Thursday, June 12, 2014

Interview: Cassidy Freeman Prepares for the Storm

“Longmire” is back in full swing on A and E (airs Monday nights at 10/9c), and I recently had the chance to catch up with series star Cassidy Freeman, who plays Cady Longmire, on what fans can expect as season three progresses. She was more than happy to fill me in, but don’t worry: There aren’t any spoilers for those who like to go into a show knowing nothing about what will happen. Let’s just call them “teasers.”

Celebrity Extra: So, without giving too much away, what can you tell me about season three?

Cassidy Freeman: They have a tag line every season, and last year’s tag line was “A Storm Is Coming.” The first season really set up who these people are, and got us into the rhythm of having a crime every week or every two weeks. And then last season, the second season, I felt like we started to see things happen to each of these characters — the proverbial shit hit the fan. And now this season, all that’s out in the open, and we get to see who these people actually are. We get to see what these people do in the face of a storm. How do they put their lives back together? How do they fight to keep what they love, and what do they want their life to look like in the face of adversity, in the face of harsh truths?  I find that  this season is way more character driven, way more serial. It’s more about us and less just about being a crime drama; it’s more about who these characters actually are. It is nice to be able to flush out that side of these characters.

CE: The series is based on a book series; have you read any of them, or did you decide not to so you could just focus on the TV series and not the book series?

CF: I Goldilocks-ed it. I went halfway. I read like four of them (out of 10), but I didn’t want it to color too much how I played this character. I also only have 24 hours in a day, and as much as I love Craig Johnson, there are other books I want to read as well.

CE: At the end of season two, Cady is hit by a car and almost killed. How will that play into this next season?

CF: One of the inciting incidents of this whole storyline is the death of Walt’s wife, my mother. And when something starts that way — I don’t know if you’ve ever lost anyone significantly close to you, but it colors how you look at the rest of your life. It distills those who are very important to you, it washes away that which doesn’t matter. And it really shines a light on that which is really important to you. And the fear of losing those things heightens. It doesn’t mean that you become this fearful recluse of a person, but it’s almost like upping the contrast in your life. The darks become darker, and the lights become lighter. You see things more clearly, and lines are more defined.

And so I feel like to Walt, the idea of losing me is one of those top-three things that maybe he wouldn’t last through. I think it really raised the stakes of the end of last season. You get to see the role that Cady plays in a lot of people’s lives. All of a sudden it flushed out Ferguson — this crush  he’s had for years come to light, and that flushes out his character. And Branch all of a sudden cares more about her than he cares about winning, and that makes him a way more-likable character. 

CE: Speaking of Branch, will you guys be further exploring their on-again/off-again relationship?

CF: Absolutely. It’s really, really complicated. At this point, it no longer is this teenage taboo, a don’t-tell-my-dad kind of thing. It’s more about if they really want to be together and if they are each other’s priority, because there are more things going on outside of them, like Henry being in jail and their life falling apart around them. It’s hard for them to try to figure out what their relationship is going to be when other things are kind of taking priority.



CE: Speaking of Henry being in jail, what role will Cady play in trying to help him?

CF: Well, I can tell you that Cady Longmire is a lawyer. And I can tell you that she might not be the most experienced lawyer in the world in that she’s in her late 20s, but she cares a lot about this case, so she’s going to do everything she possibly can to assist in this. But it’s a struggle, and she feels like she really has to stand up for Henry and her dad.

CE: Tell me about life on the set. Is it a fun set? Are there any great pranksters on the set?

CF: You’ve obviously never met Lou Diamond Phillips.

CE: He would be my first choice if I had to guess who was the class cut-up.

CF: Yeah. He should have a second middle name called “Ham.” He’s such a ham. I love him so much. He tells the worst and the best jokes, in the same breath. He is so light-hearted and so loving. And Robert (Taylor, who plays Walt) is a sweetheart, but he has a lot to keep straight in his head. He’s working mostly every day all day. So, the man needs like some back rubs and some sleep. But we’re all pretty jovial.

Adam Bartley is also one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met in my life, and whether he has an emotional scene or a single word, he has to be at work all day. He shows up and he’s happy that he’s there, and he just like a light of life. I can’t tell you how refreshing that is in this business. Most people try to define themselves by screen time or word count or something like that. And they try to quantify how important they are to the production based on how important they are to the story or how much they’re in the story, and that’s just not true. When you find those people who shine no matter what their job is, those are the people you want to work with over and over again.

CE: The show has been able to attract quite a few big-name guest stars, like Peter Weller, Katherine La Nasa and Charles Dutton. Can you give me any third-season guest-star scoop?

CF: Well, Peter Weller just directed an episode. Over the past three years, I haven’t really gotten the chance to know him, and this episode he just directed, I think I fell in love with Peter Weller. He’s the sweetest, coolest guy, and he really cares. He’s from the theater, and I grew up doing theater, so it’s refreshing in that way. I don’t know when this happened, but at some point, it became cool in Hollywood not to care. When I was a kid, caring was cool. And so I like to care. So what if you’re emotional? Get over it. You care and it matters, and Peter Weller is a great example of that. He cares. If something isn’t right, he’s going to do it until it is right. And that feels like you have a team player when he’s on set.

We have some great new guest stars coming in too. I don’t how we keep doing it, but we keep landing really talented actors to come play with us. I hesitate to tell you, because someone will probably shoot me, but you will find out soon enough. This season is only 10 episodes; it’s going to go quick.

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