When Last Resort premiered much was made of the fact that it had a strongly male-dominated cast. Watching just a couple of moments of verbal chess between Daisy Betts’ Shepard and her foil Prosser, played to perfection by Robert Patrick, and the ‘strong’ aspect clearly drifts the feminine aspect of Last Resort‘s ensemble. As Daisy pointed out to me in our recent phone conversation, once Last Resort’s fictional sub the Colorado parked off the shore of an island, the cast adopted a few more strong female leads. Still, it is Bett’s Shepard that succeeds in quickly cementing a persona that captures every aspect of a capable and endearing female lead.
Grace Shepard seems to hold her own in a male-dominated television show, particularly against Prosser. Were you happy to see that when you heard about the part?
Yeah, for sure. Obviously she is going to have her vulnerabilities and they do emerge in some episodes coming up but, just in the situation that they’re in, it would be dangerous for her to reveal any of that. So she’s kind of got no one to turn to, she’s on her own and she’s just going to put her best foot forward all the time and I think what gets her is this thing with Prosser which is kind of fun to play I must say. Robert Patrick is fun to work with and kind of intimidating but still fun at the same time. So she’s got that stuff and she can’t believe that given the situation she is still getting the sh*t, you know what I mean? She is just like, “Guys, we’re in a life or death situation. Can you just leave me alone and realize that I’m really good at what I do? And it’s not about me being a woman.” But you know, people can’t let things go.
Is the claustrophobia when you’re on set for the sub anywhere near approaching reality or do you have a big open room on one side?
It’s definitely not approaching reality at all. I don’t know how I would survive on a sub at all. So I’m very admiring of those that do and grateful that I’m not actually shooting on a submarine. I think I bang myself on every part sticking out of the hallway and the metal staircases that go up, the ladders that go up. I’m always bruising myself and I just think, “Geeze, I can’t believe that I have to do this and it’s just a set.” I think it would be very close quarters and especially for a woman that would be tricky.
What did the cast do to prepare for the submarine scenes? Did you actually get the opportunity to visit any real subs?
There was an opportunity to visit a real submarine and they called me and it wasn’t anything that was set up saying that we were from a TV show. It was very under wraps in that regard so we had someone who was willing to take us around but we just had to sort of say that we were friends of someone in the Navy, show our ID. When they called me in the morning they said “just bring your American ID because we’re not sure if Australians were allowed on the submarine”. And I said, “Oh well, I don’t have an American ID” and so I didn’t go. I didn’t want to ruin it for everybody else. So maybe if there is another opportunity I might be able to do it, but that time I didn’t. So I haven’t been on a submarine yet.
What can we expect from Shepard in tonight’s episode?
Well, Shepard is kind of in recovery so not a lot happens from her. She’s just the eyes and ears from the land to the submarine in the EWS and so her role is a little bit more diminished from last week but the action is still huge and there’s some real threats and they made up with Serrat. They see how evil Serrat can be making almost impossible demands. And their only hope is to try and deliver on those demands and so they do what they set out to try and do that. And I just think that whenever you think you’ve got this story pegged it’ll take another turn. [What is] really cool about all of these episodes is that you think you know what the main story line is – the main conflict, the main plot point – and then suddenly that becomes second fiddle to something much bigger and it takes a turn that you never saw coming. I’m constantly saying, “I can’t believe they went there.” Because they really do go there and it surprises me every week and I think it’s great.
When the series first began I remember a lot of people thinking “how are they going to make this show work with all these people just inside a submarine?” and obviously that dynamic changed almost immediately. Is the island and the sub really going to be the story space for the series going forward?
Yeah, it’s definitely a mix between the island, the submarine and Washington. There’s a lot of Washington stuff where they try and get to the bottom of the conspiracy. The stuff that is set on the island [is important, but] the sub is the definitely the big part of [the show]. There are a lot of different story lines and I think the submarine is very close quarters and you wouldn’t want a whole show set on that [especially when you have an island with] sweeping mountain views and waterfalls and that kind of thing.
(Interview Conducted by Jon Lachonis, additional reporting by Clarissa)