Brittany Ishibashi shares a lot more with her character Anne Ogami than meets the eye.
The Political Animals actress was able to speak with TV Equals in an exclusive interview about her character, some of the real-life events that helped her delve deeper into her character’s mindset, and how she feels about what it might be like for an outsider to be thrust into a political dynasty.
Political Animals airs its final episode tonight at 10/9c on the USA Network (Editor’s Note: We have an advance review here).
How was it like working with James Wolk?
Brittany Ishibashi: Working with Jimmy Wolk is awesome. He’s such a kind human being in addition with being a generous, talented actor. We got right to the love scenes pretty early on, and his demeanor made it so easy and so normal and not awkward. We had a really good time on set, and we got really nerdy about our research and kind of shared that together and it was really fun. It was really fun working with him.
You were also on set with Sigourney Weaver; what was it like working with her?
Brittany Ishibashi: Oh my goodness, working with Sigourney Weaver was like a dream come true. From the very beginning, on the very first rehearsal when the whole cast met, I remember showing up, we were all kind of sitting around in our chairs.and we were waiting on Sigourney to come out of a wardrobe fitting, and I remember her just walking in and everybody in the room just froze because she carries this kind of grace and wonderful energy about her, and she immediately just came in and gave me this big, great hug, and held my arms [and said] ‘We’re so very lucky to have you on this show and I love your character,’.through the entire show, she was so gracious. Through the entire thing, to everybody, [she was] so giving, and to be able to work with someone like that who brings so much to the table but is also so cool about makes the whole thing kind of a dream.
What was it like to play a character like Anne?
Brittany Ishibashi: You know, playing Anne brought out, funnily enough, a lot of the issues I had growing up in Orange County. I mean there were a lot of things about Anne that were quirky. [She's] a fourth generation Japanese-American girl that grew up in Southern California where all their neighbors were all about what face you put on and keeping up with the Joneses. And the constant pressure for feeling like you need to be better or be enough and to make everyone happy because, you know, goodness knows you wouldn’t want to have an unhappy face [or] displease everybody. It was interesting to explore that, to play that out against the other characters in the show, that are so strong-willed, and to play that against each other was really fun.
Were there any particular challenges with playing Anne?
Brittany Ishibashi: Um.being completely candid, the whole eating disorder thing was really tough. I grew up as a dancer, and so that whole world was something that I grew up in. All of my friends, and people that I knew suffered from-and some still do suffer from-eating disorders. It’s a very, ah, it’s scary. It’s scary and overwhelming.and kind of exploring that world was something that I was very cautious about, not only because it was something I was so aware of growing up, but I also wanted to make sure it was truthful and shows all the sides of that and the effects it could have.
Your character has to deal with all of the problems that go on in a political family. Do you think that the trials, so to speak, that Anne has to deal with are similar to people in other similar situations, like the people who are married into big political families?
Brittany Ishibashi: You know, I think.it’s very similar pressure of stepping into this world that’s already moving a mile a minute, and the constant need that you need to keep up and also fall to this shorthand that everyone seems to have is a tremendous amount of pressure. And not just for people who are married into political dynasties-I can imagine anyone married into a corporate dynasty or to take it down to just the very simple level, I mean, just the in-laws can be very intense and take some getting use to.
If you could guest star on any other television show, which one would it be?
Brittany Ishibashi: Oh, my goodness! That’s a big question. I have so many favorites. There’s something in me that’s always been a huge sci-fi nerd, so to work on a show like Alphas would be really fun. Obviously, if Breaking Bad wasn’t in its last season, I’d love to work on that. I’d love to work on Political Animals forever, just because the group of people they’ve assembled, I don’t see how you can top that.but if I was able to do some fun guest star, I think something in the sci-fi realm or in the action field for me might be fun.