By Jean-Paul Eliard
The 30 April 2021
Hi Dedee, I'm glad to do this interview with you and I hope you and your family are well.
Hi! Thank you for asking me! All good in the hood over here lol!
Could you tell us about your character Denise Brisbane in Big Sky on
Denise is a mama bear type.
She is the den mother, office manager, and she keeps the other characters anchored and she is a safe place to land within a crazy and often scary series! She is also a smart ass and quick witted. lol!
What did you like about the show when you read the pilot script?
What I loved about Big Sky when I read it was it was unpredictable and felt more like a cable show, but on a major network!
It pushed (and still does) the boundaries of what audiences think is safe.
I mean, what happened in the pilot... sets up that no one is safe and because of that, what a fun show to follow!!!
How was it working with
Katheryn Winnick, Kylie Bunbury, Brian Geraghty, Jesse James Keitel, the rest of the cast....and with the producer / your brother-in-law, David E. Kelley ?
I love and adore all the cast and what a cast we have! So very talented!!! The following is how I would describe the few I have been able to work with considering Covid restrictions.
I’ve only met a few of them:
Katheryn: Strong (I wouldn’t mess with
her in a dark alley)
Kylie: Earthy (I want to plant a tree with her)
Brian: My lil brother (Always makes me smile & laugh!!)
Jesse: Classy (So sweet and crazy beautiful)
And for David? Well, long story short...
My family rarely talks shop (aka: the business), so when he hired me...
No one was more surprised than me!!! And no one was more appreciative and gratefulbecause I was going through a tough time, so he inadvertently threw me a lifeline. : )))
Oh how do I love the way Mother Earth works in mysterious and unpredictable ways!
How long did you work on season
1 of this show?
We JUST finished and are all home from being in Canada for 8.5 months, not including the time that we had when we started last year in New Mexico.
We filmed there for one day and then we were all sent home because of the pandemic.
With the pandemic, was filming
The pandemic changed filming dramatically!
On other projects, there was a time where you would meet everyone involved in the production and bond in person.
Like I mentioned above, I’ve only met (in person) those who were in the scenes with me.
There was a time where I would roam throughout every city, state and or country I filmed in and would immerse myself within that culture, but because of Covid, there was none (if very little) of that. Not unlike others throughout the world, limited contact with people and isolation (when not working) became our norm especially in Canada considering their difficulties with vaccine supplies.
Sadly, if I bumped into a crew member with out a mask?
I probably wouldn’t recognize them… To say these are crazy times is an understatement huh?
You took time off from your
acting career for 10 years. What happened to you during this time?
LONG story short? LOL!
I have been acting since I was 18 years old, but have been helping people by volunteering for numerous years, rescuing animals, etc. 10 years ago, I realized I not only ‘wanted’ to help people, but ‘needed’ to help people on a deeper level. Volunteering between acting jobs just wasn’t cutting it any longer.
Not having a clue about how the academic world works, at 47 years old,
I thought I could earn one of those things called “a degree” in a year or two…? HA! Boy was I wrong! It was a difficult academic journey, but giving up was certainly NOT an option (and trust me when I say I wanted to multiple times). Being a single mother who always tells her sons that giving up IS NOT an option, I trudged through and 10 years later, literally just graduated while starting the filming of Big Sky!
My internship(s) introduced me to what it looked like being in the field as a member of an outreach multidisciplinary team of caring and trained professionals working with those experiencing homelessness, addiction and mental illness.
These are just a few forces this population has to live and struggle with alongside personal shame and chronic judgment from those who do not understand this population.
Also, within that 10 year absence, I had to come to terms with my own addiction to alcohol and now I am proud to add to my resume that I am in recovery.
My hopes are that my openness about addiction will help inspire others to not only seek help, but help support those around us who suffer from any addiction. We need to learn how to leave space through love and compassion versus judgment and blame. It takes a village to help heal those of us who don’t fit into societies ‘norms’.
When and why did you decide to go back to school to earn a Master's Degree in Social Work from UCLA ?
Ummm… I think I answered that above lol…!
When and why did you decide to
be an actress? Did your sister, Michelle Pfeiffer influence or encourage you?
I became an actor through trial and error.
Long story short, by the time I was 18 years old, I had been working numerous jobs since I was 10.
My sis was working on “Scarface” and I told her I wanted to ‘try’ acting because everything else bores the **** out of me! She said, "Stop there! Get into acting classes before you even think any further!”
She wanted to see if this career was something I really wanted.
I realized immediately I sucked, BUT was not going to quit until I could figure out how to not suck (My dad used to call me a hard head…)
Two years later, I figured it out (well… somewhat) and as a result started going out and auditioning. In those days (80’s) it was not a good idea to tell anyone you were a sibling of a successful actor, but again, I was a hard head and refused to change my last name!
To be completely honest, I still haven’t figured out how to be a good actor because once you feel you have it all figured out, you stop learning and growing and that's the death of an artist/actor in my opinion.
So, considering I don’t believe in death, I’ll probably leave this body in the future still trying to figure that one out!
I know it is difficult to
predict what the future holds for movies, TV series, etc. for the moment with Covid-19, but what is your next challenge / project?
Life’s daily activities as a single mother during a pandemic is my challenge and I’m sure I’m not alone LOL!
But I would say my challenges are continuing to be the best that I can for my teenage boys' mental health from the results of life while coming out of this pandemic.
Also I continue my sobriety while helping others in recovery, all while continuing my commitment to my performance as Denise on Big Sky for our fans and food on the table…
I also continue working for my boys so they can stay in front of their computers! LOL!
Do you wish to add
I would love to add that my dream one day is to create a show that revolves around my degree in social welfare issues joined with my awesome fanbase that would reach people of all walks of life in need on a large scale!
That would be beautiful : ))
And follow me on Instagram @dedeepfeifferofficial
Thank you very much for your
interview Dedee and I wish you all the best and take care!
Oh thank YOU and have a beautiful day!
To see the show on ABC click on the poster below. Thank you
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