You've loved Anna Camp, you've hated Anna Camp, you've loved to hate Anna Camp.
The prolific actress has cornered a rock-solid niche in Hollywood in recent years, playing a certain kind of young All-American woman, the type that projects an idyllic, put-together image that leans as frequently toward sweetness and positivity ("The Good Wife," "The Mindy Project") as into wicked and treacherous territory ("True Blood," "Pitch Perfect").
With Amazon's new streaming series "Good Girls Revolt," Camp gets one of her most multidimensional roles yet as Jane, one of the group of female researchers working at a news magazine in the late 1960s who found themselves taking a revolutionary stand against the patriarchal, sexist treatment they received in the workplace (the series is loosely based on the groundbreaking incident at Newsweek magazine in 1969 in which female staffer rebelled against discrimination).
As we meet Camp's character, Jane has utterly bought into stereotypical perceptions of a woman's role in society, but her ambitions and experiences are just starting to push her toward a greater pursuit of what it is she really wants out of her career and her relationships. It's clear that she has the potential for radicalization, but does she have the fortitude to fight to the finish line?
As Camp reveals in a candid conversation with Moviefone, it's a role that both fits her area of specialty and gives her plenty of new notes to play -- and the fact that it feeds into her nostalgic obsession with old films and eras bygone before she was born happens to be a major bonus, too.
Moviefone: The show is set during such a cultural flashpoint, really, and I feel like that time is really similar to our time. I feel like we're in the late '60s right now, with the kind of social revolution that is building.
Anna Camp: It does. It feels like something epic is coming, am I right? I've been feeling that, so much so, where it's like [Donald] Trump -- I couldn't believe that he kept going as much as he did, the racial things that have been happening lately in the world, the gender issues, Hillary Clinton. I mean, I feel like we're coming towards something.
I'm a little scared, to be totally honest. I'm thinking about moving to France. Now, I don't even know if I should go there! No, there definitely feels to be a build of some sort of revolution going on. I just hope that it doesn't end in something or come to climax in something violent. But I do feel it's kind of scary. I'm on the lookout for packages on the road -- terrorism. It's just completely infiltrated all of our daily lives now. It's a very eerie time to be alive, I'm feeling, these days.
Because these women were trailblazers for a certain amount of new freedoms that women got -- yet we stopped at a certain point and we still have a long way to go -- did you feel that you were taking for granted the feeling that you had in your time, in your era, to make choices and do things that you wanted?
Absolutely, because I didn't know any differently, but when you see that ... You got to where you are because people breaking rules and pushing the envelope, and there's still so much we have to do. I hope that this show inspires women, and minorities in general, to speak up for their rights, to come together, to not be afraid to gain the confidence because the show is about giving these woman confidence enough to speak their minds and their opinions.
But, yeah, I grew up in a very pretty privileged lifestyle. I feel like I've never not gotten a job because I was a woman. I do feel like I've been sexually harassed more because I'm a woman, and I do feel like I've probably gotten paid less because I'm a woman, and being in Hollywood, the amount of roles that are meaty for men totally outweigh the roles for woman, still to this day. In big-budget movies, it's like there's five men, and then there's the one female role. So, not that much has really changed.
Tell me about the culture of the '60s and what you've really responded to -- either what you were already a fan of, or you have discovered in this process.
Well, my dad taught me to listen to really great music growing up, so, I've seen Bob Dylan about four times in my life. I had an amazing concert experience with him. I listened to The Doors growing up. I mean, there's just vibrant, rich amazing music and that's something that I've always been a total fan of, but also this collective experience that people are having that they had, that we're so independent now.
We're on our phone and our computers all the time, and you didn't have that then. You'd have to get your information and share your information with people, face to face, and really come together as a group to make a statement, not like a Twitter feed that you see how many hashtags or whatever the hell that got. No, this is bodies in a room, or in a march, or whatever it may be, or signing the lawsuit. You know, it's really about collective experience and coming together to prove a point. I miss that.
There's almost an Anna Camp zone of the types of characters that you've been asked to play, and some of them are sweet and nice and some of them are evil, but they all are kind of in that certain territory.
They're kind of -- they all rotate in that world, totally.
How hungry are you to get something that really lets you run free?
Totally, I'm starving. I'm starving for that. I'm starving for that, and everybody knows that, and I know I can do it. I just am like "When is that going to happen?" I mean, I'm not a writer. I've optioned a script for a book that I'm producing, but the role is kind of in that wheelhouse, but I'm desperate. I'm so hungry for all of that, so I can't even explain to you what.
Yes, please! I'm so, so ready for that, and I know that it will happen, because I do have faith in my talent as an actor, and I've been doing this for so long. I've been acting since I was in second grade. It just takes someone having faith in me to give me that shot. Or, hell, I've got to write it.
Well, I think a lot of actors discover that kind of thing generating it, in some way, for themselves.
Exactly. My people are all on the lookout. They're like, "Anna, read books about, like, goth. Go for it, and find it." But, yeah, I'm desperate for that, for sure.
That said, everything you've done, especially in the last few years, has had to have been a pretty awesome experience. Doing it, and the response to it.
Wonderful! Yeah, that's the thing, and I was a bit hesitant when they offered me this role. I was like, "Oh, is it the same? What are we going to be doing and saying differently?" And they really came forward and said she's going to go through so much, it's going to be so wonderful to play, and she's not the bitch.
And I really worked hard not to play the typical one in any of the roles that I've done that are "the bitchy girl." I try really hard to not play that, hands down, but that there's a reason why she is, and then you break it down and you see that she's really not, and she's actually really vulnerable.
We've talked before about how you were a huge fan of another '60s drama, "Mad Men," and why was that your show?
Man, I don't know -- I just fell in love with the era, the way it was shot. I remember flipping on AMC and thinking it was an old movie, and thinking I'd never seen these actors before! But I have been watching old movies since I was very little, growing up. Katharine Hepburn, just '40s, '50s movies, and there's something nostalgic and beautiful about that time, and I just fell in love with it.
I thought that the writing was so incredibly well done, and it was operating on such a deep soulful level. It wasn't just a period piece set in an ad men exec's office. It was operating on this wonderful, lost, soulful level. All of the characters were so lost, and I just really found that to be so hauntingly beautiful.
I loved that show to the point when it ended, I thought to myself -- and this hopefully is not true -- I'll never love a show again as much as I loved this one.
That's what I thought. That's exactly the way I felt. I watched every episode. I've seen every episode more than once. I loved it so much. Matthew Weiner really created something so iconic and beautiful. I mean, the carousel episode -- I mean, I still like get chills thinking about it. So, the fact that I even got to walk on that set -- I was like, "Oh, thank you." Like, "I don't know what's happening, but thank you."
Did you see any touchstones -- actresses or characters from old movies, of the '60s in particular -- about which you were able to say "I can draw a little from this, or take a little inspiration from that"?
Yeah, you know, there's some Tippi Hedren, a little bit, in Jane. There might be some Kim Novak. You know, I loved "Vertigo" and sort of the way that they are, and act and how they held themselves. I think Jane, especially in the early parts of this season, is like a total Hitchcock blonde. I can see her getting into some trouble, yeah, in one of his movies.
What fueled that love of old movies?
My sister. She's seven years older than me, and she's also an actress, and she fell in love with "Gone With the Wind" and Vivien Leigh, and we would get together at night, and this little TV with a little VHS tape, and she would just rent all of these old movies from Blockbuster, and we would watch Laurence Olivier, we would watch Bette Davis. I mean, you name it. I've seen a bajillion old films, and I just fell in love with all of the women, and all of the men. So classic, romantic.
And it was subtle acting, too. You forget, when you go back, that they were actually very good. There came a time when everything got very big and broad and kind of weird, but there's some beautiful acting in a lot of those movies. But really there's a nostalgia -- I'm drawn to period pieces.
Are you a bit of a student of sorts of Hollywood history now that you live here? Aware of what shot where and who lived where?
I used to live on Beachwood Drive, which everyone lived there at some point, you know? I know Marilyn Monroe lived there, and Madonna lived there at some point. So, I kind of know my little tiny history around that area.
I felt like the Hollywood sign was so small. I was driving to an audition, I parked on Larchmont, and in the rearview mirror I saw the Hollywood sign, and I said, "Oh, my god -- what? That's so tiny!" I was shocked at how grand and epic [it was supposed to be], and it was just so real. It just made everything kind of feel very real. It's just a town, and that's just a road, and that's just a sign, and whatever. It's not that crazy kind of thing.
"Good Girls Revolt" Season 1 premieres October 28 on Amazon.