There are two types of actors in Hollywood: Those who cringe at the very mention of the role that made them famous (see ANGEL’s David Boreanaz) and those who embrace it. Not surprisingly, EVERWOOD grad Emily VanCamp falls into the latter camp and is only too happy to reminisce about the show that put her on the map.
“It was devastating for all of us,” admits the actress — who spent the better part of four years in Utah while shooting the family-friendly saga, but has now returned to Los Angeles to join the ranks of the dysfunctional Walker clan on ABC’s BROTHERS & SISTERS— of EVERWOOD’s cancellation. “Right up until the 7th HEAVEN series finale, we all really believed we were coming back.”
Perhaps VanCamp took a bit of comfort upon hearing the collective groan issued by millions of fans when Dawn Ostroff, president of the fledgling CW network, announced that 7th HEAVEN would be moving to the new network, but EVERWOOD’s four-year run would perish along with the WB network.
Ironically, VanCamp very nearly passed on EVERWOOD when first it was offered. “I was in Vancouver shooting GLORY DAYS [a short-lived WB series] and was really homesick,” she shares. “A part of me wanted to go back to Montreal to be with my friends.” Thankfully, EVERWOOD creator Greg Berlanti — having seen the pilot episode of GLORY DAYS — knew that VanCamp was the only girl he wanted for the role of Amy Abbott. When DAYS came to a most unglorious end (”It was not good,” admits VanCamp), the actress promptly took a life-changing plane ride to Park City, Utah in order to breath life into EVERWOOD’s young heroine.
Over the next four years, the writers — never ones to shy from controversial topics — threw one hot story after another VanCamp’s way. “The writer’s delivered such wonderful stories, tackling issues that shows on the WB rarely touched upon,” she reflects. And which twist of Amy‘s fate was her alter ego’s favorite? “I know it upset a lot of our audience, but my favourite storyline was when Amy was dealing with depression [following Colin’s death]. I pushed myself so much, and I really grew as an actress.”
If critical favorite EVERWOOD (which was never a true ratings hit) provided VanCamp with an education, it is one she now puts to great use as part of the all-star BROTHERS & SISTERS ensemble, where her role as love child Rebecca has her regularly sharing scenes with some of her professions heaviest hitters. “I really wasn’t looking to do television,” VanCamp confesses. “I assumed I’d never find anything as good as EVERWOOD. But Greg approached me with this, and I’d have been pretty dumb to pass up an opportunity to work with the likes of Calista Fliockhart and Sally Field!”
Although the two characters share a face, VanCamp insists that, “Rebecca is so different from Amy. She’s got an edge, a chip on her solider, she’s one tough chick. Rebecca is a lot more confident and sexual, but underneath it all, she’s just a sad little girl who feels cheated out of a childhood.”
Recent episodes have seen Rebecca forging a tenuous-at-best relationship with her late father’s family, but VanCamp coyly warns that fans shouldn’t expect the character to be neatly or easily folded into the clan. “Rebecca’s just begun to stir up trouble, and something happens that will further jeopardize her relationship with the family.”
So while VanCamp will never look back upon her first major roll with regret, she’s perfectly happy to have moved on. “Ultimately, EVERWOOD ended at the right time. It was definitely tragic, but we wrapped up everything so nicely and gave the audience the ending they wanted.” And in the end, that’s really all we really ask of our favorite shows.