‘Virgin River’: Alexandra Breckenridge Almost Had to Turn Down the Show

Alexandra Breckenridge stands at the center of Netflix’s Virgin River. She portrays Mel Monroe. Mel is a midwife from Los Angeles who moves to the small town for a fresh start and some healing. Along the way, she discovers a tight-knit community. Mel also begins a romance with Jack Sheridan (Martin Sheridan), the town’s bar owner.

As much as we love Breckenridge, the This Is Us actor almost had to turn down the show.

Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan and Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe sitting together looking at the stars in 'Virgin River'
Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan and Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe in ‘Virgin River’ | Netflix

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Is ‘Virgin River’ based on a true story?

It should be noted that all of the characters in the series are fictional and based on Robyn Carr’s books. “I have to remind them that it only exists in our hearts and minds,” Carr told Entertainment Weekly

Still, the bond that Breckenridge and Sheridan have formed as friends is super apparent on the small screen.

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Alexandra Breckenridge almost had to turn down the show

As much as fans adore Virgin River, the Netflix series almost looked very different. Though Breckenridge was Netflix’s first choice for Mel, the actor almost had to turn down the series because of This Is Us. Many fans will recognize Breckenridge for her role as Sophie, a nurse and Kevin’s (Justin Heartly) ex-wife on This Is Us. By the time Virgin River Season 1 was set to film, Breckenridge was still locked in a contract for the NBC series.

However, the This Is Us writers decided to explore Kevin’s life without Sophie in season 3 which cleared up the actor’s time. “That’s a bittersweet situation,” Breckenridge told The Huffington Post via Looper. [‘This Is Us’] is such a lovely environment to work in.”

Luckily, Breckenridge has returned the show for several guest appearances giving us the best of both worlds.

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Alexandra Breckenridge didn’t think anyone was going to watch ‘Virgin River’

While she was thrilled that NBC let her out of her contract so that she could move to Vancouver to film Virgin River, Breckenridge wasn’t convinced anyone would watch the show. “When I took the job, at the time, I had seen so many things on Netflix that just ended up in the graveyard, so to speak,” she told The Huffington Post via Looper. However, her belief that the show would exist in the corners of the streaming service aided in Breckenridge’s emotional performance.

“You’d see a show, it would flash by, you’d say, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll watch that,’ and then it just disappeared,” she explained. “And so, during my own exploration of acting in the first season, I was just like, ‘Well, nobody will be watching this,’ and it was a great opportunity for me to sort of unabashedly lay all of my guttural emotions on the table and see how it goes — really rawly connect with this character on an emotional level and just kind of let it all out. It’s hard to reach in and pull those emotions out in front of a crew, let alone knowing that lots of people will be watching.”