'Brothers & Sisters' Q&A: Sarah Jane Morris bids farewell to Julia...for now.
The news that Balthazar Getty was moving from full-time cast member into recurring-guest-star status left an obvious question: What'll happen to Julia? Last night we found out the fate of Sarah Jane Morris' character, who was sent packing for Seattle with baby Elizabeth in tow. I spoke with the Nashville, Tenn., native about her last episode and life after "Brothers & Sisters."
Tell us about your last episode as a full-time cast member.
I was slightly nervous when I got the script and it was titled "Julia" because I thought, am I going to be in every second of this episode? It was fun to get an episode dedicated to my character, and they didn't do what I was expecting. Julia leaves Tommy and makes a choice for herself. I like seeing that from her because she hasn't been the "do things for herself" type of character until this moment.
Were you happy with how they ended things with Julia?
I was really happy. They could have let it be something that got swept under the rug, but they were kind enough to give me great material. It was a nice farewell, but it was very sad. The one particular day when I had to shoot the dinner and toast the family, I was crying all day. Everyone was very supportive and sweet, but it was definitely emotional.
Between fertility and marital problems, Julia has gone through a lot in the past three seasons. How do you feel she's changed from the show's start?
I think Julia changed after moving for a few months and having an affair. After that, she came back as a slightly different character. I feel they were starting to give Julia a mind of her own by the end.
Were there aspects of your character you wish had been more developed?
It was unfortunate that there were major things that happened to Tommy and Julia that you never got to see. When it came out that both of us had had affairs, there was a scene when Julia says they needed help with their marriage. The show had already done the therapy story line with Joe and Sarah, so I get that they didn't want to go there again. But you never got to see them work through their problems. Also being new parents and the whole fertility story got rushed and crammed into one episode.
The fact that Julia had her own affair made her more than a hapless victim of Tommy's mistakes. Did that factor in how you played her?
I loved that because I felt that leading up to that point, we had never seen many flaws from Tommy or Julia. It's always more interesting to play someone flawed than someone perfect. When I first read it, I thought it was an easy way to keep them together, but at the same time, it was realistic that two people could go through something like that. People don't really talk about what happens when both cheat.
Will Julia be back?
There is definite potential for Julia to come back. I think they needed to have her go away so that they can reinvent the character. That'll be interesting to see her come back after living somewhere different and being a single mom. I just don't know when that'll be.
When ABC opted not to renew Balthazar Getty's contract, it obviously had an effect on you and your character. What was your reaction to the news? Did you see it coming?
I was pretty surprised, actually. When I signed up for the show on Day One, I never could have predicted that things would go down the way they did. I was definitely sad and frustrated and all those emotions, but the producers were great about everything. I feel fortunate that I wasn't killed [laughs]. There are not a lot of chances of being raised from the dead on prime-time television.
Did you talk to Getty about it after it went down?
After I found out, I didn't actually get a chance to work with him again, so I haven't talked to him about it. We don't hang out outside of work, and we never crossed paths at work again. It's a little weird, but at the end of the day, it's a job.
So what's next for you?
Right now, I'm preparing for the Echo Theater Company's lip sync competition and fundraiser in May. Last year I took first prize. I've been tending my vegetable garden and volunteering with the Step Up Women's Network. I also worked on a short film with RuPaul where I got to play guitar and sing.
I went right into pilot season after I finished with "Brothers & Sisters," and I'm being cautious about jumping into the next thing. I've learned a lot in the last three years, so I'm definitely taking some time to myself, which is nice.
— Enid Portuguez
(photo courtesy ABC)