Photo Credit: Merie W. Wallace
Can't get enough of The Brink? See what one of the show's standouts Maribeth Monroe ('Kendra Peterson') has to say about starring opposite Tim Robbins as The Reel Spin tries to get to know the hilarious actress in five questions.
The Reel Spin: For those who haven't yet had a chance to check out The Brink, how would you describe the show?
Maribeth Monroe: The Brink is a dark geopolitical comedy that is centered around a World War III crisis that is attempting to be solved by three disparate men from three disparate situations... and it is satirical and fabulous.
TRS: The cast is amazing. You star opposite Jack Black and Tim Robbins, and I imagine that they probably keep things really interesting. Is improvising encouraged on this show, because I can't imagine them doing take after take the same way?
Monroe: You know, because the show is such a beast of a show, especially when it comes to, obviously if you saw the pilot, everything that happens in Islamabad and then in the Situation Room and all the information that is necessary to get out, we definitely stuck to the script a lot. But I have to say that Tim and I, when we had the time and when we knew we could, we improvised a ton, and he is so much fun and such a blast to play with. There was this one time... it was actually at our cast wrap party... this like twenty second, probably thirty second bit, where you know Tim's character on the show obviously really loves women, I don't know if you've caught on to that [laughs]. He definitely loves enjoying women, and there was this scene that happened later in the season . . . he had bedded another woman, and our series takes place over like four or five days, and in that four or five days, he probably beds about five women . . . so it's very impressive, and so at one point it was scripted that [my character] said something along the lines of like "Sir, this is the fifth woman in four days... I mean for a man your age, this is really impressive," and he stops me. But then when the cameras were still rolling, he basically let me improvise maybe ten different lines where I'm commenting on... I guess his physical prowess when it comes to below the belt, so we had a lot of fun, and then they ended up airing that at the wrap party, and it was really fun. So, he is very playful, but also very obviously studious. He doesn't like to waste time, and we definitely try to get everything as quickly as possible, but he is a really playful, fun guy for sure.
TRS: My favorite part about your character, 'Kendra Peterson,' is the way she handles the absurdity of Secretary of State, 'Walter Larson's,' requests... for instance, the way he asks for alcohol in the middle of the meeting and she has to take it very seriously and do her job, but at the same time, his requests are absurd. Is that as fun to play as it is to watch... to try and find the balance between the efficiency of 'Kendra' and reacting to his requests?
Monroe: Yes, and I think because 'Kendra' knows 'Walter' so well, she knows if she doesn't give him these requests that he wants that he ultimately will probably be a bit childish about it, like she's not going to win these battles. She knows what she subscribed to. She knows what she's gotten into. She knows the man that she works for, and I think for her she'll fight it as far as she can go, but ultimately she knows that for him to do the best job that he can as far as diplomacy and getting past the bureaucracy of Washington, that she might have to spike his orange juice. She might have to do that. She might have to look the other way when he's tied up with an Asian hooker. These are just kind of parts of the job that I think she'd much rather not have to deal with, but because she knows he's the best person for this job, she gives in. She caves, but for like the betterment of the United States. It's all for America... the Asian hookers, the booze in the Situation Room, it's all for America.
TRS: Your Twitter profile says you play a lot of bitches on TV. Acting-wise, are bitches more fun?
Monroe: I gotta say, I do love playing a bitch. I really do. I am unfortunately extremely nice in my real life like I probably am more on the side of a people pleaser. I definitely value taking good care of my friends and my family, so I'd like to say I have a very good, kind heart, so getting to just kind of like cathartically vent a lot of emotions and feelings that I could never do in my real life through these characters is definitely a blast. It's almost like therapy in a weird way that I get to just kind of safely be mean to a lot of people for the sake of comedy . . . it's very funny and cathartic.
TRS: If you could have anyone guest star on The Brink, who would it be and why?
Monroe: I would say Hillary Clinton immediately. It would never happen, but I would love to meet her, and I would love to see her in a scene with Tim's character and how she would react to him as far as I don't know if she catches him with one of her aides or if she finds out terrible information of something he's done. I just want to see that Hillary Clinton kind of side eye at Tim Robbins. I just think it would be great. She's such a strong feminist, civil rights and people's rights advocate, that I think she would find 'Walter's' character pretty despicable and would let him know that, and I would love to see that scene. Or Snoop Dog. [Laughs] I'm just kidding... just kidding.
Watch The Brink Sundays at 10:30pm on HBO.
For more on The Brink, click here.
Follow Maribeth Monroe on Twitter: @maribethmonroe
Interview by Pamela Thomas