FAY MASTERSON INTERVIEW

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Fay Masterson plays Commander Andrea Garnett on “The Last Ship”. A constant presence ever since the second episode, “Welcome to Gitmo”, Fay portrays Garnett with a strength and sensitivity that paints her very much as a woman as well as a soldier. It is this portrayal that has made her a fan favourite, and someone we very much wish we could see more of.

We recently had the chance to put some questions to Fay about her role, the effects it has had on her, and what’s coming next. We also tested whether she’s truly become Americanized in the time she has lived in the USA, or whether she’s a Brit at heart!

TLSTV: Garnett is a strong, capable woman doing what many would see as a man’s job. What drew you to the role?

Fay Masterson: Well, exactly that. The great thing about this show is that they have women comfortably doing roles traditionally seen as a man’s position without any fanfare. Its reflective of how the armed forces are nowadays, I believe. Obviously there are still more men than women enlisted, but women are getting more respect and opportunities all the time.

TLSTV: You weren’t in the pilot episode, coming in from “Welcome to Gitmo”. Given that the pilot was filmed over a year before the rest of season one, was there a feeling of coming into an existing, close knit cast, or was it all brand new for everyone?

FM: There were quite a few new characters. No-one made me feel like an outsider. I had also worked with Jack Bender and Hank Steinberg before and they made me feel incredibly welcome. One of the reasons the show works so well is how much everyone likes and respects each other (crew included). They cast this show so darn well! From the guest stars to the regulars, it’s been amazing.

TLSTV: Garnett has been put through the mill, particularly in season two, with the confirmed loss of her family, and in season three when she was taken hostage. What’s been the biggest challenge in those two emotional storylines?

"THE LAST SHIP" "Devil May Care" / Ep 304 TNT Ph: Doug Hyun

“THE LAST SHIP” “Devil May Care” / Ep 304 TNT Ph: Doug Hyun

FM: I am married with a 4 year old daughter – the hardest thing was not falling into an emotional spiral of putting myself in Garnett’s shoes. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, so I tried to really stay with her and not wallow in my own projected misery of what that could be. Does that make sense? (So hard for me to talk about acting!). And of course, with the hostage situation you just want to portray that reality as well as you can and do right by the men and women who have actually been captured and held.

TLSTV: Did you do anything specific to get into the right mindset for the scenes in which Garnett was held hostage?

FM: It was freezing and pretty miserable when and where we shot it. That was all the mindset we needed! They made incredible sets for us to film in (not to mention how amazing Hiroyuki Sanada and Eiden Hanzai were at torturing us!), that it wasn’t so difficult to imagine the reality.

TLSTV: What would you like to see for Garnett in seasons four and five? With Steve Kane having said a year has passed, you must be excited to see where she’s going. After all, the writers have been amazing and already put Garnett through a hell of a lot in the first three seasons!

The Last Ship

From Fay Masterson’s Twitter

FM: I wouldn’t presume to say. I am always very happy with how well they write Garnett and grateful to be there. The role of Garnett was originally a 3 episode guarantee, so am honored to have been taken on board for the run! Am sure whatever they come up with will be fantastic to play for sure!

TLSTV: “The Last Ship” is known for its positive portrayal of equality, whether it’s gender, race or sexuality. Does it make you proud that this is recognised? How do you think the show has gained that reputation?

FM: Going back to my earlier answer, I think it’s reflective of how the military has changed, which is reflective of how the culture has changed and continues to evolve. It makes me incredibly proud to be a part of a show that doesn’t shy away from those changes.

TLSTV: We can’t help but notice the parallels between TLS and real world politics – the regional leaders building their walls, and Donald Trump wanting to wall off Mexico. Can you tell us what it’s like to work on such a politically aware and responsive show?

FM: I don’t know how conscious that is, (I will have to ask them!!) but I’m sure the effect is undeniable when they sit down to write. They probably can’t help but be influenced by this time in our history. There is something so heightened about Trump that it’s almost surreal, almost like a TV series or film being played out. And of course, there are definite parallels between his platform and Alison Shaw and her merry band of Barons!

The Last Ship

From Fay Masterson’s Twitter

TLSTV: You can’t get a much more American show than “The Last Ship”! It’s possibly the most patriotic show on TV at the moment. How does that feel for you, with the USA being your adopted home? How does it compare to the British sense of national identity?

FM: The Brits are a pretty patriotic bunch as well. The two countries are very similar in that way. I love the USA. It’s been incredibly good to me and 23 years of being there makes it my home just as much as the UK. I care deeply about the future of the country and am always so amazed at how the USA was founded and what it has grown into. The current political climate aside, it’s an incredible place to live. We recently bought a house in Canada to be closer to family for our daughter, but we will be spending a lot of time in the States for work every year, so it will always be a home to me, and I am so grateful for that.

TLSTV: How does your British background inform your take on US politics at the moment?

FM: That’s a fascinating question! I think that seeing how certain scenarios played out for the British over the centuries probably informs some of my beliefs and attitudes towards what is happening in the US today. That, and the obvious things of growing up with the National Health Service and no gun crime really to speak of gives me a certain stance on those issues. I grew up in London, which is also an incredibly diverse melting pot of cultures and that is how the world is becoming more and more. I just choose to go with the flow of that, instead of fighting it. But the extremist members of the Brexit movement highly parallels a lot of the sentiment of a large swath of Trump voters, which is very interesting to me. I think pride in your homeland is a truly wonderful thing, but at what price? Curious to see what the next 50 years hold for both countries actually. Oof, I could go on about this all day and bore everyone!!

"THE LAST SHIP" "Paradise" / Ep 309 TNT Ph: Doug Hyun

“THE LAST SHIP” “Paradise” / Ep 309 TNT Ph: Doug Hyun

TLSTV: What’s the most rewarding thing about working on “The Last Ship”?

FM: The people. I love seeing these people every day. It’s great to work with such a talented group. You can’t help but get better around them. And then there’s the ultimate message of the show, which is one of hope and the strength and resilience of human beings. I love that.

TLSTV: What’s been your favourite scene to play on “The Last Ship”?

FM: So many!! Hard to chose. I love the whole “Trials” episode. I’m also very proud of the scene with Eric (Chandler) where I tell him my family didn’t make it in Season 2 (It’s Not A Rumor). He was wonderful to work with in that scene.

TLSTV: We often hear about the guys joking around on set. Do the girls all have to play grown-up, or do you get in on the fun as well?

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From Fay Masterson’s Twitter

FM: Oh please! We’re just as raucous!

TLSTV: How do YOU feel about Chandler’s decision to quit the navy?

FM: I think the burden of the past 3 seasons has finally caught up to him. I loved it from a character standpoint as we finally see how human he is and that even the strongest of people lose their footing, and the crushing weight of grief he’s had to put off dealing with has come crashing down on him. Of course he’d better come back, darn it!!

TLSTV: It’s a vast change, going from “The Last Ship” to the “Fifty Shades” movies. Can you tell us a little about your character, Gail Jones? We understand she bags herself a younger man!

FM: I can’t say much, but what I will say is that she cares deeply about Christian Grey’s happiness and doesn’t want him to screw up this opportunity at real happiness! Was wonderful to play her and I was treated so well. Another great cast and crew. Have been very blessed in my career for sure!

TLSTV: A look at your credits shows a vast, varied body of work. This includes lending your voice to a number of video games, and to an animated telling of “A Christmas Carol”. How does voice work compare to screen acting?

FM: A Christmas Carol was actually Motion Capture, so we were all there on set interacting with one another like a regular film. But I love doing voice work! You really have to put all the emotion you can convey with a single glance or body posture on camera into your voice without overdoing it. Tricky, but so fun! I also get to play some roles I don’t think I’d ever do on camera. It’s a blast. I also do a lot of Brit roles, whereas on camera work tends to be mostly as an American.

From Fay Masterson’s Twitter

TLSTV: We hear your family bring you British care packages! What British things can’t you live without?

FM: Colman’s English mustard. Marmite. Scones. The movie “Hot Fuzz”, and Boots cleansing make-up remover!

TLSTV: Just a few quick ones now. Britain v USA!

Tea with milk or iced tea? Tea with milk.

Cadbury’s or Hershey’s? Cadbury’s hands down.

Cheddar or Monterey Jack? Cheddar

Trousers or pants? I don’t discriminate on this one. Cool with either…

With or without the “U”? I always attempt to write the U and then autocorrect quashes it, so I give up.

Driving on the left or the right? Not hard for me to switch these days but very disorientating when I first moved to the States!!

Boot or trunk? Trunk!! That one has really gotten into my psyche!!

FM: Thanks for the great questions. Been fun. And thanks for being such great fans of the show!!

Thank you for talking to us, Fay, and we hope to see much more of you in season four!

You can next catch Fay in “Fifty Shades Darker”, which opens worldwide on February 14 2017.


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