Bree Williamson (One Life To Live, Gossip Girl) joins the cast of Haven this season as Dr. Claire Callahan. Her first appearance is in tonight’s episode, which airs at 10/9c on Syfy. Earlier this week, Bree participated in a press Q&A call to talk about her new role on the show.
Could you talk about your role on the show and how often you will be appearing?
Bree Williamson: I’ll be appearing for pretty much every other episode throughout the season except the last one. But I – my main role on this show is mainly – you know, to be a sounding board for Audrey and to kind of, like, help Audrey deal with, you know, her role in helping the troubled and also help her kind of navigate through all of this new information that she’s got.
Because as we saw on the premiere episode, you know, she was trapped in that house with that guy asking her who the Colorado kid is and where he is and everything.
So she’s – you know, struggling with who she is and, you know, what’s going in her life. So I’m going to be both – you know, as Audrey and I deal with each case that comes up through each episode of troubled people I’m also going to be dealing with her, you know, personal life.
What was it like joining this already established cast?
Bree Williamson: It was awesome, it was still great. I really – Lucas, Emily, and Eric, I couldn’t have asked for better people to work with. They were so nice and we had a blast. It was sad to leave even though my husband was in California, it was bittersweet to leave. I mean I love them, they’re so great.
And I made a whole other group of friends there in Nova Scotia. They were great. They’re so welcoming and just – because it’s a small town up there and there’s – you know, when you’re not working there’s not a lot to do and you can kind of feel disconnected and a bit lonely. And they knew that and they just – you know, picked up the slack and we hung out. It was awesome.
How did you happen to come to this role?
Bree Williamson: I auditioned for it. There was a call for it and I went in for it. And this audition – you know, I even had to pre-read with the casting director which – you know, if you know a lot about the audition process that’s very, very early in the audition process.
So – and then I read for the producers once and I went for a callback again. You always know if you get the job that it’s going to be a fun job if the audition’s fun. And we laughed a lot in the audition. I had a really fun time with the character, even like, preparing for the audition.
I had a really, really fun time and I really wanted the job. And I got it. And it was a great. It was an awesome, wonderful surprise and worked out really, really well.
Do you think it helped that you had previously worked on other sci-fi shows like Earth: Final Conflic, Mutant X and Odyssey 5?
Bree Williamson: I mean – yes, I guess so, a little. I think Haven is just its own kind of entity. Like it’s syfy but it’s also Stephen King, you know, which, you know, syfy with a little bit of quirk to it and I – that’s why I thought it was great, think it’s a great show.
Have you found that it’s much different playing sci-fi roles versus non-sci-fi roles?
Bree Williamson: Yes, there’s – I mean there was a lot of special effects. There was – I mean there’s – even the story, you know, it’s scary and there was a lot of – I mean on the soap opera there was obviously some drama and some scary stuff that I played but this was a bit different. So yes, but it was great.
Could you talk a bit about how Dr. Callahan views Audrey? Is she is skeptical or is she more open?
Bree Williamson: The doctor is – or Dr. Callahan is extremely open. She thinks Audrey is great, almost like – even like the audition, she was almost like a super fan of Audrey. She knew who Audrey was and she knows exactly what she does and she’s there to help her and – like, is not skeptical at all, understands the troubles, understands Audrey’s role.
But also understands that Audrey needs – you know, another party to kind of, you know, bounce ideas from and kind of – you know, to make sure that Audrey’s taken care of herself.
What it was like for you to film in Nova Scotia? Had you been there before?
Bree Williamson: No, I’m from Toronto originally and I’d always wanted to see the Maritime providences and it was a great. It’s actually funny, the whole story of sending me because I assumed when they said Nova Scotia I just assumed they would be in Halifax.
So I have a two-year-old son and I was like, as I (unintelligible) have the job I was Googling, you know, things to do in Halifax with a two-year-old and maybe where we were staying and what not.
And then when I had a call with the costume department I was like, so where exactly in Halifax are you? And then he laughed and he’s like, we’re in Chester. We’re not in Halifax at all. And Chester is this tiny, charming, little town but there’s a huge moose. The costume guy was like, do you like Starbucks? I’m like, oh my God, I love Starbucks. He’s like, well, drink a lot before you get here. There’s no Starbucks or anything.
But it was great. I mean, like, it was an experience and it was really, really great.
Did you do any kind of special research or preparations for the role of Dr. Claire Callahan?
Bree Williamson: You know what’s funny, I played a crazy person on another show that I did for a while so I – no, I didn’t really have to do much research. I mean apart from watching other episodes of Haven to kind of get the vibe of this show and, like, you know, the timing and kind of what they were looking for to kind of blend in with the other characters. I didn’t really – you know, no, I didn’t think that I had.
I mean I did the research in finding out what was going on on Haven. And I had done research because I had had to play multiple personalities on another show. Yes, that was a lot of research that I had to do for that.
What do you feel it is about a show like Haven that seems to resonate well with viewers?
Bree Williamson: I think the way that they set up the casting and the characters is really great. You know, you have Audrey who is, you know, the lead and the heroine of the show, is a really strong, relatable female character.
Then you have Nathan who is like – almost a one-type of romantic hero, the kind of dark and brooding police officer. And then you have Eric who’s kind of like the rebel – or sorry, Duke who’s kind of like the rebel, funny guy. And I feel like that combination is really great.
And then you add in Vince and Dave who play these brothers, it’s just really cool. And it’s a serialized, you know, drama which I think – I love serialized drama, I think they’re great.
But it also – it brings in, you know, a lot of character development. It’s not just – it’s not just circumstance, I think that it’s also extremely character driven. The show – they – I think they really try to keep, you know, the plot character driven as well, which is hard in a serialized show.
What jumped at you about Dr. Callahan when you first read the scripts for the first few episodes?
Bree Williamson: Well, she namely jumped out at me during the audition piece that I had to audition for. She was kind of ballsy and really smart and witty and quick and that’s really what jumped out at me.
And she just said what she means to say without any – you know, filter or mainly regards to what the other person felt because it was the truth and it had to be said, which is always really, really fun to play that character. She’s really fun and it’s a little quirk in her which is really great. And yes – so it was good.
Did you get a chance to work with Dorian Missick and Kate Kelton?
Bree Williamson: I – I’m in a few scenes with Dorian and even future with Kate. But – if I interact at all it’s mainly a – it’s me and Dorian a little bit, Dorian and I. But very little, most of my interactions are with Audrey and a little bit with Nathan.
Can kind of elaborate a bit on your character’s friendship with Audrey? Is it kind of more of a therapist relationship or do they actually become friends and hang out and talk about things not related to the troubled?
Bree Williamson: That’s – I think that’s the whole thing with Claire. Claire wants to be her friend but Audrey is, you know, a very guarded person.
So especially as things – as more things unfold to her this coming season she gets more guarded and Claire is an extremely open person so it would only be natural for her to – because their relationship is – and because Haven is kind of unconventional she would – Claire is open to a friendship and, you know, and also patient-therapist relationship. So yes, it does get personal.
How do you like playing a psychiatrist especially when Jess and Tess needed one so often?
Bree Williamson: Yes, I know, that was the thing – it was great, it was really, really fun. I mean there’s also a little bit of a crazy in the psychiatrist I think whether it’s, you know, knowing what crazy is or being on all – you know, off kind of yourself. So yes, it was really great.
It was kind of – it was great to be, you know, the kind of rock in that kind of a relationship or the grounding in that – in the therapist-patient kind of relationship. But it was great, really fun.
What do you find most exciting about being able to profile villains with your character?
Bree Williamson: I think there are people with – yes, we are profiling one big villain as the series unfolds, which is really exciting and fun to kind of, like – it’s kind of like as an actor you’re keeping it together, like, the audience is going to get a big, you know, villains in this one, which is – I mean it was – even during table readings we’d all be like, this is going to be exciting, everybody’s going to freak out.
So yes, that part was really fun. I mean it’s always fun to have a secret end, you know, that everybody’s going to freak out about or the fans, you know, that are really attached to the show are going to freak out about when it happens. And there’s going to be a lot of freak outs this coming season. It’s really great.
How are you a different woman today than when you first started acting?
Bree Williamson: I am – I mean there has been so many things that have made me a different woman. I’m a mom now. I’m married. I mean it’s not just acting that’s changed me but, you know, it’s a whole bunch of things. I mean mainly I guess I’ve – you know, I’m at a point where I’ve fully committed to being an actor.
You know, there are times when I was like, I could always go back and, you know, finish my psychology degree, which I did finish. Or I could always go back and do this. But I am – you know, I’m in it. I’m an actor. I go to the gym everyday to keep fit and, you know, I audition and I – so that’s I guess a big change if that answers your question.
What’s been your favorite moment so far this season?
Bree Williamson: My favorite moment so far this season, there’s something called the Bottle episode coming up and Jason Priestly directed it. And I don’t know if that’s the moment – I actually don’t even think I can get specific in this moment because I don’t want to spoil anything but there were a lot of fun times in there.
I bet another – like, could be – you know, non-specific but give you something would – Claire gets to be a little bit funny, which is those are always fun moments when I was able to inject some humor into Haven even though I do things, there are other people that get to be funny as well. But it was great to play a character that was free enough to add some humor in if that answers your question.
What did you find the most challenging?
Bree Williamson: What did I find most challenging? The weather is challenging there. The weather was very, very challenging to kind of keep focused when you’re cold and it’s raining was challenging.
But other than that I didn’t really – you know what, because the weather was either freezing at the beginning or, you know, nearing the end it was boiling in the studio, which is, you know, kind of this charming studio that they had there that was just awesome.
So that is challenging. And, you know, living in Nova Scotia away from my home was also, you know, with a two-year-old. So – and most of the staff also (unintelligible) that don’t – that’s not acting because I think that is really, it’s like boot camp, you know, for how to get through challenges on a show. So yes.
Will we learn more about Claire’s back story and how she’s worked with the troubled in the past and will that be of help to Audrey?
Bree Williamson: I mean, you know, she kind of says a lot in her first episode about, you know, what her role is and what she’s done and even – like, she’s – you learn a little bit more about her back story but not that much more.
I mean her story is she’s just a psychiatrist in Haven that, you know, has not been seen up until this point because it seems like she you know, Nathan, Audrey, and Duke have, like dealt with the troubled and been like, okay, bye. And the okay, bye lead to Claire where she would, you know, help people work through the aftermath of what had happened to them.
So yes, that’s the only way I know how to answer that question. I mean I don’t know if that’s a full answer but there you go, that’s what I got.
Will she have any interaction with the Teague brothers?
Bree Williamson: A little, not as much as I’d hoped but yes, a little. Like, she knows them and they know of her. So they have – you know, they have a relationship. So yes.
What was your mindset the night you found out you were cast in the role of Dr. Claire Callahan?
Bree Williamson: What was my mindset when I found out I was cast in the role of Dr. Claire Callahan? That I had to move. We agreed to move to LA – you know, my husband and my son and I had just moved to LA in January and it was pilot season, which if you know anything about being an actor, pilot season is just a blur.
And then I got the role on Haven so I was like, oh my goodness, I Haven’t really had a chance to even live in LA and now I’m moving to Nova Scotia.
So I mean obviously I was so excited and the opportunity to go and everything. And – you know, really excited because I mean it’s one thing to get a role but it’s another thing to, like – to get up and go and that was great.
And also worked out – the timing worked out really well for me because I’m also doing another show in New York, or I was doing a pilot for this show Infamous, and it just happened that that pilot was shooting and then, like, the next day I had to go to Halifax to shoot Haven. So it all worked out time zone wise.
With your demanding schedule, how do you carve out time for fun? And what is Bree’s definition of fun?
Bree Williamson: My definition of fun is a day with myself, my husband, and my son. Because my husband and I both have extremely demanding schedules and it’s such an awesome treat when the two of us have more than a couple hours to actually, like, do an activity with our son. And that is fun.
I mean we – both my husband and I have had a little bit of downtime together recently and we’ve been so much fun. So yes, that’s what I would call fun. And my son just runs along the beach while my husband and I take turns surfing. So it’s great.
If you were to go back in time to have a dinner party with anyone who would it be and what would you be talking about?
Bree Williamson: Go back in time to have a dinner party with anyone, oh my God, I wasn’t prepared, I hate these questions. It’s like two hours from now I’m going to be like, why did I say that, I know what I want.
You know what, I’m going to say – and I’m probably going to change, but I remember doing – even before I knew that I was going to be an actor, that being an actor was ever a possibility, in my early – like, maybe my first year at the university – no, no, it was my last year in high school.
I wrote a big paper on Mary Pickford and Mary Pickford would be one really cool to go out to dinner with and just talk about what it was like – what the struggles are about being a female actress like wanting to have a baby to, like, you know, to being like, you know, she was America’s little sweetheart even though she was Canadian. So yes, it would be cool to kind of talk to her.
How does Dr. Callahan end up in Haven? How does she come? Does she open a practice there or just end up there like circumstances as Audrey does?
Bree Williamson: Well, she’s always been there. Like, I mean the way – and was explained to me and the way that I have known it is that she – you know, she grew up in Haven and then she went away to do her schooling and then she came back and opened up her practice.
So even in Season 1 we didn’t see Claire but she was there, you know, working with the troubled after – like, during the aftermath. And maybe even if, you know, there was other people there that Nathan and Audrey and Duke didn’t meet she was, you know, working with them along the side as well.
So she just – was brought into light into, like, their inner circle because Audrey needs help after, you know, what we saw her go through in the first episode.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role in Infamous? You mentioned that as a pilot that’s coming out.
Bree Williamson: Well, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the show but it’s about socialite – the pilot episode is about a socialite who gets killed. And then this show is – Meagan Good’s character, Joanna, she kind of gets pulled into it because the socialite Vivian and Joanna were best friends growing up. And she gets pulled into it because they were best friends.
And Joanna happens to be a police officer so she kind of goes undercover into her family’s home to figure out who killed her. And I’m the girl who gets killed. So there you go.
I appear mostly in the pilot episode and I appear later on in flashbacks, for how long I don’t know, but yes, that’s mainly my role, which is awesome because – you know, I get to play this really crazy drug addict socialite who’s – you know, a really fun broken character, which is always better to play those ones than the other ones. So yes, it was a great role. And it is still a great role.
Have you thought about the nice problem, if it gets picked up, that you end up having to do both shows?
Bree Williamson: Well, actually Infamous did get picked up and – yes, so yes. I mean it’s an awesome problem. And yes, I thought about it. And it’s great. And the timing so that works out perfect so yes.
If you had the opportunity to guest star on another Syfy show, which one would you pick?
Bree Williamson: I don’t know. I mean Alphas seems pretty cool. But I’m pretty happy with my choice of Haven, pretty great show. But Alphas seems like a pretty great show as well.
Your character will help Audrey Parker profile potential bad guys. Does this mean that you’ll come into contact with the guard any time soon on the show?
Bree Williamson: Yes, I will.
In what ways does Claire help Audrey find out who could be a bad guy? What methods does she use?
Bree Williamson: Well, I mean it’s mostly her and Audrey working together, you know. There’s – what methods? I mean, you know, they kind of work together on both finding out, you know – because Audrey’s past and what’s happening in Haven with the bad guy are really connected.
So the more Audrey finds out about herself the more we will – the more that will help us to figure out what’s going on in Haven. So that’s kind of my role to kind of connect the two if that makes sense.