At the age of five, Anna Wood stepped on stage for the first time in a production of Peter Pan. Since then the acting bug had caught her, sticking with her through today. At 18, she had directed and starred in a play called Out of Gas on Lovers Leap at the Cherry Orchard Theatre near her hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina. Fun fact – the theatre was located in the orchard where Anna had her first job selling cherries.
Wood studied Fine Arts at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Once she got her Bachelors, she moved to New York City where she landed both a TV and film role. She played Claire in the Edward Burns directed feature, Nice Guy Johnny, as well as Ana in an episode of USA Network’s Royal Pains. Soon after, she moved to LA where she guest-starred on Mad Men and Showtime’s House of Lies, amongst other shows.
Her most prominent role came in 2014 when she landed the starring role as the female protagonist on CBS’s summer series, Reckless. It also starred Adam Rodriguez and Cam Gigandet. Currently, Wood is starring in the CBS drama series, The Code. She lives back and forth between Brooklyn, New York and Woodstock, California.
We sat down with her to talk about her love of theatre, The Code, and much more!
Who did you play in Peter Pan and what made you want to act that very first time?
Oh wow. That was a long time ago. I played an unnamed Lost Boy in a community theatre production of Peter Pan. I was five or six, so you’d probably have to ask my mom what my thought process was back then. But I have always had the same love for acting. The strange freedom of being totally vulnerable. Maybe that’s what my little five-year-old self was craving.
Have you considered doing more theatre, whether that be acting or directing again?
I went to school for theatre. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I kind of take gigs as they come, but I sincerely hope the cards fall in that direction sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’m a massive theatre nerd and consume every bit of theatre that I can.
What about your college career do you miss the most?
Oh man. College was a magical time. My marriage and most of my best friendships were planted in those years. We worked our asses off – it was a conservatory program, so we were in class or rehearsal from 8am to 11pm each day. I miss the endless work. The exhausting, endless, gratifying and satisfying work.
Instead of LA or Hollywood, you moved to New York to pursue acting, which worked out great for you. Was there a reason you initially chose New York over LA?
I actually did put in a solid four years in LA. I initially moved to NYC, did my bit in LA, and returned to NYC. I came back because I missed the heartbeat of the city. NYC forces you to hustle a little harder. I need to hustle. I’m a better version of myself in that environment. And now, of course, I’m choosing to raise my daughter here in NYC. I love all the food and culture and language she’s exposed to in the city. I think it makes for a very well rounded, open-hearted human.
Can you tell us about your character Maya on The Code?
Maya is a boss. She’s unapologetically confident and the hardest worker in the room. She’s a bit of a workaholic, but her work ethic is how she’s gotten as far as she has, and how she continues to climb.
Are there any spoilers or clues you can give us about the season finale?
There’s such a huge journey that we haven’t seen yet for all of these characters. We continue to get to know them professionally and personally, and it’s fascinating to see how they compartmentalize these important military cases with the massive life shifts many of them are experiencing at the same time. I can’t give you any specifics, unfortunately, but you’ll really understand the characters of The Code by the end of the season. What makes them tick and what drives them to public service.
What drew you to this show and character?
I love political dramas. West Wing was what made me want to be on TV. The Code has a similar page and language. It’s very intelligently written. And I’ve always wanted to play someone as badass as Maya. She’s holding her own in what is largely a man’s world. She rocks alphas and camo with ease. Playing her is so empowering. I just love the heightened formality I feel when I’m playing a Marine. It’s truly an honor.
You play a few instruments, such as guitar, piano and the mandolin. Is music something you’d like to pursue or is it just a hobby?
I play music every day. I love it. It’d be amazing if I could weave my music into my acting somehow. I already do in my own way: each new project or character I play has their own soundtrack to help me get into their headspace. But I’m not really interested in pursuing music alone. I’d love to do a movie musical or play a musician one day. I connect to music in a very emotional way and I’d love to incorporate that into my work.
interview by Naureen Nashid
photography Phoebe Cheong
styling Alicia Santana
hair Muriel Vancauwen @ Exclusive Artists Management using Leonor Greyl Paris and Hot Tools
makeup Min Min Ma
location The Boogie Room, New York
The Code is currently airing every Monday on CBS!