I had the pleasure recently to interview Boston native and Actress Becki Dennis via email from Hollywood. I sent her 16 questions and she responded back to me with stellar answers…Here is my interview with Actress Becki Dennis.
1 Question: You landed the role of Amy Adams’ Nanny friend in “American Hustle.” How did you come across that part?
I had been auditioning at Boston Casting for years, as well as doing extra work, commercials, and industrials (training videos) through them, so I had built a relationship with them over time. Although I had auditioned for some speaking roles in films and TV shows at Boston Casting, I hadn’t yet booked any of those, but my auditions were memorable enough to get me considered for this role in “American Hustle” without having to audition for it.
It was first presented to me as an opportunity to submit for “featured background work,” so I submitted some photos and made it into the final selections. Then, they chose three of us to play Amy Adams’ nanny friends from those picture submissions. The director, David O. Russell, asked Boston Casting who was strongest at improv out of the three us, and they told him me, so I landed the role of the Nanny Rebecca. As Rebecca, I had an extra scene that the other nanny friends didn’t have, as well as some potential speaking. I was booked as “featured background with the possibility of an upgrade.”
I ended up filming five scenes, including some with lines, and was upgraded to principal. While the majority of the scenes and my lines were cut in the final edit, I was grateful that one scene with me remained and a little bit of my laughter with Amy at the top of the scene. It was one of the most exciting times of my life to be a part of that movie and it all felt very surreal.
2 Question A few years back you were cast in “Ted 2” as a receptionist. Did you ever work with Mark on his films before? What was it like to work on set with Mark Wahlberg?
Working on “Ted 2” was a great experience. Everyone on set was so nice and welcoming. It was my first time working with Mark Wahlberg, but I did not actually get to interact with him much. He seemed pretty serious into his work, which I understand, as I can get that way, too, sometimes. I did get to bond with my fellow actress, Maggie Geha, who played the nurse in “Ted 2”, and who is now a star of the TV show “Gotham.” I am so happy for her and all she has accomplished since “Ted 2.” I also got to speak with writer/director Seth MacFarlane between takes, who was so down to earth and extremely gifted. It was a joy to observe him multi-task as the writer, director, and voice of Ted simultaneously.
3 Question So now that you’re in Hollywood, what do your three brothers think about all your fame and do they watch your shows from home?
You are too kind. I am not famous yet, but I appreciate those sentiments. I think my brothers are happy to see that my move to Hollywood is working out for the best, as my two older brothers may have been a bit concerned for me initially. (I think the older brother protective instinct kicked in when I moved.) My younger brother is very excited for me and tells all of his friends when I am in things. And, as far as I know, they watch most of my shows at home.
4 Question What does your husband think about all of your Hollywood fame with your multiple TV sitcoms and do you both watch your shows at home after a long week?
My husband is extremely supportive of me and the pursuit of my dream. He also always finds a way to get my shows on the TV 3 hours early, so I can watch them when my East Coast friends and family are watching them. I don’t like having to wait to watch them Pacific Time and having others see it before me, so he always figures out that technical component for me.
5.Question Going back to when you were in junior high and high school, Did you jump right into school plays for lead roles or take whatever was offered at that time?
In my first musicals in middle and high school, I was cast in the ensemble as a dancer, as I was focusing mostly on dance at the time and dancers usually don’t get lead roles. I was also the Dance Captain of the musicals and then caught the acting bug through performing in musical theatre. My first straight play in high school was a small role, but I worked my way up to lead roles by my senior year. I had to work hard and prove myself as an actor because up until that point I was known more as a dancer and even won “Best Dancer” in my high school yearbook superlatives.
6 Question When you got that part in the Nutcracker, Did you take it because you want to pave your path to your Hollywood dreams?
At the time I performed in “The Nutcracker,” I was so intensely involved in dance and thought that I wanted to be a professional dancer when I grew up. I didn’t really have a dancer’s body, though, and once I came to realize that, and I also fell in love with acting, then I knew that acting was where I belonged. I do credit dance for instilling in me the discipline that is needed to be an actor, and for teaching me how to emote without speaking.
7 Question Looking back for a bit here…When you finally took that leap out to Hollywood to pursue your acting career and your flying over Los Angeles, did you look out the window of your seat and see that big Hollywood sign on the hill and smile and say to yourself, Welcome to Hollywood Becki Dennis, What was the feeling that came over you?
I had so many mixed emotions when I flew out to LA in January of 2015. To say it was all sunshine and rainbows would be a lie. It was tough moving across the country, away from my family and friends, after living in Massachusetts pretty much my whole life up until that point. And, I had to be long distance with my husband at first, so there was anxiety with not being used to being without him for long periods of time. I was both excited and scared of what was to come, but my belief in my dream and the way things fell into place for me and so many positive ways kept me going. I had obstacles. I was uncomfortable at times. I moved by myself into a house with a woman I didn’t know. But, the best things happen outside of your comfort zone, so I kept going, despite my fears.
8 Question You have a lot on your TV plate right now, How do you juggle all of the sitcoms and your home life?
Most of my TV roles thus far haven’t been too time intensive, but pursuing a professional acting career with all of the auditions that I get (almost daily right now) is a lot to keep up with, as I need to be prepared for all of them. I am blessed, though, and I am not complaining. They are great opportunities. It also helps that my husband and I do everything together – we shop together, cook together, clean up together, and so on. I need to be careful not to say “yes” to too many things that aren’t necessary to go to, as I could burn out, so it’s just being realistic with what I can accomplish, and prioritizing my actor preparation for auditions and shoots, as well as my marriage.
9 Question With all of your fame and daily schedule, Do you make it back to Boston when you can to catch up with family and friends and what is your favorite thing to do when your back at home in Andover?
I love to go back to Boston and I have visited a lot since I’ve lived in LA, but it feels like it is getting harder to visit for long periods of time because I am more rooted in LA now. When I take quick trips, I only have time to see immediate family. I’m hoping to take an extended trip this summer, as I have the past two summers, and summers in New England are beautiful. My favorite thing to do at home is spend time with my niece and nephews, and to swim in my parent’s pool in Andover and relax.
10 Question Do you have a preference on projects – Movies or Television?
Not really. Honestly, it feels pretty like much the same medium, as most of the TV shows that I have worked on have been single-camera, meaning the way you rehearse and shoot the scene is the same format as movies. The only exception was “The Young and the Restless,” which felt different because it was multi-cam and felt like theater in some ways, but without the audience.
11 Question Was there a favorite casting agency in Boston?
I appreciate each casting company in Boston. They have all been good to me.
12 Question What is your favorite TV show or movie?
“This Is Us” is my favorite TV show. Not just because I was in it, but I fell in love with it before I worked on it. It’s just an incredibly moving and real show, which made it even more special to get to be on it.
13 Question What is your favorite late night snack you found since moving to LA?
This snack isn’t really particular to LA, but my husband and I have recently gotten into chocolate covered strawberries for a healthy-ish dessert. We buy organic strawberries and put some nutella on them. Yum! (Well, I guess the organic part is very LA.)
14 Question Do you have a favorite actress or actor that you met since moving to LA?
I heard Gina Rodriguez, star of “Jane the Virgin,” speak at an event and found her to be incredibly inspiring and humble. I admire her and want to have a career like her.
15 Question You’re a Boston girl and since moving out to the West Coast, Have you gotten used to the daily rumblings..earthquakes yet?
Believe it or not, I have yet to feel an earthquake yet… Knock on wood!
16 Question Ok last question, Do you still pinch yourself sometimes after all of your success in movies and now television shows and ask yourself is this for real? or am I dreaming?
I have had moments where I have had to pinch myself, like when I was on set of my favorite show (“This Is Us,”) or when the writer and director of “Fresh Off the Boat” came up to me after my scene to tell me how funny I was. But, those are just occasional moments. I certainly don’t feel like I’ve “made it” yet by any means and want to achieve more. So, while I’m grateful for what I have, I’m not constantly in a state of awe. I’m too busy hustling towards my bigger dreams to settle for what I have accomplished already. I hope that makes sense.
Thanks so much for your time and energy, Craig, and for wanting to do this interview!
My final thoughts…It was a great honor to interview such an amazing and talented young lady Becki Dennis. I wish Becki the very best! Be sure to look for Becki walking the red carpet very soon.
To learn more about Becki Dennis click here