One of the most interesting and dynamic faces of ABC’s Last Resort is Daisy Betts, the Australian-born actress who plays the determined and strong Lt. Grace Shapard on the show.
Lt. Shepard is one of the first wave of female officers on a U.S. military submarine, and she also happens to be the daughter of an Admiral, Arthur Shepard, who is now situated at the Pentagon.
As we get close to a new episode of the show, airing at 8PM (ET) tonight (October 11) on ABC, we were able to interview Daisy Betts earlier this week about the role and the challenges that her character faces. We’re going to present this interview in a Q&A style, with questions posted in bold letters. Enjoy:
KSITETV: How does Grace know who to follow and who is in the right in this situation?
DAISY BETTS: I think that’s a tricky question, because I don’t think she really knows. She has a very close relationship with Captain Marcus Chaplin, who is a good family friend of her father’s, and she’s known him for a long time. She would almost blindly follow him into battle. She has a very mutually respectful relationship, like a mentoring relationship with the XO, who she trusts inherently as well. So I think for now, she’s kind of going with that, but then as the weeks go on and we start to question these guys’ motives, then she might realize that she can’t trust anyone but herself, which I think is going to be an interesting turning point.
Grace has had some really interesting interactions with Master Chief Prosser (Robert Patrick). What kind of a relationship has she had with him so far, and where do you think that might be going?
It definitely plays out, more of that, in the upcoming episodes, which is really fun to play, because Robert Patrick is a great character actor. The first time I had a scene with him, it was actually a little bit intimidating. [laughs] But then you kind of get used to it. He’s absolutely lovely off screen, so when we switch on to this love-hate relationship that they have, it’s a lot of fun, and I love the banter that is written between them, and that Grace gets to hold her own against him. It’s a great element of the story.
Do you think the other character make too much note of the fact that your character is a woman?
I think she feels it, and I think there’s part of her that thinks that ‘this is a high-stakes situation. Are you still worried about the fact that I’m a woman? Why don’t we just all focus on doing our jobs right now.’ I think that’s a big part of the way that Grace feels. I think it’s normal. I think that what they’ve portrayed is very true to fact. The submarine has always been a place for men. Women have never been on submarines, and so now is this first wave of women coming through, and I think boundaries are always going to be tested, so that’s what they’re doing.
I think that that’s what makes Grace want to prove herself more. I think in upcoming episodes, you’ll see her do that. It is pretty cool.
Have you spoken with any women who have been in a similar real life situation, working on a submarine?
I haven’t. I don’t believe that there are any female officers on submarines yet. My understanding is that it was only earlier in the year that they started officer training for women for the submarines. So let’s just say that this is a little bit in the future, and certainly the enlisted women… I don’t think that that’s the case. On our boat, in the show, there are nine enlisted women and two female officers.
They’d have to rearrange the whole submarine to make an area for women, and a submarine is already do closed-quarters. Every inch was taken up with some function or equipment, so it’s been a big deal to allow women on submarines, and that’s something very, very recent. So I haven’t spoken to anyone; but I’ve spoken to a lot of women in service, so I’ve got a little bit of an insight into what that heckling can be like, and just the over-arching resentment about women being around, and hassling all the time…. things like that, I’ve delved into those issues with women in the service. So, yeah. I’ve done a little bit of research.
Has Grace considered what her father must be thinking about her situation?
I think that based on the phone call in the pilot, where he broke down, she realizes that he does care a lot about her, and he will be trying to get his little girl to safety. We know that he’s not involved in the conspiracy, because he was totally shocked to hear about it. That also means that he obviously doesn’t have the power to necessarily stop the situation.
She’s always felt, I think, that her dad is looking over her shoulder, and she’s got to do everything that she does to impress him and make him proud.
In this situation, the rules have already been broken, and that’s all that she’s ever relied on is the rules, and doing things by the book. She’s pretty straight, and all of that, so here… what do you do when the rules have been broken and the people that you’ve sworn to defend and protect are now your enemy? I think everything’s thrown up in the air for Grace. That’s one of her vulnerabilities, I think, is that she’s not sure where her loyalties are supposed to lie, and maybe the only person that she can rely on is herself.
Early in your career you did a show called Sea Patrol. Did doing Last Resort give you any flashbacks?
A little bit. We had an episode a couple of weeks ago where Andre and Scott put on their whites; you know, their Naval whites, and that’s what I had most of my dealings with when I was in Sea Patrol. I played one of the Naval officers’ wives, so whenever they came back and they were doing something special, I was there, and my husband was in the Naval whites. So I did have a little flashback then, but certainly that was totally different. It was a small guest star recurring role, and I wasn’t on the submarine. This time, I am front and center, in the action, and it’s very cool.
Obviously this doesn’t follow military protocols either, but is there any chance for your character and her XO (Scott Speedman)?
I think the military protocols are out the window at this point, so I think anything’s possible. I do feel like their relationship is a mentorship, kind of like a mentor relationship right now. But, of course it’s possible. Hopefully [the show] goes for many, many seasons, and that is down the line, but not at this stage. I think there’s a spark between him and someone else.
Will Grace make any friends on the island, and more specifically, is Sophie someone she can trust?
That’s what I’m wondering as well. I think that she’s really out on her own at the moment. Sophie doesn’t like the presence of them at all, because she’s such a peace oriented person. She just thinks there must be another way, but Grace is like ‘look, this is the way we’ve got to do it. I’m sorry if you don’t like it.’ So I don’t think they’re seeing eye to eye, but they do inherently have that compassionate side to both of them.
Surprisingly, I think that she quite likes Tani (Dichen Lachman). I think there might be some sort of friendship there. But we’ll see.
Don’t miss Daisy Betts on an all-new Last Resort, tonight at 8PM (ET) on ABC. You can find some images from the episode, which is titled “Eight Bells,” here. And although Daisy is not in this clip, ABC has provided us with a fun video to share. Enjoy: