Benjamin Hollingsworth had his work cut out for him on Virgin River from the beginning. Brady, his character, is one the creators of the TV show took a lot of liberties with in comparison to the Brady fans know from the books by Roby Carr. Not to mention his main relationship on Virgin River, with Jack’s sister Brie, is one that doesn’t exist in the books, where Brie and Mike are the subjects of a book.
That basically means Hollingsworth walked into a situation where a lot of people were rooting against his character from the beginning. And yet, four seasons into the show, it’s hard not to call Brady a fan favorite. He’s wormed his way into most people’s hearts, and whether we want to or not, at this point, we are indeed rooting for him. Talking to Hollingsworth, it’s hard not to root for him as much as we root for his character.
He’s already hard at work shooting Season 5 of Virgin River, and that makes the release of Season 4 a particularly fun experience. “I love being in the middle of shooting when something comes out because a) it inspires you, gives you a little bit of extra juice to go to work with, and b) it’s nice to share the success with your castmates and feel that sense of accomplishment with them,” he told us, as I congratulated him on the success of Season 4. That, of course, led to a conversation about Brady as a character – and the growth that has made us fall for him.
“I think everyone certainly had the wrong idea of Brady, which isn’t uncommon, I think, for Brady,” he explained, referencing everyone’s first impression of the character who came in as, if not a full-on villain, at least an antagonist, and who Hollingsworth called the most misunderstood character in Virgin River. “ I think that he is used to being cast villain because he doesn’t open himself up much,” and in fact, it’s not till Season 3 that we truly start to see underneath the armor he puts up. That armor, of course, also includes a tough guy persona that Hollingsworth calls an act.
“He’s afraid,” Hollingsworth shares. “He’s actually scared little kid underneath all that because he didn’t grow up with parents as good role models. He didn’t grow up with a solid foundation like many others have. And so he’s overcompensated and is misunderstood.”
But that doesn’t mean Brady hasn’t made his share of mistakes and learned from them – become a better person because of the things he’s gotten wrong. And one thing, in particular, we would love to see the show explore in Season 5 is the relationship between Brady and Jack. Virgin River has focused on Brady’s romance with Brie, but our first connection to him is through Jack, and that’s something we still need more of.
“Romance brings out the best people. It allows people to flourish. And certainly was the case for Brady,” Hollingsworth told us, noting that this didn’t mean there wasn’t a lot to explore with Jack, or that the relationship Brady has with him was less important, sharing that their connection goes back to the “brotherhood that they had in the Marines and their combat experience together,” and that the kind of bond they share is “something that doesn’t go away, much like love. It’s something that you live with forever.”
So, the good news is …Hollingsworth agrees that “it’s a matter of time before Jack and Brady do have a moment of reconciliation,” and we honestly cannot wait. We like it when things go full circle, what can we say?
But to get Brady to a place where that reconciliation must happen, and for him to truly be the person Brie needs, he’s gotta face his own issues, just as Season 4 allowed Jack to face his. And Hollingsworth shared that we would indeed learn a lot more about Brady’s backstory in Season 5 – and see that carry into his relationships. “I think the Brady is really shown his mental and emotional maturity in Season 4 in the way he’s supporting Brie and going to Mel and being very delicate about not just going after Don and trying to exact revenge,” he told us, adding that “there’s an opportunity there for him too, as he supports, to kind of look inward and see if there’s something that he needs to confront within himself or within his past.”
We won’t deny that we’re super excited to see where Brady’s journey is taking him. As for Hollingsworth, he just had a Hallmark movie come out on July 30th, and another one coming out this Saturday, Romance in Style, that he’s very, very proud of. The movie, whose entire message is about “body positivity and inclusivity and self-acceptance,” was an opportunity for Hollingsworth to support a message he wholeheartedly believes in, and one he hopes helps build a world where his daughter will get to feel comfortable in her own skin, no matter what size she is.
Whether it’s on Hallmark, or Virgin River, or outside of the romance genre, like in the drama series Joe Pickett, streaming now on Paramount+, one of the things Hollingsworth is more interested in, is in being a conduit for change. “if I can exact or influence change in a positive way through entertainment, that’s part of the magic of being an actor,” he shared, adding that he hopes people can look at his work and “hopefully relate and take something away and be inspired”
Now, that sounds like a notion we can not only get behind but get inspired by.
Virgin River Season 4 is available to stream on Netflix. The show has already been renewed for Season 5.