If you ask us, the resident bad boy of Virgin River had one of the most compelling arcs of Virgin River Season 3.
The hit series is still topping the charts after nearly a month since its July 9 release on Netflix.
With an emotional season filled with love, heartbreak, and in the case of Brady, some romance and redemption, viewers cannot stop talking about the shockings twists and turns of the series.
TV Fanatic caught up with Benjamin Hollingsworth, the humble, laidback star of this addictive series, to talk Brady’s redemption, a potential setup, finding love with Brie, and his next thrilling project. Check it out!
First of all, I gotta say I was a huge Cold Black fan!
Oh, awesome! That’s great.
It was one of the greatest primetime medical dramas ever, and it was such a bummer when it got canceled.
That’s so sweet of you to say. It was a special show to be a part of, and I really valued my time on that one. And thank you for being a fan.
Well, you know, windows and doors because if not for that, you probably wouldn’t have been playing Brady.
That is correct, very correct. When a window closes, another one opens, right?
Exactly. Now, I would say it was kind of a redemptive season for Brady. We got the whole misunderstood bad boy angle. So what was it like when you read the script and saw what was in store for him?
Yes. [laughs] Well, you know what? We have a terrific showrunner, Sue Tenney, and she does such a great job, really she’s got a whole master plan in her mind about the entire arc of pretty much the whole show for all the characters.
So when I first sat down with her, and we talked about doing this project — first, I was just on for a recurring role in season one. And then because I was still under contract with Code Black until that show was fully done, I was open to sign on with other shows, and Sue and I talked about jumping on it and doing a full kind of contract with Netflix, and she kind of mapped out for me what she had in mind for Brady and his arc.
I was a big fan of what was happening already. But then when I heard what else she had planned, it was just totally my jam having this misunderstood character that we make him out to be this bad guy, and then we give him this redemptive storyline in season three, with Brie, and then the end of season three, we have that ending.
She told me the master plan, and I am excited, and hopefully, you know, we’ll get picked up for season four, and we’ll have the opportunity to delve even further into Brady.
Your character is a sneaky one. Generally, the fan response was that people were very annoyed with Brady, and then by the end of the season, and I can attest, I was just distraught with that ending. I didn’t realize I was rooting for your character so much until the end, and then it was just devastating!
Yeah, yeah, yeah! And that’s part of the fun of playing it. I think everyone — we all form opinions of what people are going to be before we meet them. Then even after meeting them, there’s that first impression, and it’s usually wrong. But you get to know someone further, and you find out there’s more to it and them.
I like to play characters that are like that — where you get a chance to show one side of yourself and then another and then let the audience kind of figure out which is the real one.
What is the real character? Is it the one that was present at the beginning, or is it the one that you’re starting to get to know now? And so that for me feels really authentic and exciting, and it’s really fun to craft and perform as an actor. That’s what I look for when I’m deciding whether or not to do a project, and Brady has that in spades.
You guys had a really fast turnaround, so what was it like actually filming during a pandemic? You guys got right back in there early.
We did, and it was good actually once we got past the awkwardness of it, running scenes with masks on during rehearsal, we were only able to take off our masks when we were filming. So you know, it made for some awkward kissing scenes. [laughs]
Well, we were rehearsing, and Brie [Zibby Allen] and I are rubbing masks. [laughs] It’s hard, with the strangeness of it all, sometimes you’d forget.
You would move on and start talking to someone, and someone with a COVID vest on would come up and say, “Your mask! Your mask!” It was very difficult to get used to, but the entire time it was very safe. Netflix did an amazing job of keeping everyone very safe and keeping everyone feeling comfortable.
Although it was new and strange and different, it wasn’t scary at all. It was actually one of the safer spots to be. We were tested all the time, and everyone surrounding us was always wearing masks, and we were always social distancing. Although, I don’t think Mel and Jack were quite social distancing as much as they should. [laughs]
Yeah, um, I don’t think Brady and Brie were either! [laughs]
Brady and Brie were trying to give Mel and Jack a run for their money this year in the whirlwind romance department. It was really cool to see your character in a romantic role. You and Zibby have really great chemistry. What was it like working with her?
Well, thank you! Yeah, sometimes you really never know how it’s going to work out with another actress when you first meet them.
You feel it out, talk about things, run the scenes, but it’s difficult to know what it’s gonna be like, and then you layer COVID on top of everything, and we’re not supposed to be talking with people between takes, and we’re supposed to be social distancing, and we’re always wearing masks…
You know, there’s a part of it that maybe was heightened a little bit by the fact that we were constantly wearing masks and forced apart, so it felt raw and new when we were doing scenes. They felt like they were natural and unrehearsed.
And they had all of those elements that a good scene needs to have. I think we might have actually benefited from some of that COVID protocol stuff.
But Zibby is amazing and a terrific actress, and she’s a really great scene partner. We hit it off and had a ton of fun working together and crafting this arc.
Brady and Brie really took the traditional gender tropes of a relationship between a man and a woman and kind of flipped it on its head because Brie was more of the one who was pensive and more kind of sexual. Brie was the one driving it toward the sex, whereas Brady was really falling for her, which is an interesting thing to play.
It was really cool to see it. Brady fell so hard and so fast, and it was so unexpected. What is it about Brie that Brady gravitated to? He seemed like he was trying to be a better person in part for her.
I think she challenged him. I think he said that a little bit in the script. He’s like, “You don’t take any of my crap, and I love that about you.”
And she has this tough love kind of attitude that Brady really responded to a lot. Brady hadn’t been challenged by anyone before Brie, and I think that he likes that. He likes this independent woman who makes her own money, has her own strong opinions about things, just all of it.
We’re huge Virgin River fans here at TV Fanatic, and we were definitely chatting about this pairing. At the top of our wishlist for next season, we’re hoping Brady and Brie can overcome everything and reunite, and on a totally shallow but respectful note, more shirtless scenes.
Shirtless scenes. [laughs]
That relationship was intriguing, and everyone responded so well to it that we want more. Do you think there’s hope for those two after that ending? It could be a dealbreaker!
Yeah, it could be. You know, I think if we get a season four, it would be pretty shocking if we didn’t see more Brie and Brady together.
They were such a good fit. But I also know that there was Mike’s relationship with Brie in the books, so I might end up finding myself in a bit of a love triangle.
It is hard to tell. Gosh, Brady wouldn’t take it too well if the guy who, in my opinion, wrongly put him in prison ends up moving in on his girl.
Speaking of Mike, do you have any insider knowledge on what Brady was alluding to regarding what happened in Iraq?
I don’t know the specifics on that. I do know Sue kind of told me that Brady had witnessed something that either happened to Mike or Mike does, but it’s definitely a dark secret there.
Brady knows about it, but he also hasn’t told anyone about it. He kept it secret even though Mike is coming for him.
It’s a key element to Brady. He’s very misunderstood in a lot of ways. He kind of gets pinned as the bad guy, but I don’t know how much of it he deserves. I know he’s made some bad decisions, and going over and hanging with Calvin wasn’t smart.
But I do think he was pretty hurt by Jack not wanting him to be in business with him and not giving him an opportunity — Brady really needs a father-figure, well, older brother kind of figure.
Martin [Henderson] wouldn’t like it. [laughs] He wouldn’t like it if I said father-figure. But Brady needs an older brother figure, and he looked to Jack for that.
Brady makes some mistakes, but I can’t imagine a world where he actually shot Jack.
By the end of the season, I was convinced that someone set Brady up. Do you have any theories on who it could be? There’s Calvin and Mike —
I think Calvin for sure is a suspect. People floated the idea of Mike potentially being involved with it. I don’t know if I believe that, but I also think it’s strange how really anti-Brady Mike is, and he didn’t want to hear anything that Brady was saying, and the gun suddenly appearing was very suspicious.
We sure as hell need a season four to answer some of these questions.
I’m confident you guys are getting a season four because you’ve been topping the charts and trending for weeks, so congratulations! That’s been amazing.
Thank you! That’s been wild.
And you know, everywhere I go, I’m getting stopped. With Code Black, I would get stopped, and people would be like, “Oh, I really love the show!”
But it’s wild, especially considering most of the time, I’m wearing a mask. But when I’m outside, not wearing a mask, it’s just constant.
If I’m out on a patio at dinner or the other day, I was running with my daughter in the stroller around the track, and this group of soccer moms literally stopped me on the track, and they wanted a selfie mid-run. I was flabbergasted. [laughs]
But we got some really great fans, and I’m more than happy to meet them all. We’re fortunate that we have such great fans. It’s taken everyone by surprise just how successful the show has been. It’s mind-blowing.
What other projects are you working on that we can look forward to seeing?
I just finished a series called Joe Pickett.
Which I read about, and it sounds so good!
Yeah, it’s an interesting concept! It’s based on a New York Times bestselling book series by C.J. Box called Joe Pickett and has a cast of really terrific actors, and Paramount Studios is producing it.
It’s going to start on Spectrum Originals, and then it’ll probably end up on a streaming service, most likely Paramount+, but that’s not for sure yet.
Yeah, I’m just so excited. The role I play is so far away from who I am. It’s this hillbilly poacher from Mississippi with this thick, Southern Hillbilly accent and this five-inch goatee hanging off the bottom of my chin.
It’s a really fun character, and I can’t wait for everyone who is a fan of Virgin River — because it’s based on a book series as well– to give it a watch. It feels like Yellowstone kind of — if Yellowstone and Fargo had a baby, it would be Joe Pickett, I think.
And obviously, C.J. Box is having great success with Big Sky right now on ABC. He produces that, and that’s from his book series as well.
That’s another one of our popular series here, along with Virgin River, so I’m sure there’ll be many crossover fans. It sounds awesome! And once again, it sounds like you’re playing another one of those complicated characters you love.
Yes, it’s kind of becoming my specialty!
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.
Thank you for being such a fan of the show. We love you guys over there, and we’re really grateful for the success of the series.
If you haven’t already, you can stream Virgin River on Netflix.
You can also catch our Virgin River Reviews right here at TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.