‘Atypical’ is the new coming-of-age Netflix original series from creator Robia Rashid (Will & Grace, HIMYM). The 8-episode scripted dramedy follows Sam (Keir Gilchrist), an 18-year old boy longing for love. Oh, and by the way – he has High-functioning autism. Dealing with this and his need for independence impacts his family in ways that none of them would have predicted.

A stand-out among the recurring cast is actress Wendy Braun. She portrays ‘Kathy’, the uptight, uber-politically correct autism support group leader and friend to Sam’s mom (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Wendy perfectly creates one of those characters that audiences can’t wait to see eat their own words – perhaps in Season Two?!

In real-life, Wendy has proven a solid and “likeable” actress. Her most recent credits include appearing opposite Ed Helms and Tracy Morgan in the comedy film The Clapper, as a stoic airline pilot in ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, and as ‘Gail’ in the new MTV pot comedy Mary + Jane. And coming soon, Wendy will appear in Apple’s anticipated scripted series from Dr. Dre, Vital Signs.

I recently caught up with Wendy Braun to find out more:

What can you tell us about your role in the new Netflix series Atypical”?

WENDY BRAUN: I play Kathy, the (somewhat uptight but well-intentioned) leader of the local support group for parents with autistic kids, as well as a friend to Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character, Elsa, who frequents the group often. As much as Kathy wants to honor and support everyone’s journey, she is also quite opinionated, which made her so much fun to play.

What can you share with us about the way the show deals with the subject matter - autism?

WENDY: The show deals with autism in a heartfelt way, as a hopeful coming of age story about a teenage boy (Sam) on the autistic spectrum who is looking for love and independence. Here Sam may have this label, but those around him are not necessarily any more normal than he is. Atypical is really about what it means to be normal and how we all struggle with that in different ways.

How was it working alongside Jennifer Jason Leigh?

WENDY: To work opposite Jennifer was so lovely. She’s amazing in this role and also so supportive of other actors. I had great time on the set.

Any interesting stories from the set you can spill?

WENDY: I can’t really give anything away, but the cast is amazing. To hear the show come to life at the table reads was thrilling. Everyone could tell it was going to be something special.

We shot in Valencia during the rainy season in LA., and just about every time I drove to the set, I saw a rainbow. I had sung “Somewhere Over The Rainbow" to my late mother in the last days of her life, so whenever I see a rainbow, I figure it’s her smiling down upon me.

Do you think your character might come back for Season 2?

WENDY: I sure hope so. The support group helps people understand what parents of autistic kids might be going through. We also know a lot of secrets. There’s still so much to explore, and with the amazing writing, I would love to see what happens with Kathy.

What’s been the biggest lesson you took away from the opportunity?

WENDY: That we all are really trying to find our own version of normal and that judging someone who might be different than you, is really a fear-based way of living.
I hope this show helps people to become more compassionate and kind. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Got anything else coming up we can watch for the near future?

WENDY: I’m appearing next in Apple’s highly-anticipated original series, Vital Signs with Dr. Dre. This is another amazing project of which I am so grateful to be a part.

As a busy working actress in Hollywood, I guess I’ll just quote “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” and simply say, “…dreams really do come true.”

Keep up with Wendy Braun at: www.wendybraun.com

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