What Julie’s reading now…

JulieCurrent project: Playing the love interest of a closet serial killer in “Dexter,” the Showtime hit also seen on CBS.

She’s reading: “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists,” by Neil Strauss.

It’s about: True story of a writer who spends two years undercover perfecting the art of picking up women – and discovers along the way that suave one-liners are no match for real conversation.

What Benz says: “Basically, it starts out with all these guys, they’re kind of run-of-the-mill, average guys, and they’re not good-looking. They really want to learn how to meet women. But then the more that you read it, the more you go wow, it’s kind of a sad, depressing story. Their goal just becomes how many women they can pick up, and not about having any type of connection. It really becomes a game. They get lost in it. Their work suffers. Their life suffers.”

On the upside: “Now, no one will be able to pick me up, because I know the game.”

Julie Benz toughs it out

Theatrical tradition says the way to wish an actor good luck is to suggest they “break a leg.” Julie Benz may start a new tradition. In the future, the new saying will be “bruise a rib.”

This painful sounding salute comes out of what happened to Benz during the filming of Rambo 4.

The fourth film in the Sylvester Stallone franchise puts outcast John Rambo back in the role of military savior. His latest mission is to rescue a group of missionaries – that’s where Benz comes in – who have been captured in Burma.

“It was really just a mild stunt,” says the actress. “There was a scene where he (Rambo) was supposed to jump on top of me to protect me. All 200 pounds landed on me.”

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Julie’s hot date

It’s about her (fictional) taste in men …

She started out dating a 250-year-old reformed vampire. Then she shacked up with a serial killer. She can currently be found in the jungles of Thailand, keeping company with a muscle-bound, monosyllabic mercenary. In September, she’ll be riding shotgun with a homicidal comic-book vigilante.

On the other hand, she never has to worry about getting mugged.

“I think I’m just attracted to dangerous men,” laughs Julie Benz of these risqué relationships – on television, with former Buffy beau Angel and the serial sociopath Dexter, and in the movies, currently, with Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo and, later, Rome ruffian Ray Stevenson playing the second screen incarnation of The Punisher.

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Julie talks “Punisher”

Julie Benz, who co-stars in the upcoming sequel film Punisher: War Zone, told SCI FI Wire that she plays the wife of an FBI agent who is murdered.

“The bad guys are after her, and the Punisher tries to save her,” Benz said in an interview. “She’s a single mother now, who lives with a young daughter. And she’s definitely tougher than Sarah [Benz’s missionary character in Rambo]. She’s got some guts to her.”

In War Zone, Benz (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dexter) plays Angela opposite Rome‘s Ray Stevenson, who play Frank Castle/the Punisher. The film also stars The Wire‘s Dominic West as Jigsaw, Doug Hutchison as Looney Bin Jim and Dash Mihok as Detective Soap.

“It’s directed by Lexi Alexander [Hooligans],” Benz said. “It’s one of the first times I’ve gotten to work with a female director. I was very excited about that. Also, for me, I get to do my first accent. I’m doing a New York accent.”

War Zone also marks Benz’s first comic-book movie (like its predecessor films, War Zone is based on the Marvel Comics franchise).

“To be a part of a comic-book movie was very exciting,” Benz said. “And it’s also headed up by Ray Stevenson and Dominic West, who are both actors whose work I’ve admired.”

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