‘Dear Edward’: Connie Britton on Peeling Layers of Sadness with Jason Katims to Develop Her Character’s ‘Rich Journey’ in Episode 4

Eater alert! This post contains details from Episode 4 of AppleTV+ Dear Edward

Connie Britton dives deep into her character Dee Dee’s multifaceted grieving process in the latest episode of the AppleTV+ series. Dear Edward

Dear Edward Follows 12-year-old Edward Adler, played by Colin O’Brien, who survives a devastating commercial plane crash that kills every passenger on the flight, including his family. As Edward and a diverse group of others affected by the tragedy try to make sense of life after the accident, unexpected friendships, romances and communities form.

Britton’s Dee Dee — a New York socialite who, on the surface, seems to be living a fairly privileged and modest life — is one of those whose lives are turned upside down after an accident, which kills her husband Charles. In Episode 4, Dee Dee begins to uncover a part of her husband’s life that she never knew existed. After discovering she lost her job more than a year ago and racked up a lot of debt while living a double life in Los Angeles, Dee Dee assumes she’s having an affair. That’s true, but it’s only part of the story.

Dee Dee travels to Los Angeles, where she realizes her husband is paying for a condo in the city not for a secret, but to provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth in need. She was an influential volunteer at a local LGBTQ+ outreach center, and eventually, she entered into a sexual relationship with a man.

“Not only was it so hard for her to realize that she was living a lie, but the whole reason she was living a lie was because her husband was clinging so tightly to who she thought she should be and who he thought she was. She was supposed to be a whole. Another existence has to be created and he doesn’t have to tell,” Britton said.

Britton spoke to Deadline about the reunion Friday Night Lights Creator Jason Katims developed his character’s grieving process, and how Dee Dee will begin to move on from the pain of knowing that the part of her life she lost was never what it seemed in the first place.

DEADLINE: This episode really starts to reveal the layers of Dee Dee’s grief in a way we haven’t seen yet

Connie Britton: I know, it has been a really rich journey. I enjoyed playing this role. He goes through the basic grief of loss, and then the profound discovery that he’s been living a lie. It’s been a lot of fun.

DEADLINE: In this episode we see her experience a full range of emotions as she discovers the truth about Charles’ life in LA. How do you ride that emotional rollercoaster with your character, especially when he’s cycling through different stages of grief in a scene?

Britain: For an actor, it’s the most fun to do. The more dimension the writers give us, and the more complexity and dimension we get in terms of things like the discovery process, it really makes it a lot more fun. These writers have indeed done so. Jason and I talked a lot along the way about what this journey was going to be and really broke it down. I never want to do a scene unless it’s a central part of the story. I never want to do anything that feels excessive. So we’re really able to pinpoint exactly what he’s discovering at every moment and how he’s managing it. Of course, this is a funny character. I think the thing I’m hoping people are going to connect with about this show is that we all deal with grief. Everyone deals with it in their own way. It’s such an incredibly unique experience, and yet at the same time, it’s such an incredibly universal experience. Dee Dee is such a specific character, and there is something very detailed and specific about how she handles every aspect of her life’s discoveries. Still, I think there’s something very universal about it, I’m hoping people will connect with it and relate to it.

DEADLINE: What were the conversations like with Jason to develop DD?

Britain: When we first talked about the character, it was really important to me that I didn’t just want her to be reactive. A lot came to her throughout the show, and when Jason and I first talked, she had a very specific backstory and journey that we were going to discover about Dee Dee’s husband. I was like, ‘Okay, great. So I understand who he was. But who is DD? What is his journey going to be?’ I just don’t want to be his reaction. So we really talked about that a lot, and in the end, we broke it down in terms of what their backgrounds were. They came together at such a young age. They didn’t come from a lot of money, they were really young and dirty and had this great love and success. When you get so wrapped up in a relationship, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to who you are and who the other person in your relationship is. It’s easy to do and it’s easier to deny the rules you’ve been working so hard to meet than to actually shake them. I think this makes it doubly difficult for Dee Dee, because all the trappings of life she thought she had with her husband are so necessary to her existence and to her sense of self. So, realizing that none of that was true, it was something that Jason and I really wanted to move forward with. Not only is it so hard for her to realize that she’s living a lie, but the whole reason she’s living a lie is because her husband held her so tightly to who he thought she was and who he thought she was. Supposedly he has to create a whole other existence and not tell her.

Deadline: At the end of the episode, Dee Dee gives away that watch. I think it’s a departure from what we might expect from her, and it’s a moment where she could make herself a victim and she chooses not to. What do you think that moment means for her to move on?

Britain: That moment was really a pivotal, transformative moment for him because to some degree, he lived a very ‘me, me, me’ existence. In my mind, his decision at that moment was twofold. It was, ‘I can’t hold onto this wreckage, something that represents so much that wasn’t true about my relationship.’ He’s very vulnerable at this point, and it seems he’s gone down to his raw self. This may be the first moment where we see his ability to live outside of himself, as opposed to the way he’s lived up to that point.

Deadline: At some point, she has to tell her daughter about all of this. How is that going to play out?

Britain: Well, let’s just say he doesn’t handle it very well. This is actually not true. It’s not that he doesn’t manage very well. It’s messy. I love the messiness of it, and the messiness of it in future episodes comes not only from this huge truth bomb, but also from the undercurrent of how living this lie has affected the relationship between Dee Dee and her daughter. It’s dirty because they know each other. So that relationship also needs to be uncovered as they begin to acknowledge the truth in their lives.

DEADLINE: What about this budding relationship with Linda? Where does that go?

Britain: It’s funny. I think Linda is a really important representation of her ability to be a mother and the limitations of being a mother and the contrast of Linda’s experience dealing with her own daughter. I think that’s really important to Dee Dee, and as the season goes on we’ve focused a little bit more on Dee Dee dealing with her real daughter. But I think a lot of it is because of this ongoing relationship with Linda.

DEADLINE: I’ve always admired your portrayal of Tami Taylor Friday night lights. She embodies femininity really beautifully, and I wonder if you took anything from that character that you incorporated into other roles like Dee Dee?

Britain: I learned a lot from Tami Taylor’s acting. I learned so much from that character and the possibilities of what we can discover about the characters we play and the stories we tell and the relationships we build. That was a big learning for me, and I’ve really tried to retain a lot of what I’ve learned playing that role in terms of just trying to connect as much as possible to what’s inside of me that informs any character I’m playing even though, of course, the characters I’m playing. Many of them do and most are very different from me. But what I learned playing Tami is that my own history can inform me about any role I play. I always try to make sure to access it, so it validates it. Any role I play, I expect to be guaranteed authenticity and integrity.

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