10 Actors to Watch: TV Class

It hasn’t been just a new job for Rosemarie DeWitt, playing the distaff side of a somewhat dysfunctional two-person hostage negotiating team on Fox’s “Standoff,” but a complete life-changer.

Living in Brooklyn and working as a stage actress in Gotham (she studied at the Actors Center), DeWitt auditioned for the pilot mostly on a whim. She was out in Los Angeles for different reasons, figured she’d give it a whirl while there and not worry too much about it afterward.

“You really don’t expect it to get picked up,” she admits.

But then, after a series of phone calls and more auditions for network brass, she got the role. Ready or not, it was time to move west.

“It’s my first time being out here,” says DeWitt, granddaughter of heavyweight champion James Braddock, the fighter featured in “Cinderella Man” (in which she played a small part). “I’m still in major culture shock.”

DeWitt, who has appeared in episodes of “Sex and the City,” “Law & Order” and “Rescue Me,” may want to think about buying rather than renting her place if the first episode’s ratings are any indication. More than 13 million people tuned in — of course, having “House” as a lead-in doesn’t hurt — and the show looks to be a solid performer for the network.

Unlike some legit performers who look down on TV, DeWitt believes the two mediums are much more closely aligned than in years past.

“I feel like the climate for actors in New York has changed,” she explains. “It sounds crazy to me now, but there are so many TV and film actors onstage that it almost makes more sense to do TV than do theater.”

DeWitt is still having a hard time adjusting to the brutal production schedule of a one-hour drama. While theater has extended rehearsal time before the show opens and then, usually, a closing date, TV is open-ended.

In a typical 14-hour day, there’s very little time for rehearsals.

“I was not prepared for the lack of sleep,” DeWitt says on one of her few days off. “It’s a different kind of pressure. And the hardest thing I find is to get the new script while shooting. There’s so much pressure on the writers and it’s hard to write good female characters.”

THREE QUESTIONS

An actor should never: “Take themselves too seriously.”

In five years, I’ll be: “Doing dinner theater in Delaware.”

I want to work with: “Erik Estrada. I had a powder-blue T-shirt with his picture on it.”

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