Three-time Emmy winner Sarah J Brown has now appeared on three different soap operas -- in four different roles. Last month, Brown exited her role as Claudia on General Hospital one day and popped up as The Bold and the Beautiful's Sandy the next. Now the actress talks to soapcentral.com about her career.
"When one door closes, a window opens," says Sarah Brown
on her recent move to The Bold and the Beautiful from General Hospital, where she played mobster Claudia Zacchara. The three-time Emmy winner is thrilled about her new opportunity to play Sandy Sommers [a.k.a Agnes Jones] on the popular serial.
Brown was drawn to her character from the moment that B&B's executive producer/head writer Bradley Bell shared his early ideas about Sandy. "Without giving away the story, I can tell you that I felt very strongly that I loved her," shares Brown. "We had several conversations actually and the second conversation, he got a little bit more specific…and I just fell in love when I listened to his ideas. [I thought], 'Oh, I love her already!'"
"I felt compelled from that time…that he really kind of got into the nuts and bolts of who she is to play her. I felt that it was right for me. It was the right move for me."
Brown describes her character as someone who is recovering from real trauma. "[Sandy] is not really herself when the audience first meets her. She's on a journey, sort of trying to find her bearings. And, she's a bit of a mess when she [first arrives]."
The trauma that Sandy is dealing with -- which will soon be revealed to viewers -- offers a challenge to this versatile actress. "It is hard material to look at, to think about, to work on, to mull over and digest, and to try to find beauty in. I'm totally loving the job. I really believe in what I'm doing."
The Bold and the Beautiful family has given Brown a very warm welcome. "They've welcomed me with open arms and I've been incredibly lucky. It's been a beautiful blessing for me and everybody has treated me so kindly."
Brown is especially happy to work with her former GH co-star, Rick Hearst, again. Brown and Hearst [Whip] are playing cousins on B&B, and look forward to having fun with that relationship. "I love [working with Hearst]. He's wonderful! He's just a great guy and a really talented actor and we have a lot of fun together, we always have. So, it's funny and fun with him. And, [I like] the fact that he's family so we can be goofy, hopefully, in the future at some point."
As for her GH family, Brown plans to keep in touch with many of her former co-stars. "I love Brandon [Barash, who played her on-screen brother]. I adore him. He's a wonderful guy. I will definitely keep in touch with him…Brandon's my little brother for the rest of my life." Brown also names Dominic Zamprogna and others as those from GH that she'll remain in touch with. The upbeat actress values her time at GH and explains that there was no drama behind her leaving the show. It was as simple as her character's storyline coming to an end.
In addition to her extensive daytime experience, Brown has worked in film, primetime, and theatre. She enjoys trying out different media. "If I had to do one medium forever, it's just not that exciting…[but] a regular gig on a daytime series [plus] guest starring here and there…that to me is [ideal]."
What especially draws her to daytime is the improvisational nature of the acting. "Daytime is really, really challenging. There is an incredible amount of material in a really short period of time and so you don't have a lot of time to get all up into your head and over-think every little moment and every detail…You have to play on the fly. It's a little more like improv," explains Brown. "Everything is not worked out really, really specifically before you go. It's just ideas and you just go with that and sort of see how it comes off. [It's like,] 'Did we pull it off? Did that work?'"
When bringing her memorable characters to life, Brown likes to immerse herself in the background material. "I always do a lot of research. I try to focus on the main themes and I read a lot of books," begins Brown.
"When I did Cold Case
, I watched every episode of the series…before my first day. I only had two weeks. So, I literally watched about forty episodes of television in two weekends. That was insane! But, I felt that I knew what I was doing. I read twenty books for the role as well. I feel like you have to [put on] the skin of the people that you're dealing with."
Brown enjoys the flexible nature of her craft. "Maybe that's why I'm an actor, because I don't have to decide on one thing. I can find out about law. I can take that on for a minute. I can go into medicine. You don't have to go to school for eight years to be a doctor and commit to that. You learn a little bit about it."
Of course, Brown cherishes spending time with her family. "I love hanging out with my daughter and my nephew. They're so much fun. I like to take them snowboarding. Anything that I can do with the kids to get them out into something that they've never done before, that's fun."
Although this charismatic actress has experienced so much, there are still many things that Brown would like to accomplish. One such desire is to help others. "I remember Audrey Hepburn and being a huge fan of hers. Not only because I loved her work and she inspired me as an actress, but, I remember seeing an image of her in Africa surrounded by these incredibly impoverished children. She was older in life, and she had retired, really for the most part at that point, and she devoted her life to charity and raising awareness to the causes that she believed in."
"So, I'd like to do similar," Brown continues. "I always thought that was a beautiful thing. If you were put on this earth and given opportunities, [I believe] that you should share and try and raise other people up. So, before I leave this earth, I'd like to lift some people up."
Photo Credit: Sarah J Brown; ABC