Brianne Davis is currently starring on History Channel’s hit tv series SIX as Lena Graves, wife of Navy SEAL Joe “Bear” Graves. She is an incredible actress and director whose passion for film shines through in all her work. She’s dedicated herself to helping out with the military and their families and I was amazed to learn she’s traveled to over 15 bases performing with the USO! That connection to the military really came through in her portrayal of Lena. I was so pleased when she agreed to this interview, I hope you enjoy.
I am a military wife myself – my husband is in the Navy, so I feel a strong connection to your character, Lena Graves on SIX. The grace that the families are treated with on the show is one of the biggest draws for me, so I am especially appreciative of you taking the time for this.
When you first heard about the role of Lena, what peaked your interest?
The role just really hit home for me. I am from a military family and know about the hardships being in the service can have on a relationship. Also, it was everyone that was involved in the project. Leslie Linka-Glatter directed and executive produced, and the creator, William Broyles and I had worked on Jarhead together. It just felt so right and natural to play Lena.
How much were you able to shape how Lena ends up being portrayed, and are there things you’d like to push for but haven’t been able to yet?
Yes, of course. There are so many things I want to portray with Lena. I wanted to explore her job as a teacher, the sacrifices she made for Joseph and them trying to have another child. She was born to be a mother and I would love to show the ups and downs of struggling with the path to motherhood.
Your characterization of Lena really portrays the toll that the military life, and in particular that of special operators, takes on the family. What helped you tap into that when developing Lena?
I think being from a military family helped. But I also interviewed a Seal Team member’s wife and she really let me dig in deep with her to know all the hardships of being married to a man that was gone 240 days out of the year with no idea what he is doing. I also did a lot of research on my own to discover how unbelievably strong a women you have to be to live that life and stay connected to your husband.
You travel quite a bit to bases and volunteer with the USO, which as a mil spouse I very much appreciate. How did you get involved with that?
After I was in Jarhead, the USO reached out to my manager to see if I was interested in traveling to visit the soldiers. There was no hesitation on my part, I was completely honored and said YES immediately.
You stay very busy both in front of the camera and behind, what helps you cope with that type of schedule?
I love being in front or behind the camera. So it really has worked out beautiful in my schedule to make both work. I was shadowing a lot of the directors on Season 2 of SIX when I was not acting. I just love creating and I think its human nature to find the time for things we truly love. I really try to find a balance of work, rest and play. Which I hope I can say in a month since I’m about to have a baby boy. I hope I can still do all because that’s my goal as a working mom.
Do you prefer acting or directing these days? What are the biggest common challenges between the two?
I love both obviously. There is something really great about digging into one character and using everything you have to bring them to life. But with directing, you get to have your thoughts and ideas in every aspect of the film. Which as a control freak I love, and my producing partner and husband Mark Gantt likes to remind me. There are definite challenges with both professions. As an actor you’re always waiting for someone to give you a job, which is never fun. And for directing it’s getting the job too but the responsibility is larger. I’m creating the overall look, feel and tone for the project. I’m directing actors, working with department heads, the writer, and the producers.
I know the guys get asked a lot about their training regimen, but both yourself and Nadine Velazquez obviously have to stay in great shape for your roles as well. What helps you stay fit and healthy?
I love to run when I’m on location shooting so I can see the city I’m in. But I also do yoga at home and bring my T25 DVDs with me whenever I’m on location.
You’ve worked with a lot of horror films in different capacities, has that always been a genre that drew you?
I love horror. It’s such a fun genre to work as an actress and director in. You get to push the boundaries of make-believe and really go there with your emotions. I think I have a pretty good horror scream too.
Can you tell us about your short film Transfer that’s in production right now?
It’s a short story about a woman played by Desiree Martin, who gets hit by a car. She’s visited by three ghosts, who confront her about her unresolved issues. It’s a tragic story but beautifully told. I’m also creating a new television series with my producing partners/creator Jana Kramer and husband Mark Gantt that is being shopped around to networks as we speak. Mark has also written another show called Cul-de-sac that we are developing as well. There’s so much going on at this moment. All good stuff that I hope the world will see soon.
If you’re at home relaxing, what is your go-to Netflix binge?
My Husband and I definitely can’t wait for the new seasons of House of Cards, The Crown, and Mindhunters. We’re also obsessed with Westworld, Big Little Lies, and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Thank you again so much for your time, is there anything else you’d like your fans to know?
That I am so beyond grateful for them watching SIX last season. We were the number one cable drama and I really hope they love season two when it airs Memorial Day, (May 28th) at 10pm on History. Thank you so much!
The second season of SIX begins on May 28th at 10/9c on History Channel. Follow Brianne on her twitter at @thebriannedavis
Follow us on @tvserieshub as we live tweet along with the series