After a series of intense four-hour auditions, actress Rebecca Breeds found out she landed the starring role in Clarice in a very fitting and slightly creepy way — true to the new show's source material.
"My husband and I drove to Malibu and we were sitting at a café and within about two minutes, I got a phone call from [co-creaters] Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet," Breeds, 33, tells PEOPLE. "I pick up the phone and I just hear silence. And then all I hear is … 'Hello, Clarice.' That's how they told me I got the role and I absolutely lost it. Just could not believe it."
Nods to Hannibal Lecter's memorable greeting from Silence of the Lambs aside, Breeds continues to be thrilled with the role and filming the spinoff series, which takes place one year after the events in the Oscar-winning 1993 film.
Here's five things you need to know about the up-and-coming star.
She knew she wanted to act at a very early age
"I was probably about 3. This guy came to our local church and told the story about how Jesus calms the storm," Breeds remembers. "And he was drawing on paper with charcoal, that's how he was illustrating the story. He was doing the wind with the charcoal, [narrating] 'And the rain was coming down,' and he's doing the rain. 'And the lightning struck!' And I was so enthralled with the story that I just jumped up and did this big, 'Kaboom!' I just had to embody the lightning and the whole church just like, started laughing. And I was like, 'Whoa, Oh my gosh, I love this.'"
She grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia
"My mom and dad were always so onboard and incredibly supportive," says the Sydney, Australia, native. "We were just middle class suburban people. We didn't really have any access to this industry. I didn't even know you could make a job out of it. My dad joined a drama group because I was too young and they wouldn't take me, but they'd take me if dad became a part of it. So both my parents were amazing. I think they just knew that I wouldn't be happy doing anything else. So they just were really supportive. I was really lucky."
She and her husband, Luke Mitchell, met while starring together on the long-running Aussie soap, Home and Away
"The day I [found out about Clarice], he was waiting to hear about something as well," she says about her husband, Luke Mitchell, whom she met while starring together on Australian soap Home and Away. "And we just couldn't function. I'm like, 'I can't think about anything. Let's just go for a drive.' We drove to Malibu and we were sitting at a café. … After I got the call and ran back in the restaurant, obviously we ordered champagne straightaway. And then that night he found out he got his role in [the new CW series] The Republic of Sarah as well. So it was one of the craziest days of my life."
She loves speaking in Clarice’s West Virginia drawl
"My favorite part about the accent is that it just brings the character home," explains the actress. "You just switch into the accent. It's like, boom, I'm Clarice Starling. And at the end of the day, you leave the accent behind and I'm Australian again. I'm like, 'Ah.' It creates a differentiation between her life and my life — her life is very intense and very heavy. So it's a really good tool for me just as a person."
"But it's also fun. I love it," Breeds continues. "I love how it feels in my mouth. I love how it completely creates a different character. And it's funny, I can't give anyone a lot of science to how I did it. I just listened to it and then I just kind of did it and it works. Sometimes it's just a bit of magic. Some accents just really work with you more than others. And this one just sits in my mouth so easily and it's really fun to do. I don't know why. It's so thick. It's something that it's really fun to speak with. So yeah, I love doing it."
For more on Rebecca Breeds, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.
She is not afraid of physical training and stunts
"We did quite rigorous FBI training because that visual part of the storytelling is so important," she says. "And you know how hard she has to work to break through the glass ceilings to even be there. It has to be so apparent. So technique was so important. So we did a lot of training, especially with Lucca De Oliveira, who plays Esquivel. Him and I did a lot of training together, doing our quick draws and how to hold the gun and where to hold your finger when you're not shooting. We were clearing rooms together and kicking in doors and learning how to handcuff, all really cool stuff. I love that physical element. I love stunts and things, so that was really fun."
Clarice premieres Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
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