  She thinks of him like a father figure. She would do anything for him but those dynamics will definitely change. With everything that's thrown at them in the upcoming episodes and the confidence she gains as her own person and the role of leading everybody (in this week's episode) I think that gives her the confidence to be a real independent thinker and if she had to be an independent leader as well, I think she'd be up to it.

If you had your pick of any show currently on TV, other than Last Resort, what would be your dream job?
You know what, someone asked me this before and Mad Men came to mind and now I can't think of what it was…Oh yeah! I know what it was going to be and it's a totally different tack. I said Mad Men because I like that era and I totally love that show and I like the idea of getting into a different time period. But I really like Happy Endings. The comedy. I think that that would be a really fun show to be on because I think those characters are hilarious and really my age demographic. I've actually not done much comedy but when I have had pilot seasons I've been up for quite a few comedies but I've always landed in drama in the end. But that's my other dream job.

Is there anything else you can share with the fans about what's coming up on Last Resort?
I think the episodes just get better and better. I think the momentum's building on this show. It's equally as appealing for men and women and just spread the word and you won't be disappointed.

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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