While she aces her new role as ultra-focused intelligence director Patricia Campbell on NBC’s The Brave (Mondays, 10 p.m. ET), Anne Heche readily cops to a little off-duty chaos. “You’ll have to excuse me, I’ve just been in three different time zones and my brain is a little off,” she says about a minute into our chat, after apologizing for a slight delay in tracking her down.
As for where, exactly, she is? That part’s a little unclear. It was supposed to be Chicago — where she and her two sons, Homer, 15, and Atlas, 8, are meeting up with her partner, James Tupper, as he wraps up a film. But having just arrived at a “strip mall,” somewhere outside the city, she says, “I could be anywhere! I have just been dumped into what we are calling the Marriott Oasis, which exists in every state in the country, and which we’ve been visiting a lot this summer.”
Entertainingly zany, or as she puts it, a bit of a “goofball,” Heche clearly enjoys playing with our expectations of her. (You may recall the title of her very candid 2001 memoir, Call Me Crazy.) In fact, when it comes to coordinating the complicated logistics of her life right now — as she and Tupper debut major roles on different TV programs — she appears to be directing the action with a cool head.
Keeping her boys on a normal school schedule, she says, is a major goal, but she otherwise tries to stress the value of seizing opportunities when they arise. “I tell them, 'Guys, these are good problems to have,' ” she says, describing how she and Tupper asked their sons to help them swiftly move out of their L.A. residence, which they are renting out, and set up up a kind of swing home in Albuquerque, N.M., where The Brave films. The hope, says Heche, is that the pair can tag-team parent during shows that “we hope to film simultaneously, but not at exactly the same time.”
Her new role is indeed a major opportunity for Heche, who has been steadily working in TV since her film career almost flatlined nearly two decades ago. It’s also a perfect vehicle to challenge any assumptions about her acting range. After all, wry and winsome Heche might not be the first almost-50 actress you’d imagine as the tough-as-nails deputy director of intelligence for the DIA, monitoring the bodycams and satellite feed in a just-OK suit. But on the small screen, her ability to mix vulnerability with a quiet authority draws you to her somewhat-staid character as much as to the highly trained hotties in the field.