We all love Jewel Staite… more than friends. From starship mechanics, to inter-dimensional doctors, Jewel brings a likability and quirky charm to whatever role she inhabits. She’s just a blast to watch on screen. I’ve been a fan of Jewel for a long time, but like many of you she first caught my eye as the unrefined Kaylee Frye on Joss Whendon’s spectacular, yet short lived, series Firefly. After Firefly’s tragic and unwarrented execution, Jewel went on to join the cast of Star-Gate: Atlantis, as Dr. Jennifer Keller. Last month I had the pleasure of getting a screener for Jewel’s new short film “The Pact” which just premiered at Sundance 2011. The film was terrifying, and made me look at Jewel in a whole new light. Put on your “Jane-Hats“, slap on those creepy blue rubber gloves, because it’s time for Jewel Staite: The Nerd Appropriate Interview.
NA-Ash: We’re incredibly excited that you agreed to take time out of your adventures in space to answer some of our questions! You’ve said in other interviews that you take a lot into consideration when choosing a role, but often science fiction parts often seem to interest you the most, why do you think this is?
Jewel: Because female characters in science fiction generally rock. They’re strong, they’re smart, and they’re different. Plus, being worshipped by fanboys is kind of awesome.
NA-Ash: I was lucky enough to interview Nicholas McCarthy who directed you in The Pact, a short horror/suspense film that just premiered at Sundance 2011. The movie scared the hell out of me and I thought that you gave one of the best performances of your career. What can you tell us about the making of this creepy gem?
Jewel: Aw, shucks! Thank you! The Pact came to my attention in a bit of a weird way. Morena Baccarin’s boyfriend is a filmmaker, and he forwarded me the script that a friend of his (Nicholas McCarthy) had written. I totally fell in love with it, so I took a meeting with Nicholas. And then promptly fell in love with him. He’s just brilliant, and I knew it would be a really different experience for me, both professionally and creatively. I haven’t felt that inspired and jazzed about something in a long time. Sam Ball, who played my brother, is such a genius, and Nicholas has this way of talking to actors that really brings out a different side to your skill. I’d work with both of them again in a heartbeat.
NA-Ash: Okay this question may just be for me, but in your opinion what was on the other side of that damn ominous door? (I personally thought that an ugly Evil Dead grandma was going to pop out and make me soil myself).
Jewel: The ghost of her dead mom, silly! And an Evil Dead grandma. And maybe a Kardashian.
NA-Ash: Yeah that’s pretty damn scary.. You’re about to star in yet another horror film P5Ych, what can you tell us about this one?
Jewel: P5Ych came to me a couple of years ago from a director friend of mine in Canada, Gary Harvey. I worked with Gary on a Canadian show called Cold Case Files years ago, and he thought of me for a particular role in the film. It’s such a great script, super scary, really dark, and downright frightening. It hasn’t got its funding together quite yet, but I’m really hoping someone gives it a chance and decides to produce it and get the ball rolling, because it’s such a great idea. I love scary movies that are intelligent and thought-provoking, and it’s definitely one of those.
NA-Ash: Your twitter feed reads like a gourmet menu. When did you start getting interested in food, and what can you tell us about the food blogs you recently started to write on happyopu.net?
Jewel: I have no idea where this fixation with good food came from. My parents aren’t foodies at all, so I didn’t grow up eating caviar and escargot or anything. Like, my mom will live on microwaveable popcorn for days on end if you let her, and my dad’s idea of a gourmet meal is “a bucket of chicken from the Colonel” (KFC). So who knows. I started hanging around foodie-type people a few years ago, and it changed my world. Now I’m one of those nerds who will look up restaurants that are in a city I’m traveling to, and make lists in order of which ones I want to hit while I’m there. I figured since I spend so much time and money eating out, I might as well put it to good use and blog about it for food fiends like myself. I’d like to contribute more than just restaurant reviews on happyopu.net eventually, like my cooking experiments at home, top ten lists of my favorite restaurants and bars in the cities I’ve been to, etc. etc. I’m just getting warmed up!
“Fo sho. I wouldn’t hesitate. Also: who is Nathan Fillion?”
NA-Ash: We’re also all aware of your love of travel (this really makes me feel like I’m stalking you). What are some of the most incredible places you’ve had the pleasure of visiting? And what places were sort of a let down?
Jewel: Paris is probably my favorite place in the world, so far. All people do there is drink wine and eat butter. The first time I was there, I thought I’d literally died and arrived at the pearly gates, it was so amazing. New Orleans is another favorite- great food, lovely people, and such a soulful, spooky vibe. Montreal is pretty fabulous, and I could never, ever get sick of London. Australia’s always a ton of fun, too, and New Zealand was stunning. And Maui, of course. But I’m told I talk about Maui too much, so I’ll just leave it at that. I don’t think I’ve ever been let down by a place before. It’s always all about the people you’re traveling with anyway. And the food. The food has to be good. Or I’m hopping the next plane outta there.
NA-Ash: But I wanted to ask about Maui! I went there this year on my honeymoon, and may even head back this summer with friends. Are there any places the nerds reading this (and myself) should check out if they ever get a chance to go to this amazing place?
Jewel: Yay, we get to talk about Maui! I spent the first four years of my life in Maui, and I got married on the same beach I took my very first steps on. It has a lot of meaning for me and my family, and we make it there once a year to soak up some of its magic. I’d say the things not to miss are a luau at Old Lahaina Luau (I’ve been so many damn times, I could probably perform the luau myself), happy hour at Kimo’s in Lahaina, sunset at Merriman’s, sushi at Sansei, the drive to Hana followed by an overnight stay at Hotel Hana, whale watching during whale season, snorkeling in Turtle Bay, and a no-holds-barred, all-out extravagant meal at my very favorite restaurant on planet earth, Mama’s Fish House. Have a mai tai, the calamari, and the stuffed mahimahi. Oh. My. God.
NA-Ash: I had the pleasure of attending Comic Con the summer before Serenity was released. At the Serenity panel (where Joss forgot to introduce you ) the energy was incredible. What was it like walking out onto stage and seeing a legion of fans almost brought to tears over the movie being green-lit?
Jewel: Can you believe he forgot to introduce me?! I’ll get over it one day, I swear. That panel will go down in history as one of the most fun panels I’ve ever done. I was positively giddy. When you’re hit with that kind of energy, you can literally feel it. I just felt so warm and so loved. Except by Joss.
NA-Ash: Speaking of conventions are you planning on attending any conventions in 2011? What is the strangest thing you’ve witnessed at a convention?
Jewel: I’ve actually got a couple planned for this year. I’ll be heading to Omaha for Contagion in June, and there’s another one in the works in Abu Dhabi, which would be amazing. Conventions are crazy fun. You’re usually with a bunch of actors, which is a recipe for crazy in itself, and then you’re surrounded by die-hard fans who adore you. It ain’t a bad gig. Picking the strangest thing I’ve seen is pretty hard… I’ve walked into Klingon weddings, impromptu Storm Trooper “elevator parties”, Buffy proms, you name it. There’s never a dull moment at a convention. I love it!
NA-Ash: You’ve managed to stay close with Nathan Fillion and the rest of your Firefly cast. If the community gets its wish and Firefly eventually makes its return, could you really see yourself slapping on those coveralls and returning to the engine room?
Jewel: Fo sho. I wouldn’t hesitate. Also: who is Nathan Fillion?
NA-Ash: okay… Someone mounts a flux capacitor to your current automobile and gives you enough Libyan plutonium to make one trip to the past (or the future). Where would you go, and what event would you alter?
Jewel: Okay, I think that’s the nerdiest question I’ve ever been asked. That’s like nerd times infinity plus Romulan divided by Cylon squared nerdy. And is it a return trip? Cuz it sounds like I only have enough fuel to get there, and then not get home afterwards. And I’d need to get home to watch my Lost dvds.
NA-Ash: I’m incredibly proud of myself for asking you “the nerdiest question you’ve ever been asked.” On behalf of myself, and the rest of the crew at NerdAppropriate.com we thank you for being part of something that we truly love. Do you have any final words of wisdom from your own personal engine room (make of that what you will)?
Jewel: Words of wisdom: be you, follow your dreams, believe in yourself and the happiness you deserve, blah blah blah… And log on to happyopu.net every chance you get. Thank you so much!
NA-Ash: Thanks so much for keeping us entertained and stay shiny (stole your line)!
We welcome the multi-talented Michele Boyd to the show this week to talk about her upcoming project, Penny Horrors, as well as her origin story, acting, producing, Team Unicorn, and so much more! Ash and Scott return to handle the news and other shenanigans.
Keep an eye on PennyHorrors.com for exciting news and announcements, as well as the KickStarter campaign!