EXCLUSIVE | 'Virgin River' star Benjamin Hollingsworth used prosthetics to audition for 'Joe Pickett'
Hollingsworth also opened up about some of the funniest incidents that happened on the sets of 'Joe Pickett,' including a burp that shook mountains
‘Virgin River’ is one of the well-received shows on Netflix and many of its actors have gained instant fame. But, there is one actor who has become an undisputed fan favorite. The actor we are talking about is of course none other than Benjamin Hollingsworth.
The actor plays the role of Brady in the series and gained wider recognition with the Netflix series. He has been a part of the industry since 2003 and has worked in various high-end ventures. His first big break was the lead role in ‘The Joneses’ as David Duchovny and Demi Moore's son. He has also appeared in several high-profile television projects, including ‘Debris,’ ‘Nancy Drew,’ ‘Backstrom,’ ‘Motive,’ ‘The Lottery,’ ‘Tomorrow People,’ ‘Once Upon A Time,’ ‘Suits’ and ‘The Beautiful Life: TBL.’
However, his most-anticipated project is the Paramount+ original drama titled ‘Joe Pickett’. MEAWW caught up with the actor to talk about the upcoming series, how he prepared for his role of Oat Keeley.
The character you play on ‘Joe Pickett’, Ote Keeley, is a big game poacher and an intimidating person. Could you tell us more about him? How did you prepare for the role?
It is my most favorite role so far. When I first read the character, he was 6’4’ and a good old boy from Mississippi like the essential hillbilly. I love the book series and I adore the guys who are making it (John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle) and they are such wonderful talents. So, I wanted to do it. And also, the producers attached with the TV series have produced movies like ‘Gladiator’, ‘Girl, Interrupted’ and was keen on working with the production company as well. So, I have given a lot of time prepping for it. I actually had a facial prosthetic that I put on before the audition and did all of my makeup. I messed up my hair and I kind of dirtied my face so that I looked like a hillbilly who would be found in Mississippi. Then, I worked with the dialogues and the accent, making sure that I sounded authentic.
The audition was an eight-page audition which you very rarely get for an audition scene. It was the first whole part of the pilot episode where you meet my character and it was a very, very long scene and very integral for the success of the show. So, the scene was really important. I was able to bring life to the character that felt authentic and real, but also kind of intimidating and unhinged, unpredictable and threatening. People won’t be able to recognize me because of my look and I don’t like that in real life. I am very excited for the world to see it.
You work alongside a very talented cast on ‘Joe Pickett’. Are there any interesting stories from your time on set?
So, Paul Sparks is one of my favorite actors and is a very generous, nice guy. We have a scene in the show where he is supposed to throw me a beer and I kind of improvised by opening it up and chugged it during one of his speeches. But that was not the funny part, the funny part came afterward. We were filming in the mountains and after I chugged the beer, I had to burp really badly and I just let it out because it seemed like the character would do that. It was a 10-second-long burp that echoed off the mountains (laughs). I never break out of the character, but this incident almost made me crack up. But I held it together and I really, really hope that the aforementioned take ends up in the show because it was a burp unlike any other I have ever had in my life. But the funny part was when it echoed off the mountains like a yodel.
Besides Keeley, is there another character that resonated with you from the series? Could you tell us why?
The lead role in the series played by Michael Dorman is a fantastic character and is probably closer to who I am than Oat Keeley. But I wouldn’t change it because playing Oat Keeley was so much fun and even though other characters might have resonated more with me, this one really lived in the depths of my soul. It was a weird kind of therapeutic thing that really happens when an actor completely immerses himself in a role.
(To lend an easy-to-read experience for our readers, the original interview is split into multiple stories. Stay with us as we update our site with the next part of this exclusive interview.)