Thanks to her breakout role as Washington D.C. call-girl, Rachel Posner in Netflix’s critically-acclaimed political thriller series, House of Cards, 23-year-old Milwaukee-born and Chicago-area native, Rachel Brosnahan is one of Hollywood’s fastest rising talents.
With past roles in The Unborn, Beautiful Creatures and The Blacklist, Brosnahan—set to appear in the new ABC series, Black Box—starring Kelly Reilly (Flight, Sherlock Holmes), is set to take the next step into being recognized as one of the best young actresses today.
The niece of Kate Spade, Brosnahan the 2012 graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of The Arts discusses Posner’s “relationship” with President Frank Underwood’s Chief of Staff/consigliore, Doug Stamper, working with Kate Mara, and Bears/Packers.
RC : Who were your acting influences growing up? Who do you pattern your acting style after?
RB : “It wasn’t the actors I was focused on so much as the stories. Honestly I didn’t know many actors growing up…I liked the Disney Channel and cartoons. I LOVED Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I got lost in all the different worlds and loved imagining myself in them. I wouldn’t say I pattern my style after anyone…I have done a lot of listening and observing between school and working with such incredible and inspiring actors (i.e. Michael Kelly, Robin Wright, Frances McDormand, Bobby Cannavale, Emma Thompson) and I’ve borrowed advice and tricks of the trade from all of them.”
RC : There were reports that the director of House of Cards only gave you five lines for your character, Rachel Posner, what did you do—in your opinion—that really made Rachel become such a mainstay?
RB : “Rachel was originally written as “call girl” with only a few lines and luckily, through the decision to expand the Peter Russo storyline, there was room to bring her back and build Rachel as well. I don’t know if I “did” anything tangible but the show runner (Beau Willimon) and our producers took a giant chance on me and brought me back. I am forever grateful that they gave me the opportunity and wrote such a dynamic and complex character.”
RC : How would you describe Rachel’s “relationship” with Doug Stamper(Michael Kelly) and how do you see it going forward in Season 3?
RB : “Stamper and Rachel have an incredibly complex relationship. He partially inhabits a few roles. He’s part father figure, captor, savior, friend and possibly interested in being a lover as well. I’m not sure that either one of them knows how to define or handle their relationship. I think Rachel wants to trust him but is also becoming increasingly fearful of him and angry at him for keeping her in the dark all the time. I believe he does want to protect her but is also afraid that she’ll leave him.”
I have no idea what could happen in the third season. That’s on Beau Willimon. I don’t know whether Rachel will be back yet, but if she is I’m sure he’ll continue to surprise us all with the next brilliant evolution.”
RC : After escaping from Stamper towards the end of Season 2, how do you see Rachel’s character developing? Will she join forces with Hammerschmidt (Boris McGiver) to bring down Underwood?
RB : “Again, I don’t know. That might be it for Rachel! I just don’t know yet. But I think if Rachel does come back, there are endless possibilities. I think she could play an interesting role in bringing down Underwood because he wouldn’t expect it.”
RC : Your encounter with Zoey Barnes(Kate Mara) and the “go to town, bitch!” moment was my personal favorite in House of Cards, what was it like working with Kate and what was your favorite moment so far in the series?
RB : “Oh, thank you! That was fun. Everyone was calling it the “Munchkin Showdown” because we’re both so short. It was great to finally get a chance to work with Kate! Even if only briefly. I think she’s enormously talented and a very cool lady.
My favorite moment of the series? So hard to choose! I love the scene in Season 2 EP 4 (I think) where Claire is interviewed. Such a stand out moment for Robin(Wright). Chills all over my body!”
RC : Since you’re originally from Milwaukee, but raised in suburban Chicago, Bears or Packers?
RB : “Oh goodness, I have to say Bears. Been in Chi longer and…da Bears!”
Special thanks to Rachel and her manager, Carole Dibo. Please check out Rachel in seasons 1-2 of House of Cards currently on Netflix and Black Box on ABC.
Here’s a clip of Rachel in A New York Heartbeat.
Robert D. Cobb Is the CEO/Founder/Senior Editor-In-Chief of the InscriberMag : Digital Magazine and a member of the PFWA(Pro Football Writers Association), please follow him on Twitter at @RC_TheInscriberMag