You just go through the pearly gates backwards and on fire. (Jeremy Clarkson)
I turned 30 in July, when I never thought I’d see the day. With my various health problems, there had always been a concern I wouldn’t live to my 30th birthday. So the fact that I’m still breathing, and then was blessed to have what I might consider one of the best years of my life – I thought it was something worth talking about.
I was incredibly thrilled to see four of my favorite people – Philip Winchester, Damon Gupton, Sullivan Stapleton and Jeff Hephner – take center stage this season and then beyond honored to be able to work alongside them on each of their new series. It’s a blessing enough that one show gets picked up, but to say that four of the best people I know all got those opportunities and then that they wanted me there beside them, I’m not sure I’ve been more emotionally just overwhelmed in my life.
Here’s an example: at the moment I’m struggling with frustration over the cancellation of Agent X. I feel guilty that I was forced to miss the New York Comic Con press room where I could’ve been hanging out with Jeff and Blake Herron, and of course with the show ending TNT hasn’t been able to get them on the phone for me either. I can’t shake the feeling that I didn’t do as much as I could have, and it pisses me off. That’s an opportunity I won’t get back, and it’s more wasted when I now know that the project I got roped into didn’t need me at all, whereas everyone on Agent X has proven themselves to be the people I should’ve been spending my time with all along.
One thing they have done for me is give me my confidence back, because it was wrecked by November. I will never forget the experience I had with The Player. I never gave more than I have to that show and no show ever took more from me. Firstly, I’ve already spoken at length about how much I love working with Philip, so the fact that we spent so much time together alone makes those few months a blessing. But then you factor in Damon, and that I became friendly with Charity Wakefield and got to work with Wesley Snipes, and that it was just a superbly done show all around – for those few months, I knew I was part of something special. I connected with it in a way I haven’t since the end of Human Target. What really made it hit home was that I saw the impact of what I was doing. I said that I wanted to be the biggest champion of the show and that was exactly what I became.
When The Player went down (and hopefully it and Agent X will find reprieves someplace), you may as well have stabbed me. I’ll freely admit that what I felt went beyond dealing with any other cancellation. I was hurt, and I was lost, and I beat myself up. I had thrown everything I had on the line and it hadn’t been enough. I honestly doubted myself and my ability to make a difference, and I’ve never done that before. I had to really grieve, and then breathe and it was only in talking to Philip one last time and then in the kind words I’ve gotten from the Agent X crew that I was like, “Hey, I do still know how to help people.”
But hurting that badly means I cared that much, and I’m proud of that. I get told a lot that I need to step back but I can’t do it. Not when I’m working with people as genuine as Philip and Jeff and Damon and Sully, and those people are in turn opening themselves up to me. I got to spend the majority of my year with these great guys. Why the fuck wouldn’t you want to be a part of this?
Because honestly, what I’ve had to remind myself of this year is that it’s not the length of the show that matters. It’s the experiences that you have while you have the chance. I spent two years apart from Philip and Sully and this year I got to see them both. I can say I walked out of a five-star network dinner because it was more important to me to stay committed to The Player. I’ve had more quotes appear on TV and in print this year than I’ve ever seen before. And one of the craziest things I’ve ever done in my life was fly to New York so that I could crash the Blindspot cast autograph signing.
To see the shock, then the recognition and happiness on the faces of everybody there is one of those moments I am always going to cherish. Whether it was Rob Brown telling me his mother was so proud of the feature I wrote about him, or Martin Gero asking me if I was coming to the panel, they didn’t just remember me but they liked having me there. We’re talking about the cast of the biggest new show on television and I sort of stole their scene.
Oh, and while all this was going on, I was also working with Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, strapped into a car with Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and another with two-time Global Rallycross champion Tanner Foust, and was invited to Las Vegas for NASCAR Champion’s Week. Even one of those things would make your head spin. I got all four.
Now if I’d only had the guts to say fuck my commitments and gone to the Agent X press room like I wanted, it would have been a perfect year. As it was, that’s the only regret I think I have (unless you count The Player getting shut down just days before my planned set visit). The one thing I’ve always wanted to be is an action hero, and I got to spend most of this year working on nothing but action shows alongside four friends that I would also call heroes. I was right in my wheelhouse with the people I care about most. It took a lot of hard work, and I got my heart broken, but I can’t imagine another year when things will line up this perfectly. I’m certainly grateful that I was here to see it.
Photo Credit: Exclusive to Brittany-Frederick.com/Courtesy of SyFy