You Must Know: Anna Camp
Typically the interviews I title "You Must Know" feature performers who are about to break through in a big way. But in the case of Anna Camp, who has already starred on many of my favorite TV shows, the title should be read in a shocked and sassy voice. As in, "You Must Know Anna Camp ... Right?!?"
After all, she wooed Don Draper on Mad Men, was the object of Jason Stackhouse's affection on True Blood, delivered the best line reading in Glee history and is currently lighting my world on fire as Caitlin on The Good Wife.
Oh, and she's also in a little movie called The Help. You may have heard of it.
Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled to snag some phone time with the increasingly in-demand actress in between Good Wife scenes to talk about the future of her perky lawyer-in-training, how she feels about The Help's Oscar chances and why you probably haven't seen the last of Sarah Newlin!
Insider.com: Congratulations on all The Help success!
Anna Camp: Thank you! Just being a part of that movie is the coolest thing in the world. It was such a meaningful script and I got to work with such amazingly talented ladies. It really was a true honor.
Insider: During filming did you have any idea of the impact it would make?
Anna: Not to this extent, but we all knew this was something special. We were just all so passionate about it and there definitely was something magical on set, but I don't think any of us had a clue it would be nominated for so many awards.
Insider: How much correlation do you feel there is between on-set camaraderie and on-screen product?
Anna: Tons. You can't really hide what's underneath in the soul of the actor. It's our job to be transparent and let the audience see through us. When there's a lot of love or camaraderie it translates -- and the opposite is true too, if there's crazy tension, you can usually tell there's no chemistry.
Insider: What was the vibe like on the various TV shows you've worked on?
Anna: Well, True Blood is a crazy show but everybody is funny and kooky, so when you throw them on a set, crazy things happen -- which I totally think you see on-screen. Mad Men was interesting because I was a huge fan of the show before I ever got an audition. So when I got the call to audition, I thought, "There's no way in hell I'm walking out of that room with a job!" [laughs] And the audition wasn't even with Jon Hamm – they keep everything so secret, so I was on a date with some guy named Dave. I asked Matthew Weiner, "Who the hell is Dave?!?" [laughs] So when I got the part and the script came I started freaking out because that was when I found out that I would be on a date with Don! The set itself was way more laid back then you would think. People are cracking jokes and it was so not what I expected. That was refreshing. The Good Wife is a little bit more of a conservative atmosphere. It's a bit more pulled together because the topics are more serious. It's funny, like when you do a play, people start to take on their roles; you start to feel the part and it affects your life. Whatever show you're on definitely bleeds into your life.
Insider: For me, True Blood is the first time I remember seeing you on-screen -- did you notice a collective consciousness shift with that role?
Anna: Oh my god, totally. It was the role that put me out there in a much bigger way. I had been doing theater in New York since I graduated. It was my first big job on a popular show. I thank Alan Ball every day for casting me. It was a turning point for me in my career. And I loved that character so much. I actually miss her a lot.
Insider: Well ... that was my next question! Steve Newlin came back at the end of last season, might Sarah join him?
Anna: She might! There might be some Sarah Newlin in season five! You'll just have to wait and see …
Insider: Well, since we didn't leave her in the best place, where do you think she is today?
Anna: I think Steve's left her and she is not happy about it. I think she's confused and lost and spiteful and wants to get revenge on everyone [laughs].
Insider: Is she a vampire?
Anna: I don't think so. I think she's telling the world her story and wants revenge on Jason, her husband and is out for blood. That's what I hope, at least.
Insider: Well, whether or not she comes back, I am loving Caitlin on Good Wife! And it's so interesting how she has not turned out to be just the product of nepotism.
Anna: I think so too. That situation is very true to life where you might need a relative to help get your foot in the door, but that doesn't mean you're not great at what you do. Actors who are related to someone famous always get put down, but it doesn't mean they can't be great actors. The writers turn things on such interesting angles. They don't spoon-feed you anything. They really surprise you with the characters and their motivations. Caitlin is a complicated character and I've never worn so many suits in my life [laughs]. It's definitely different for me, but I love it.
Insider: This is the first law show you've ever been on -- how is the jargon for you?
Anna: It's not that bad. But I just shot a huge scene that was my first time really standing up in front of the big courtroom. It was intimidating. Julianna [Margulies] and I talked a lot and she told me that it never gets easy. Even though it's a show, and a set, when you're standing in front of a courtroom making an argument, it's nerve-wracking.
Insider: What can you tease about the future for Caitlin?
Anna: The last 2 episodes we just shot really show what Caitlin is made of. And there's a big surprise with me [laughs].
Insider: Does it involve Will? Ya know, since everyone thinks that little look you shared with him a few episodes back really was hinting at something.
Anna: You know, the writers didn't tell me too much about that look. I had to justify it in my own way, and I don't know if it’s what the writers had in mind, but I justified it as Caitlin really admiring him. He was her teacher and she just admires him. It's funny though, everywhere I go, people ask me if she's gonna hook up with Will [laughs]. We'll see!
Insider: Does it involve this theory I have that a major computer attack on Lockhart/Gardner is coming?
Anna: There is something really big coming within the company. Something goes down. Some information is revealed and that's all I can say.
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on CBS.