Washing her hands in the Toronto studios’ restroom, having just auditioned a second time for the Family Channel’s Wingin’ It back in 2007, Brittany Adams was a bit taken aback when the casting director walked in.
“Hi. How’s it going? It must feel good know you have a part either way.”
“I had no idea what she was talking about but had to say something. ‘That’s great. Of course it is,’ I told her, and kept washing my hands,” Adams said, recalling the moment she finally scored a job after five years of struggle.
Smart, driven, quick to react: it all comes together for her with some regularity.
The jobs are coming more easily these days. Adams, who grew up primarily in Kanata – graduating from Earl of March – visits her mom in West Carleton when she can escape Toronto.
She was in Hull recently to film portions of a femme fatale called A Sister’s Revenge, but took time at mother Carrie Owen’s rustic farmhouse on Donald B. Munro Drive to discuss her fledgling career in show business.
Adams plays a waitress, Marci, in the the HBO thriller. It’s a little out of her comfort zone of comedies and tween shows. She loves to make people laugh. But she’s striving to play a variety of characters, much like her mentor-from-a-distance Kate Winslet. Adams admires the star’s “emotional range” and classy roles in solid films.
So she has her sights set on bigger targets than the Can-con industry. She wants to make it in Hollywood, though not for the usual fame and fortune part. Adams is in it for the craft.
“I do want to do blockbuster movies,” she said. “It’s hard to say I don’t want to be famous; but I care more about the projects. And big movies can open more creative doors.”
The triple threat, who honed her singing, dancing, and acting chops at Kanata Theatre, appears well on her way. The three-season hit show Wingin’ It is set to broadcast in the U.S. A Sister’s Revenge has a decent budget and promises to entertain. And, finally, Adams appears in Christmas Song, a Hallmark Channel original movie set to air this Saturday, Nov. 3.
“I’ve lived a normal live up until now,” she said.
She recalls with obvious fondness her time with Wingin’ It, where she played Jane Casey. According to the show’s promoters, Jane is the smartest kid in school and not self-conscious about it. She's always looking for a new club to join and leads many of them, including the school newspaper. She is proactive and not only writes the school play in season one but also picks the cast and eventually stars in it herself.
Adams laughs when remembering the episode. It was written after the producers found out she was a talented singer and dancer. It’s all about playing to strengths, she is fond of saying.
While she found it odd to play a 15 year old when she was 19, Adams praised her colleagues and the camaraderie they forged.
“When I first got together with the other cast members – they were all a lot younger,” said the effervescent 23-year-old. “Dylan Everett was actually 14 and I was 20. We all got along really well. They are very mature and I’m kind of immature.”
On her craft
When it comes to the act of acting, Adams grows thoughtful. She graduated from the University of Toronto’s acting school. She has theory along with practice. She talks about being wary of using personal experiences to draw out emotions for a scene, certainly not intense experiences. To be aware of slipping into a character and losing one’s real life identity – much like is said of Heath Ledger when playing The Joker – is a danger she vows to keep away from.
“That’s where you can into trouble, if you are taking too much from your own life,” she said. “That’s the easy way, too. It can be a mix, or just at the surface level – like focusing on how sore my feet are (to bring on tears).”
Would she encourage her own children to go into show businesses, knowing that rejection far outmatches acceptance?
“I love it, and couldn’t do anything else, even on the days when it’s hard to pay rent,” she said. “I don’t know if I’d let my child do it. You really have to accept yourself. You have to have your own confidence and can’t compare yourself to others. I’ve come to learn that everyone’s a good actor. And that some parts aren’t meant for you.”
Adams’ parents didn’t push her as a child. Yes, they sent her to a good arts school in Vancouver during summer months. Her mom would join her on the west coast at her aunt’s home. But her parents were into local theatre, too, so had an interest. It is Adams who, as a child, couldn’t help herself but to perform. In front of family and friends that came to visit, she was always putting on a show. She actually wrote a script as a little girl.
Mom is proud, but keeps it in perspective. Even when her daughter won the Wingin’ It role and called Owen from the bus ride home: she congratulated her daughter, but was beaming inside.
“I always stay very calm; tell her ‘You did your best,’” Owen said. “You have to measure these things in small steps. Inside, I was screaming with joy.”