Anne Heche relishes playing strong, intelligent woman in The Brave

In the military drama The Brave, Anne Heche (above) is Patricia Campbell, who leads analysts to feed information to undercover specialists.
In the military drama The Brave, Anne Heche (above) is Patricia Campbell, who leads analysts to feed information to undercover specialists.PHOTO: UNIVERSAL TELEVISION

Actress says her role as head of operations of an intelligence unit in The Brave is not something she has done before

Several new military dramas will be battling it out for viewers during the 2017 fall television season in the United States.

They are The Brave, which stars Anne Heche as head of operations for the Defense Intelligence Agency Patricia Campbell; Valor, about army helicopter pilots; and Seal Team, about the elite naval unit.

The New York Times noted that the plots for the pilots of The Brave and Seal Team are "head-smackingly similar, down to small details" as both are about a "blonde, female non-governmental-organisation worker being abducted by Muslim extremists".

Putting on a, well, brave front as she speaks to regional journalists over the telephone from Santa Fe, Heche, 48, says: "I haven't seen any of those shows, but nobody has ever seen anything like The Brave. There is absolutely nothing that our show is the same as any other.

"From what I see, and I've done a lot of television, there's no competition."

The Brave debuts here the same day as in the US tomorrow on Cinemax (StarHub TV Channel 611). The series will also stream on HBO on StarHub Go and HBO On Demand (StarHub TV Channel 602).

In the show, Heche's character is based in Washington, DC and she and her team of analysts feed intelligence to the undercover specialists, including Mike Vogel (Under The Dome, 2013-2015) as commander Michael Dalton, on the ground as they carry out high-risk missions.

Heche points out: "(My) role was not written specifically for a gender. None of the roles were and that's kind of amazing."

The actress certainly sounds like she enjoyed playing a strong and powerful character.

"Patricia is on a level of confidence and intelligence that I don't think I've ever been cast before. It's very interesting to play a women who is so knowledgeable. Every single week, I've learnt so much about what is going on in the world."

While she is physically far removed from what is happening on the ground for each mission, she gets to see first-hand all the work that goes into the action sequences.

"I have never seen this kind of action done on television and I've never been lucky enough to be part of it in a movie."

And Heche has been in quite a few movies, ranging from crime drama Donnie Brasco (1997) to adventure comedy Six Days, Seven Nights (1998).

She has also had her share of controversy in her personal life, from her allegations of sexual abuse by her late father to an episode in 2000 where she appeared to have a mental breakdown when she walked 2.4km through the desert and knocked on a stranger's door.

She seems to have gotten her life back on track. She has been active on TV, including starring in the romantic comedy-drama Men In Trees (2006-2008). Heche has a son with her Men In Trees co-star, James Tupper.

In a way, her role in The Brave lets her tap into something bigger than herself. She says: "Playing this role is like accessing every strong woman I have been lucky enough to witness, whether they be in a movie or (politicians) Hillary Clinton or Condoleezza Rice. These are women that inspire me to be better as a human being and as an actor."

•The Brave premieres the same day as in the United States tomorrow on Cinemax (StarHub TV Channel 611). The series will also stream on HBO on StarHub Go and HBO On Demand (StarHub TV Channel 602).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2017, with the headline 'Anne Heche's Brave new experience'. Print Edition | Subscribe