Out of the Blue Amy Brenneman Found Love and a Career


Because there's not a coy bone in Amy Brenneman's body, she's a refreshingly candid interview.

During the first season on NYPD Blue, Brenneman played homicide detective Janice Licalsi, whose torrid affair with David Caruso's Det. John Kelley helped the show change the face of prime-time TV.

The naked truth is that Brenneman and Caruso spent many a naked moment in front of the NYPD cameras.

It was quite a year - Caruso left the show, Licalsi went to jail and Brenneman fell in love.

"In lust, actually. Love came a little later," corrects Brenneman.

One of the guest directors that first season was Brad Silberling who'd cut his teeth on such shows as Doogie Howser, Brooklyn Bridge and L.A. Law.

"Brad directed three episodes of NYPD Blue. Between episodes two and three, we became an item.

"I knew the moment I met him that I liked him. I even gave him my phone number but he didn't follow up. I asked a few of the crew members to find out if he was gay," recalls Brenneman.

What she discovered was that Silberling had just ended a relationship and was nursing his wounds.

"That's all I needed to know. I insinuated myself into his life. We hung out platonically for almost two months. That really drove me crazy. Finally I told him exactly how interested I was in him.

"We had sex the next night."

Brenneman and Silberling are married and he has since gone on to direct such films as Casper and City of Angels. She has just completed filming The Suburbans with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Though she and Silberling are working to make their marriage work, Brenneman believes "the idea of making a commitment to monogamy for the rest of your life is preposterous.

"Marriages are sacred because being joined with another person gives you courage and sense of direction and a sense of some thing greater than either of you."

Brenneman confesses that "the concerns in our marriage have always been about me. I have a much more checkered relationship history than Brad. He was never unfaithful and he wasn't into casual sex."

Brenneman on the other hand was any thing but celibate in her past.

"As a young actress, I travelled with a theatre company. I used to make do with what was available in the towns we visited."

Brenneman says it is her checkered past that gave her the insights for her character in the bleak relationship drama Your Friends & Neighbors, opening Friday.

She plays a young woman named Mary whose husband (Aaron Eckhart) is struggling with a bout of impotence. In her frustration, she turns to two of her husband's best friends (Jason Patric and Ben Stiller).

"Mary loves her husband but she also wants to be satisfied sexually. Only when that becomes impossible does she turn to someone else.

"I stayed in a relationship two years too long before I could tell the guy that I wanted out. We were both too nice. We didn't want to hurt each other's feelings.

"I was unfaithful to him because I needed a life.

"There's a really healthy sexual thing going in my relationship with Brad. That was not a huge priority in that earlier relationship because he was such a nice, sweet, loving guy. That's commendable but it's not enough for most women in the '90s."

Brenneman says that "women want to be seen, heard and satisfied. We no longer want to live like our mothers did even if it worked for them. Our needs must be as great a priority as the man's."

Your Friends & Neighbors was written and directed by Neil LaBute who created last year's shocking drama In the Company of Men.

The men in Neighbors are every bit as misogynistic as the businessmen in Company.

"In my experience, I've discovered that a lot of predatory men don't really like woman. They like to dominate women and to exploit women but they don't really like them.

"That's what Neil is not afraid to show in his films and that's why his movies are so disturbing. Neil has seen a lot of hypocrisy in his life and he magnifies it and puts it up there on the screen."