Jennifer Carpenter: "Gigs Like Dexter Don't Come Along Often"

Via Jennifer Carpenter stars as Debra Morgan on Showtime's hit show Dexter, which just wrapped its six season Sunday night. As Dexter's adoptive, foul-mouthed sister, Carpenter has become a fan favorite. But unlike her Dexter character, you won't find her dropping one curse word (especially around her family).

"I think they were a little disappointed when I took it on in my own life! My father made me aware of my bad mouth over one Thanksgiving meal and I corrected it right away. It is incredibly unattractive in my opinion," the actress told

Carpenter, dished on the success of Dexter, her relationship with co-star Michael C. Hall [the two recently finalized their divorce after separating a year ago], and the one show she'd love to be a guest star on.
On playing Dexter's smart aleck sister.
"I love playing her because I learn a lot from her. She sort of acts without thinking, which is a luxury that I don't really have. I like that she is always operating from her gut. I really admire her. She's good at her job and she's relentless about making sure her personal life is in tact. She does a lot of work on herself as a woman, as a friend, as a sister, and as an aunt." Read more after the jump below...

On Deb's colorful vocabulary.
"I made an early decision that I had to write my own dictionary in a way and make sure there were infinite definitions for the F-word. That way, it wasn't so repetitive to me and didn't feel like a crutch. She needs to think of herself as a very expressive person. Although her vocabulary seems limited, I think that she is actually a pretty excellent communicator."

On her relationship with co-star [and ex-husband] Michael C. Hall.
"It's sacred for an actor to keep their personal life personal. I would like to reassure all Dexter fans that the show is and always has been paramount. We've always done a nice job of protecting it and each other. We play important roles in each other's lives and always will. Our friendship is true and strong and always will be as far as I'm concerned."

On the success of Dexter.
"I think I might have been the only cast member shooting the pilot thinking that it wasn't going to go well because I couldn't imagine that a network would champion a serial killer or that audiences would either. But I guess they were the smart ones!"

On the serial killer with a heart of gold.
"I think people might be attracted to the character Dexter because they get to exercise some of their own demons through him and live vicariously through him. I think it tests audiences in a way that a lot of other shows haven't until now. Audiences enjoy being in the know. They get to be in the head of the serial killer and the other characters are in the dark. It's interesting television. It makes you gauge where your moral center is and sometimes it surprises you that you lean so far from one side to the other."

On what she's looking for in future roles.
"I made a very solid commitment at eight-years-old that I wanted to be an actor, and I never deviated from that decision. I truly did feel like it was a calling, so at this point in my career, I have to decide if I have something new to say as an artist and ask why I am still so hungry. I think it's because I just love working so much. It's hard for me to say no to roles that people automatically associate me with — like darker things, horror things. I need to make sure that I'm taking roles that I feel like I can communicate through."

On the big screen vs. the small screen.
"I never thought that I would be so attracted to television, but I don't think gigs like Dexter come along too often. I love that there's a beginning, middle and end to a film and you can craft what the whole journey is going to look like. And then I always love the whole open-endedness of television. I feel like I hear a lot of actors say this — but I know why — you just want to work with really great people. I just want to be with great teachers. If that means I'm in a horror film with good teachers, I'll do another horror film. But I would love to branch out and do more comedy or just more straight dramas."

On her dream role.
"I'd love to jump on Modern Family. I think that would be a lot of fun. I can't imagine anyone in the world who wouldn't want to just hang out on that set for a day!"

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  1. Deb is been one of my least favorite characters In Dexter. She only grew on me in season 5. Thanks for the interview Jen. The acting talent has blossomed since Dexter and wish u lots more success.

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