“Sci-Fi starlet, Jody Thompson guest stars this season on Fox’s hit TV series, Fringe. Jody stars as Sara Downey, a casualty of an experiment gone horrifically wrong. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jody for an exclusive Geekadelphia interview and discuss in depth her special guest role on Fringe, past roles on Smallville and Stargate, what it’s like working with J.J. Abrams, growing up in Vancouver and more!”
• Hi Jody, thanks for taking time to speak with Geekadelphia! You are appearing on Fringe this season, can you tell us a little bit about your role on the series?
My character’s name is Sara Downey. She and her husband are the unfortunate casualties of a research experiment gone really, really wrong… I’m not sure how much more I can say without giving away anything!
• In addition to Fringe, you’ve guest starred on many other popular sci-fi television series like Stargate, Smallville and Supernatural. Do you have any personal favorite sci-fi films/series?
Lang’s “Metropolis,” ”Soderbergh’s “Solaris,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.” I will also forever be a fan of, “Star Trek,” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
• I read you were born in Vancouver, BC. How was it filming Fringe in your hometown?
You know what they say. There’s no place like home – especially when your home is in Vancouver.
• Describe what’s it like working with JJ Abrams and Anna Torv on the set of Fringe. Was there mutual chemistry between you and fellow Canadian, Joshua Jackson? Were there any funny moments you would like to share while filming the series?
I have to say, I am continually impressed with big stars like Anna and Josh, as well as industry power players like Abrams, who manage to be enviably smart, cool and nice. When you walk onto a show for a single episode, there is always the possibility of feeling like an unwanted houseguest. The cast and crew are a tight-knit family and you are invading their private domain. But everyone was so welcoming. It was such a pleasure to be there. Anna is, (if it’s possible), even more beautiful in person and Josh is, well – even more charming. Alas, we didn’t do much joking around because the material we were working on was beyond serious…
• Throughout your career, you have done a bit of everything, acting, producing, directing, screenwriting, etc. Which role is your favorite and why>
Acting is my favorite, because I get to completely forget myself and “live” as another character. It’s kind of an out-of-body experience for me. Writing is my other favorite because I get to live inside myself and indulge in over-thinking myself silly, a terrible, wonderful habit of mine. Clear as mud?
• I know you have worked with both executive producers but this one is pretty difficult. JJ Abrams or X-Files’ Bob Goodwin?
Wow. Well, I did have a lot of one-on-one time with Bob, and he was just so amazing, the way he directed me in “Alien Trespass.” That was a scary project for me because my performance as a 1950’s B-movie starlet could have gone way over-the-top wrong. He made me feel so secure, and yet challenged, every step of the way. Goodwin is something of a genius… Though the same should be said for Abrams… And I would work with either again… on absolutely anything… Why would you ask me this unanswerable question! Lol.
• What challenges did you find in your role on Fringe this season?
It is the kind of role that actors dream of. The material was so compelling and perfectly written it was a matter of not getting in the way of what the creators had created. The. Ultimate. Challenge. I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I’m anxious about how it will come off. Truthfully, I’ve been torturing myself, wondering if I have somehow ruined the beauty of what I read in the script. But, then again, that’s what we actors do to ourselves in our down time. I guess a bit of fear is healthy as long as it doesn’t paralyze you, but drives you to work harder?
• The show thoroughly explores the possibilities and concepts of Fringe science and it’s impact on society. If you were a Fringe scientist, would you use your knowledge for good or evil?
Insert evil laugh here… Just kidding.
I’m not sure if this is the answer you were looking for, but my impulse is to respond by saying that I don’t think it is possible to strive for “evil.” A person with a “cause” thinks he/she is doing the “right” thing. But, obviously, not all perspectives will be compatible – hence good versus evil. Certainly, when I play an evil character, I have to work really hard to find motivations and back-story for that character that will help me to justify even her most unsavory actions. In life, however, we usually only arrive at the “good vs. evil” conflict by way of literature, religion or hindsight.
What JJ Abrams does so well, (as does great sci-fi), is to identify and speak to the spirit of the times – the working zeitgeist. I think projects like “Fringe,” are so important because they provide us with a kind of vantage point, a point near enough to our own lives, yet far enough removed, that we can gain perspective and take stock of our own situations. When we can step back, we can truthfully answer questions like… “are we using our knowledge for good or for evil?”
• Beyond Fringe, where else can we expect to see you in 2011?
“Sanctuary!” I have a couple of episodes coming up as the mysterious (and questionably motivated), Lieutenant Fallon…