“Quantum Leap” co-star Caitlin Bassett is tackling her first acting role after spending seven years in the military.
Call it a case of art imitating life.
“Martin [Gero] the showrunner and [director] Helen [Shaver] the saw my [audition] tape before they found out about my background,” Bassett, 32, told The Post. “Helen, in particular was apparently very specific, because they saw a lot of actresses for this role. And she kept just being like, ‘I don’t believe they were in the military.’ And Martin was like, ‘We can teach people how to walk,’ but Helen thought they could find something different.
“When they found me, she was like, ‘I believe her!’”
“Quantum Leap” (Mondays at 10 p.m.) has already been renewed for a second season. It’s a revival of the original series, which aired from 1989-1993 and followed Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula), a scientist who found himself trapped in time who leapt between various bodies to help people solve a dilemma. Dean Stockwell played his sidekick, Al.
This new version is set 30 years after the original series and follows a new team that’s been assembled to restart Beckett’s project. The main characters include Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) and his fiancee Addison Augustine (Bassett), an ex-Army intelligence officer who works in the Quantum Leap program. During Ben’s leaps into the past, she appears as a hologram to guide him.
“[The original show] was just ahead of my time. I was only 4 [when it aired]. So I went back and watched,” said Bassett. “But, my parents and siblings were huge fans.”
Bassett said that, going forward in the season “things are really starting to ramp up. We’re starting to understand the mysteries, why Ben leaped, what his goal is, what the threat was. It gets super-exciting.”
Bassett worked as an intelligence analyst in the US Army, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant, and completed three combat deployments during her service — two to Afghanistan and one to Qatar.
She said that she always wanted to act, but following her service, she initially went to Brooklyn Law School instead of to Hollywood.
“It was the thing I wanted to always do, but you can’t say that. In that world in particular, people don’t leave for a lot of creative aspirations. Or at least, they don’t admit to it,” she said. “So, I left for law school. Because that felt like an adult thing to do, and everybody respected it. And I got there, and I just didn’t want that life. So yes, [acting] was a dream I harbored. But it took a couple years in New York, around creatives, in a city where everything seemed possible, to fully admit that to myself and then grapple with the reality of doing it.”
She said that her military experience has helped her play Addison with more authenticity.
“I think sometimes when actors are playing ex-military roles, they think that how they act in one context is how they always act. There might be some truth to that, depending on how much of your identity is rooted in your service,” she said. “But for most people, the military is just part of who they are, not all of it. So, knowing how and when to turn it off are things I’ve used in this role.”
Her experience also helped her with long days on set, she said.
“The ability to have a good time and keep good vibes on set even if the situations get long and exhausting and stressful are similar to deployments,” she said. “There’s a lot I pull from … and the ability to work under stress and make it a good day.”
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