Though not advisable for mountain climbing or handling explosives, a young actress from Mount Airy has found that “Reckless” is the key to being part of a prime-time network television series.
“Reckless” is the title of a new show for which the pilot will debut tonight on CBS, including Anna Wood in a starring role. The program is joining the network’s schedule as a summer replacement series, but Wood is hoping it will catch on with viewers and become a long-running proposition.
If so, that will elevate Anna Wood to the rarefied air of someone from Mount Airy being a regular cast member on a network dramatic or situation comedy series — the first since some guy named Griffith did so in the 1960s.
“It’s exciting,” Wood said in a telephone interview Wednesday as she looked forward to “Reckless” hitting the airwaves. It will do so at 9 p.m. today in a one-hour time slot.
Wood explained that a long delay has occurred between the production of an initial 13 episodes of “Reckless” — described as a “sultry” crime-drama in which Wood plays Jamie Sawyer, a Northern lawyer who migrates to Charleston, S.C. — and its airing.
Shooting began in March 2013 and wrapped up last December, and in the meantime the cast and crew have waited eagerly for the series to hit CBS’ schedule.
“I feel relieved that people are finally going to get a chance to see it,” said Wood, the daughter of Bert and Mary Beth Wood and granddaughter of Mack and Dora Ann Wood of this city.
In June 2012, Wood, now 28, married Dane DeHaan, a fellow actor whose impressive list of credits includes the role of the Green Goblin/Harry Osborn in the movie “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” released earlier this year.
Both are graduates of North Carolina School of the Arts.
The plot line of “Reckless” concerns Wood’s character being hired to represent disgraced cop Lee Anne Marcus (portrayed by Georgina Haig) in the wake of a sex scandal involving the local police department.
Jamie finds herself facing off against handsome Roy Rayder (Cam Gigandet), a newly appointed city attorney. While the sex scandal threatens to tear the city of Charleston apart, the two legal adversaries struggle to contain their attraction for each other.
Because the undercurrent of sex and violence that simmers on “Reckless” is handled tastefully, Wood says she had no misgivings about taking on such a provocative role.
“As long as it’s not gratuitous or derogatory toward women,” the actress said she has no problem with on-camera sexual situations.
“We all engage in those activities from time to time and as long as it’s not excessive or gratuitous, it just sort of helps tell the story,” Wood explained.
“Provocative, I think, is a good thing — it gets people to watch, it gets people to show up.”
After tonight’s showing of the pilot, “Reckless” is scheduled to be part of CBS’ Sunday night lineup for the duration of the 13 episodes — at least.
Wood confirmed the challenging schedule that being a regular on a TV show can demand of its participants.
“On a good day we’d be done in 14 hours,” she said of the shooting regimen. “It could go up to 18 hours — there were a few days when we were working when the sun was rising.”
This meant arriving at 4:30 a.m. each day at the studio, where Wood would spend two hours in makeup and hairdressing sessions before production even began. “In the show, my hair is long,” said the performer who has had a shorter look previously.
Wood said lessons she learned in the close-knit, caring community of Mount Airy have carried over to her entertainment career, which before “Reckless” included other movie and TV roles.
“Mount Airy was always very supportive,” recalled Wood, who appeared in Surry Arts Council productions and attended the city’s high school before transferring to North Carolina School of the Arts. She completed her high school education there and later graduated from the Winston-Salem school with a bachelor of fine arts degree in 2008.
“I had wonderful teachers and wonderful support,” Wood said of her early years in Mount Airy. “I think a big thing I took away from there is I never felt self-conscious about performing.”
Before being cast in “Reckless,” Wood’s acting credits included episodes of such TV shows as “Mad Men,” “Deception,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Royal Pains,” “Cold Case” and “Brothers & Sisters,” and the science-fiction film “Chronicle” released in 2012, among others.
Wood is now in a state of limbo concerning future projects, due to being under contract with the producers of “Reckless” to ensure that she and other performers on the show will be available for a second season if ratings are good.
“We have been on hold,” she said. But that has given Wood the chance to catch her breath and spend time in New York City, along with paying a visit to Mount Airy in May for her mom’s birthday.
“At this point in time, I’m just ready to get back to work.”
But for the purposes of “Reckless,” that will depend on what kind of audience it builds in a ratings-driven business.
“We’ll just see how many people turn out and watch the show and how many people keep watching, and tell their friends,” Wood said of the viewership situation.
“It’s kind of out of our hands now,” she added of those who have prepared the first 13 episodes for the small screen. “We’ve done our jobs and now it just comes down to who comes out to see it.”
Such uncertainties aside, how does it feel to be Anna Wood from Mount Airy at this point in time?
“You know,” she replied, “it’s hard to even answer that question, because it’s all happened so fast I haven’t had time to process how I feel about it.”