Anne Heche Shares Her Passion for Military Drama ‘The Brave’

Anne Heche The Brave

In her nearly 30 year journey on television, Anne Heche has done it all. She got her start on soaps in Another World, conquered romantic dramedies with Men in Trees and Everwood, starred in adult cable series like Hung, and explored Sci-fi and Mystery with Aftermath and Dig. But her new NBC drama, The Brave, highlights a branch of the U.S. military that has never been exposed on TV before.

We chatted with Heche about the series, in which she plays Patricia Campbell, the Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who guides an elite Omega Team as they embark on missions across the globe.

What drew you to the role of Patricia Campbell?

I realized that I needed and wanted to be able to not just talk about a single character within a story. I wanted to be able to talk about a global story. And to me Trish Campbell is the embodiment of a global heart. She uses her intelligence, her understanding and her compassion to run an Omega Team so that we can help save lives and become more of a united world. And I believe in that. I trust our military and I’m amazed by our military. To play her is my answer from the universe, ‘she’s ready to talk about a bigger things’. And I feel very blessed to do it.

That’s a pretty good reason to take a role! If it almost feels like a higher calling. 

The military makes its decisions privately and then publicly to serve their country before themselves. I believe we all have an opportunity to make a decision. Am I about myself or am I about others? And when I’m moved to my own understanding, that’s what has driven every decision I’ve made in my life. I try to do what’s best for others all the time. And this woman, these people on this team, are doing that daily. I hope it makes us look out, rather than in, and say, “No matter what my path is, I can still serve others in my day.”

 

She’s in a unique position because she’s just gone through a personal loss and yet she is putting the greater good over her own pain. And on top of that she’s also a woman in power, which is still a bit of an issue for people who worry women might be emotional, might be human. How do you think she balances that and how interesting is it for you to play the juxtaposition of those two things — that personal loss and this position that she’s in?

It’s incredible that they gave me such a broad (range) as a woman and what we go through. And the decisions that are made are not made through emotions. Patricia has taught me a lot about this. And when you talk to people in the Pentagon, when you talk to people who have served our country, the reality is that there is no room for emotion. That doesn’t mean that our show doesn’t show the emotion of our characters. But when we’re on the mission, the mission is #1.  You’re doing what you set forth to do. And as women we are put in a situation where men think that we will get uncomfortably emotional. I want to encourage women to be able to say, “You know what? I can put that aside and still do the right thing and not get my emotions involved when I’m talking to my children, when I’m making decisions at work.” But that doesn’t mean that those emotions go away. It means I check in on them when I have time, when I have the space and when I have the privacy to do it.

With all the characters we’ve just touched a little bit on their histories because it’s so action packed and it’s really been about the missions. Do we get to delve into Patricia’s backstory a little more in the coming episodes?

Absolutely. Yes we are a mission centred show, but what we start to do is with each country focus on one of the characters  — who they are, how they got there, what their backgrounds are. And we get drawn more and more into the characters and the humanity of these people. It’s incredible how we merge the countries with their backstories. It’s phenomenal storytelling. With Patricia specifically, my son has died in Afghanistan ten days before we meet her. And in Episode 4 I need to go to Afghanistan because we have a prisoner that I need to interrogate who has information about a U.S. military base that’s going to be bombed. So I go to Afghanistan and stand on the site where my son was killed. It’s quite an emotional episode and it’s also the first time you actually really see the team that Mike Vogel and I play because you always see me in the DIA and he’s on the ground and it’s the first time that I get to join the team and fulfill a mission.

Do we start to see a little more tension between you and Dalton? It’s difficult because you’re in charge obviously, but he’s also on the ground and has to think on the fly.

Well I think we trust each other 100%. If he’s saying something to me, I take it as intelligence. If I say something to him it’s the same. It doesn’t mean that when the problem is in front of us that we don’t have our opinions about it, but we listen (to each other). I’m the person who holds the moral responsibility for the team so that they can execute a mission. I have to remove every (obstacle) I possibly can. When I deliver information, I’m delivering it so they can execute it. And if they don’t, they will go to their death. That is the truth of an Omega team. So when I’m saying things to him he needs to understand that his life is my hands and that I have to keep him safe.

 

Ultimately, Heche hopes that The Brave not only entertains the audience, but makes them feel hopeful about the important global missions the military is undertaking.

“Dean, our creator, came to me and said, ‘We want to make it about the humanity. What are the sacrifices these people make? Where do their emotions go? How do they have such trust and faith in one another?’ And in showing that kind of team it gives us a sense of safety. I hope that people watch this show and feel that (the military is) doing everything that we can every single day to make you safe. And this is true. This is not a false understanding of what our military does for us. And I hope that brings people confidence.”

The Brave airs Mondays at 10pm on NBC in the U.S. and Global TV in Canada.

Photos courtesy of NBC

About Jennifer

Jennifer Bragg is a life-long media nerd who has an unhealthy relationship with her PVR. Her collection of TV on DVD has shot past 300 and is way out of hand. Jennifer currently works as a freelance writer/researcher for lifestyle and factual television. You can check out her random musings on her two favourite topics, TV and Food, at The Kitchen Couch Potato.