Originally from Toronto, our latest woman to watch was a staple in teen shows like Animorphs, Goosebumps, and Smallville. Since then, she’s been a star on CBS’ sci-fi drama The 4400, and had notable guest roles on Grey’s Anatomy and Supernatural.
In her latest role on A&E’s hit crime drama Breakout Kings, Brooke Nevin plays Julianne: a whip-smart analyst dealing with a social anxiety disorder. In her position, Julianne supports a team of US Marshalls who partner with convicts to solve crimes in exchange for reduced sentences.
We sat down with Brooke to chat about Julianne battling her anxiety, her upcoming films, and being that girl on the dance floor.
Playboy.com: Tell us how you got started in the business. Did you enjoy doing Animorphs?
Nevin: It was a fun hobby when I was a teen; I was the youngest cast member at 15. But before I got there, I needed to check off a beauty pageant from my list, which led to a talent audition, and then led into modeling school—to which I failed miserably [laughs]. After that, I did acting classes and begged my mom to get me an agent.
Playboy.com: Your character Jules on Breakout Kings suffers from a social anxiety disorder, are you shy in real life or did you have to prepare to play that kind of character?
Nevin: Gosh no! Very little of me is like Julianne. On the surface she’s this super-fast data analyst; an integral part of the team in catching these escaped cons. Underneath it all, she’s actually still an enigma, even to me. She works in such a high stakes environment, but it’s made much more challenging due to the fact she has this social anxiety disorder. I did a lot of research and a lot of reading on social anxiety disorders and personal stories. It became clear that this character, Jules, lives in this prison of anxiety.
Playboy.com: In the second season, your character becomes more outspoken and confident—even a bit cocky. Are we going to see this change progress and see her “Break Out” so to say?
Nevin: I think that theme of breaking out is really hitting it on the head. In the first season, it’s like we’re all running away from something. A lot of this season is breaking out of constraints. Not necessarily running away, but confronting it.
Playboy.com: Are we going to see something develop between convict Dr. Lloyd Lowery [Jimmi Simpson] and yourself? I imagine that would make a tough relationship.
Nevin: There are so many conundrums that come up when you have a prisoner, and a socially awkward person on the other side of the law trying to get together. It’s been fun playing the Lloyd-Julianne dynamic because Julianne has so many walls up, and he’s there as this genius professor.
Playboy.com: What was your favorite on-set experience, anything crazy you’d like to share?
Nevin: It was the cast playing a prank on Dominick Lombardozzi, who plays Ray. One of the episodes deals with bodily functions…so we had some potty humor. It was really fun, but I’m the worst person to play practical jokes because I’m so gleeful and start laughing way before I’m supposed to let the cat out of the bag.
Playboy.com: You’re one of those?
Nevin: Yeah [laughs] I also gave Jimmi [Simpson] a dildo once. He was expecting me to hand him something else and there were a couple seconds of “wait a second, there’s something not right here.” [Laughs]
Playboy.com: You’ve done a fair amount of sci-fi shows in the past. Do you prefer those type of shows compared to this?
Nevin: That’s an interesting comparison because they’re both high stakes. Both have a large evil to contend with, be it a large demon or serial killer; but they’re quite similar so I enjoy both. You do need that extra jump in imagination with sci-fi though.
Playboy.com: What can you tell us about your character in your new film Alter Egos?
Nevin: I play Claudel, this put upon motel manager where our lead characters, who are superheroes, find themselves in the Hamptons on sort of a secret mission.
Playboy.com: You’re playing a dancer in the rom-com Construction, was it challenging to play such a different character?
Nevin: It was a lot of fun. My dream would be to have a triple-threat, but I don’t have the years of training behind me. But it’s actually a guy’s film centered on three guys at a construction site dealing with women.
Playboy.com: You’ve spoken a lot about music and dancing, what songs do you get down to?
Nevin: There’s this one song right now—I think it’s by Rihanna. It goes into this electronic punk sound with base going. Anything with a big strong base will get me onto the dance floor. I can do anything from Motown to soul to…anything from Rihanna. [Laughs]
Playboy.com: Would you say you’re a no-shame dancer?
Nevin: Absolutely. I’m the girl that gets on the dance floor, by the end of the night people think that I have had too much to drink—but I’ve only had soda water!
Playboy.com: How can a guy get on your radar?
Nevin: I will fall for a guy who has intelligence, playfulness, and wit. But it’s a no-go if all three aren’t in the equation.
Playboy.com: When was your first time reading Playboy?
Nevin: Oh, you’re my first time with Playboy! I haven’t delved into the land of Playboy…yet. But I can check out the articles online so this is a wonderful introduction!
Breakout Kings airs on A&E Sundays at 10/9c. Follow Brooke on Twitter @BrookeNevin
Photography: Michael Rozman