When I called Rachel Griffiths a few weeks ago for the cover story running in Saturday’s Toronto Star Starweek magazine, I reached her on her cell. “Sorry,” she said, apologizing for not being on a land line. “I’m just coming from a class.”
What kind of class, I asked. “I do a little tantric sex class,” she shot back–then cracked herself up.
“Actually it’s a voice class,” she said. Maybe a tantric voice class, I suggested, “so you can keep your voice up for four hours.”
It is fun to kid around with Griffiths, who added sizzle and intensity on Six Feet Under. The native Australian is smart and funny and a great interview. She seems to be having a good time on the set of Brothers & Sisters (Sundays at 10), the ABC ensemble family drama co-starring Calista Flockhart, Sally Fields and several others.
Starweek does not have a web link, so here is an excerpt from the feature, dealing with all those egos on the set:
‘Oh, I know, everybody wanted there to be a story about me and Calista, two strong actresses,” says Griffiths… “The truth is, we can’t give away our scenes fast enough. We both really understand that we’re mums and if we’re not at work we want to be at home, and if we’re at work, we want to be doing good work.”
Griffiths, 39, plays strong willed Sarah Walker on the ABC Sunday night drama. The Golden Globe award-winning and Emmy and Oscar-nominated actress and her husband, Australian artist Andrew Taylor, have two children, Banjo, five, and Adelaide, three.
Flockhart, who plays political activist Kitty Walker on the series, is partnered with fiancé Harrison Ford and has a seven-year-old son, Liam.
Not that the actresses and the others on the Brothers & Sisters set don’t have their moments. Griffiths just says everybody just equalizes the other and, in that way, egos are kept in check.
“The boys really are good at loosening up the girls if we get a bit uptight,” she says, “and the girls are really good at pin pricking the boy’s balloons if they’re all feeling a little bit important.” Plus, she adds, “Sally’s really good at just making everyone shut up and get the job done and stop whining.”
Griffiths says Field, the actress who plays the matriarch of the Walker clan, is decidedly old school. “Her work commitment is so unbelievably dedicated and she’s so thankful for what life has given her.” As Griffiths says, “Who am I to whine when Miss Double Oscar was here on set at 5 a.m. and never whines once?”
Exactly. Griffiths also had plenty of praise for Emily VanCamp, the 22-year-old Port Perry, Ont.-native on the Brothers & Sisters set. “Emily added a wonderful colour when she came into the show,” says Griffiths. “I remember her first day on the set. She had to do this whole speech. There’s me and Matt and Ron and Sally and Calista and I’m sure she was so nervous. She gave a speech and walked out of the room and we all looked at each other and said, ‘She kind of nailed it.’”