“I wanted to honor Jodie, but couldn’t copycat her,” admits Rebecca Breeds about playing Clarice Starling in “Clarice.” The character, from the 1988 novel “The Silence of the Lambs,” won Jodie Foster an Oscar for the 1991 film of the same name. For our recent webchat, she continues, “It was such a wonderful experience reading the book. Gleaning all the Clarice parts. Jodie would have done the same thing. Julianne Moore would have done the same thing (for ‘Hannibal’ in 2001). Now I am a part of that legacy.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
The CBS drama takes place in 1993, one year after the events of “Lambs,” when Starling returns to FBI field work. The series explores how she asserts her voice in a male-dominated department, while coming to terms with trauma from her past. Breeds explains, “To maintain vulnerability while also stay effective is an incredible strength. I love that she’s a very intelligent character. For me it was such a relief to play a character that can go on that intellectual slide.”
Breeds confesses that in Clarice’s quieter moments, “She’s like a duck; cool on the surface but underneath the little legs are going for it. My younger years as an actress, I always felt the need to show that I’m reacting. As I’m growing up, I’m learning to trust myself. I’m learning to rest in the character a lot more. It’s just being a human. And that’s what we watch the telly for. I don’t have to do anything or say anything. I just need to be in this moment.”
In one episode (“Get Right with God”), Clarice is held captive and chemically paralyzed by a suspect. Breeds says, “She’s hallucinating; she has these intellectual conversations and there’s physical torture. To truthfully mash all that together was like I was in chemistry class again. Let’s chuck a few of these potions together and hopefully it doesn’t blow up.’”
The Aussie actress reflects on her time as a high school drama student, “It was insatiable for me. I couldn’t get enough. It’s lovely to learn that it never stops, but it also holds you accountable. Are you still learning? Our class was such a community thing. There wasn’t a star. We were all in it, creating something together. The community you create with other artists is so powerful. You have to be on board with the unknown. For ‘Clarice’ in particular, I can’t love them enough. I can’t wait to get on set and see what they are going to do. See how we’re going to evolve this thing off the page into real life.”
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