The Netflix series Virgin River has found a dedicated audience because of its memorable characters. One of the more intriguing has always been Benjamin Hollingsworth’s Dan Brady. However, the end of Season 3 threw him (and viewers) a curveball when he ended up in handcuffs. Season 4 showed the fallout of that—but what was it like to play? And how has Benjamin’s approach to his character changed after several seasons? The Code Black alum checked back in with me to talk about Brady’s development and the latest chapter in his character arc.
Brittany Frederick: You’ve played Brady longer than any other character you’ve portrayed on television. What is the experience simply living with him for that long?
Benjamin Hollingsworth: I think once you inhabit a character, some of that character also inhabits you, strangely enough. So it’s impossible to kind of shake them off when you’re with them for such a prolonged period, as I have been with Brady. It has been a really interesting learning arc with Brady and trying to integrate more of myself in him, and then also trying to learn from him. What are some of the lessons I can learn from Brady and his mistakes… It becomes a bit of a integration after a while. And it sometimes takes some time after you’re finished shooting to shake all that out and get into a new character, but that’s also very important.
BF: Does the way you prepare for a Virgin River episode adapt as you grow with the character and have that extra insight?
BH: It adapts. When you first read a script, it’s an important part of the process. You have all the feelings for the first time when you’re reading it. It’s like meeting a person; you have a first impression. And that first impression, just like when you meet someone, is very important; [it] tells you a lot about what choices you might want to make and what feelings. That first read-through, you’re an audience member as well. Part of that story is informative to the choices you make as an actor. So for me, it’s very important when I read that I also listen, which a paradox, but it’s an important one.
BF: The end of Virgin River season 3 was not good for Brady. Did you have any concern about whether or not you’d come back for season 4, or any trepidation about what was ahead for him this season?
BH: for me, it’s a little less suspenseful because usually you know in advance you’re coming back. But [when] you get to be a part of a great show like Virgin River, you want to stay a part of it for as long as you can. The only thing you can control is to make sure that when you go to work, you bring your best work forward and really invest in your character and your choices. And usually if you do that correctly, you’ll stick around.
BF: Now that everyone’s seen all of season 4, is there a scene or an aspect that resonated with you? Since Brady’s storyline was an atypical one.
BH: I had a very isolated season. Because [Brady] was kind of again on the outskirts, he dealt with Melissa a little bit. But the majority of it was with Brie, who is played by Zibby Allen—who I just love and we get along really great. She’s kind of my Harry Ford, from Code Black.
The scene I liked the best was the scene where Brady comes in and finds Brie just crying. She’s kind of coming to terms with her past and some of the [things] she faced. You see him trying to navigate this very delicate process and he does it with compassion and empathy and even vulnerability. Those are things that don’t necessarily go along with Brady’s exterior, so that was a lot of fun to play.
BF: There are more than 20 books in the Virgin River series, which may or may not provide some help to the show. Do you ever think about what direction Brady is heading or where you’d like him to go?
BH: I got an opportunity both with Sue Tenney and our new showrunner Patrick Sean Smith. As he was coming in, he wanted to hear thoughts and ideas and stuff like that, and I liked being a part of that process. My character really doesn’t exist much in the books. It was Sue that really saw something in Brady and saw what he could offer, because he’s such a different character than all the other ones in the town. He adds a texture to the town that is needed.
Without Brady, there isn’t the same kind trouble or edge; no one else is a bad boy in Virgin River. You kind of need a little bit of Brady. Everyone who reads the books, I can tell because they comment on Team Mike, because they’ve got this idea of where Brady should be [and] where Brie should be. And I can tell a fan of the series because they’re on board with Brie and Brady. I feel like a love triangle is in the future for sure.
BF: You mentioned Code Black, and it’s been wonderful to see how your career has expanded since that show ended. Not only are we seeing you in more roles, but it seems like you’re being offered different kinds of roles, too. What has this part of your career been like for you?
BH: The thing that I really had the most fun with a the series called Joe Pickett on Paramount+ and if you haven’t seen that, watch it immediately. You’ll love it. You’ll see me in a really different side. I play this hillbilly with a four-inch goatee and yellow teeth and a Mississippi accent and it’s completely a departure from who I am.
I’m a classically trained actor. I studied for three years at a conservatory created by the same people that created Juilliard called the National Theatre School. That’s where my pedigree comes from. My window into the world of film and television has been a certain role. Now I’m going to use that exposure to push the boundaries of what people naturally see me as. And as that happens, I hope that opens up doors in the future.
BF: We discussed earlier Virgin River‘s passionate fan base. Anything you’d say to them as we end the fourth season and look ahead to season 5?
BH: Just how grateful I am to be a part of a show that’s doing so well and part of a team that is so cohesive. People see the actors and we get a lot of the praise, but honestly, our crew and people behind the scenes—the writers and the gaffers and the grips and the steadicam operators—everyone has a part of this show, and they deserve as much credit as we do. I want to give them a big shoutout because we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them.
Virgin River is now streaming on Netflix.
Article content is (c)2020-2023 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr and on Instagram at @BFTVGram.