Sunday, February 18, 2007

CRIMINAL MINDS: PAGET BREWSTER


Brewster: From fringe to TV's mainstream
Sun, Feb. 18, 2007
By Mike Antonucci
Mercury News

Twelve years ago, Paget Brewster was billed as the ultimate discovery in fringe talent. A San Francisco TV station had given her a 1:30 a.m. talk show as ``an art school dropout who spent four years playing in a rock band, a former bartender, waitress, office temp and street singer.''

Today, Brewster is as mainstream a star as you'll find on TV. She's a recent addition to one of prime time's hottest dramas, ``Criminal Minds'' on CBS, and was in the forefront of the TV Guide cover photo that featured the show earlier this month.

She also entered the realm of eternal holiday reruns by playing the wife of Rob Lowe's character in December's made-for-TNT movie ``A Perfect Day.''

With that kind of success, Brewster can rely on publicity pros to trumpet her credits -- which include a breakthrough set of ``Friends'' episodes in 1997 and '98 -- and gloss over her dropout singing days in New York, living in a condemned building and too insecure to go to acting school.

It's a good thing Brewster, 37, doesn't do her own PR. Here are samples of what she's in danger of telling anybody who asks.

• On why she gets hired: ``I think I'm a good team player. I'm not a model, but I'm not ugly. I'm funny, I can act well enough, and after two hours of makeup, we've got a pretty good-looking broad. Big nose, but otherwise, pretty OK.''

• On life as an eligible celebrity: ``All I do is work, and I'm not going to mess around with anyone at work. I feel like I'm going to end up on Match.com. I need to be kissed, but I'm like catnip to guys who are too young for me.''

• On her first Hollywood agent: ``He was acting really squirrelly when I was meeting with him, and it turned out he was going to another agency, and he was trying to figure out how to get his files out of the building. So I said I'd steal his files for him if he took me with him to the other agency. I took them right down to my car, and he kept me.''

Pure begging persuaded a previous agent in San Francisco to arrange the meeting that landed Brewster her talk show on KPIX (Ch. 5). She was on the air in 1995 as sort of a wannabe Riki Lake, getting both fan and stalker letters.

In 1996, after the show was canceled, Brewster left for Los Angeles. She says the agent with the pilfered files invented a story about a TV network offering her a large contract, then enticed other networks to make frantic competing offers.

``I was meeting with network presidents in my first six days in L.A.,'' she recalls. ``Every place I went there was a fruit platter.''

The upshot was a deal with Fox that turned into a couple of years of making money but not achieving much, except for work in pilot episodes that didn't get picked up as series.

Then came the memorable episodes on ``Friends'' as Kathy, a woman who came between Joey and Chandler.

That was followed by roles in shows that did get picked up as series -- and which died so rapidly that TV writers began describing Brewster as a dreaded cancellation jinx.

``My name was being written as `Paget Brewster, show killer,' '' she says.

``Love & Money'' on CBS (1999) and ``The Trouble with Normal'' on ABC (2000) are largely forgotten; ``Andy Richter Controls the Universe'' on Fox (2002-03) was a critics' favorite but also flamed out quickly.

A dollop of stability arrived with ``Huff,'' a Showtime series (2004-06) in which Brewster played the wife of a problem-ridden psychiatrist (portrayed by Hank Azaria). ``Huff'' was hailed as a prestige show, and Brewster got good reviews. But some of the themes, which included suicide and sickness, required too much emotional investment.

``Acting that material made me personally unhappy,'' Brewster says. ``It was a great job to get, but I'd rather be funny or waving a gun.''

She's getting that latter wish on ``Criminal Minds,'' playing an FBI agent on a show that's now a flagship hit for CBS. What does Brewster add? ``Scissory sleekness,'' says Entertainment Weekly.

It's hard to predict what's ahead for her, but her acting career already has lasted years longer than she expected, not to mention that it's flourishing.

``It's actually fantastic,'' she says. ``Running around with guns drawn is really fun.''

More about Paget Brewster

• She played Ms. Indestructible in the superheroes movie ``The Specials'' that also featured Rob Lowe, Thomas Haden Church and Jamie Kennedy.

• Her career total for TV pilots (including the handful picked up as series): 16.

36 comments:

Lin said...

Cool article! Thanks for posting it.

I love the bit about stealing the files for her soon-to-be. Wonderful thinking!

Allie said...

I am warming to Emily Prentiss. That is a start. Paget sounds nice though.

DNY LOVES CRIMINAL MINDS said...

The writers do seem to be making Emily more likeable but lets see how she handles this new Reid problem. Prentiss still seems void of personality and basic human warmth to me. I keep thinking the writers must be writing her this way for some reason we just do not understand yet. Maybe we have a great storyline in our future. As for Paget...other than the visual of Mandy dancing her around the set singing in her ear........I am alright with her. Everyone already knows my thoughts on that one...other than his beautiful wife there should be no dancing around the set unless it is with me. LOL. She was good on friends even if she did cause poor Chandler to have to lay in a box. LOL

I was pleasantly surprised when I looked in the Yahoo Group at the poll I posted a few days ago asking how people were feeling about her now that she has been with us for awhile. There was a definate difference in opinion from the first time we ran the poll when she first joined the cast. :)

slashgirl said...

Interesting article, she sounds like a nice person. But I'm still not liking Prentiss. And I won't say anything further...;) Sometimes silence is best.

nebula said...

Paget definitely sounds more interesting as a person than Prentiss at the moment. I hope we are going to find out more about her soon - surely the writers must have something up their billowing sleevies?

B.J. said...

I never thought about it that way. Maybe there really is a reason they are playing her cold. She sure doesn't sound like she is that way in real life. OK. I will wait.

Lee said...

I like her, I can't help it. I like what she said about being an attractive broad except for the big nose cause I can relate. It sucks when your nose holds you back. :(

Lee :)

simmie said...

She has great skin and lips. Look at her picture. I am hanging on the fence with Prentiss.

bogusboobs said...

Ms. Brewster has been one of those "secret" talents (of the sort that TV viewers often say, "I KNOW I've seen her someplace before!) for many years. I'm sorry that her "Huff" experience was so personally taxing; she was simply terrific in it.

Best wishes to her, and hooray for those characters-we-love-to-hate ... they're always the most interesting!

Lucy said...

I actually like her. And those earrings are great!

bella said...

I do like the way she dresses.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jill! This is Jill, Kris' Mom from Ohio. Your postings are pretty awesome. So much information not only about the show itself, but about the actors. Great Job!

SSA Jentzer said...

ditto what slash girl says....I'll give her some props though (paget NOT prentiss) anyone girl that has a fish purse that really is a beer cooler has some potntial!! :)

ann said...

I don't know her, I must confess, but what beautiful eyes and those eyelashes... wonder what mascara she uses...

lotsa luv ann xxxxx

p.s. before anyone gets upset, I'm not a Criminal Minds fan, not because I don't like, but because I haven't yet got round to watching it, but I am a Jill friend and fan... mwahx

DNY LOVES CRIMINAL MINDS said...

Well hi Jill, Kris's mom!! So glad that you visited and liked the blog. I really should send you the caps from Kris's episode of Criminal Minds, "North Mammon". I have great hopes for your son. I know he is going to make it. He is our adopted "star in training" on this blog and in the Yahoo Criminal Minds group. If Kris hasn't already sent you those pictures email me and I will send them to you. Email address is on the front page of the blog. Again, thanks for visiting and the kind words. Jill :)

Sadie said...

Its good to see women who don't fit the Hollywood stereotype getting good roles on primetime shows. Go Paget!

Amy said...

Everything looks great DNY.

Anonymous said...

I would kill for her cheekbones!

Jan said...

Paget sounds like a very interesting and humorous person, and she's certainly lovely. I have no idea why the writers are, apparently, purposely portraying Prentiss as unable to emotionally click with her coworkers (or the audience). Does she have a self image problem that holds her back ("I'm such a geek...")? I think a little backstory would help, but we have other characters who have been our favorites far longer and about whom we would like to see more individual stories, as well.

Well, as I keep reminding myself, I DO NOT write for Criminal Minds, so I must relax, sit back, and trust that the professionals will take care of my favorite characters on TV.

sondra said...

We have to have Garcia's backstory before Prentiss's.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I want the backstories on older characters first. But character development can be done without a full backstory for Emily. I would like to have a more rounded picture of her.

sasha said...

It is getting warmer for her. The writers seem to have toned her down some and that is good. I wasn't a big Elle lover and I would like to like Emily.

Anonymous said...

She sounds nice in this article.

DNY LOVES CRIMINAL MINDS said...

When Paget first joined the show we took a poll in the Yahoo group and almost 90% wanted her gone. I opened a new polls three days ago and now 90% say they have either warmed to her or now like her. Sounds like Emily Prentiss is heading in the right direction! :)

belinda said...

I think she is really very pretty. Her eyes are great. I hope the writers will help us like Prentiss soon.

snowed in said...

I totally get what they're doing with Prentiss. I think the writers should be congratulated for daring to create a female character who keeps her emotions in check and gets the job done. Garcia does a fantastic job being the emotional one on the show, but Prentiss always steps up to solving the case with the same intelligence and strength as Hotch and Gideon. Maybe they need to write another scene or two off the clock so we can see her cut loose a little, or have a guy come to the office to pick her up for a date? I can't help but wonder, if they had cast a male actor in that role with the exact same character traits, would anyone find him cold or would he be perceived as strong and effective?

I just watched the Revelations episode and noticed when everyone has their guard down at the end, Prentiss is still looking around in case there are more baddies to deal with. Go Paget.

Anonymous said...

Snowed in has a very good point. Do we have different expectations of female characters, particularly in the emotional arena? Perhaps. I just know that I liked Elle A LOT, and I haven't seen Prentiss do or say anything to make me transfer that affection to her character. My mind's open, though.

sharon said...

I can't help but notice the lack of the M word so that must be a good sign. I think it is the first time we have talked about PB without saying it.

wendy said...

I think the reason I am starting to like the character more is because the rest of the BAU has seemed to settle in with her. I think Paget is a really good actress doing a really good job.

amelia said...

I never realized till looking at this picture that she is a truly beautiful woman. My husband thinks she is goddess like.

Anonymous said...

Swear to God that I did not realize she was the girl from Friends. Woe I am stupid. She is growin on me.

jen said...

OMG, her skin is like buttah. Yeah, she can pretty much just stand godlesslike there for all I care. I only listen to Gideon and Reid anyway.

joyce said...

I have liked her all along! Her character DOES need more notice. I have a feeling writer's are going to throw her full-force into a very dynamic, powerful episode (surpise us!), and she is going to give us a superb performance...to which we will respond with a big AWESOME WOW!!! She deserves a change.

Gracie said...

It sounds like she has a real sense of humor. Good for her.

jacqui said...

that's terrible..."Paget Brewster, show killer". LOL...she is certainly a character, isn't she?

jacqui #226

Anonymous said...

What kind of mascara does she use, or are they false eyelashes, beautiful!!!