In our living room, right this very second, you’ll find this week’s episode of the recently renewed ABC legal drama, “For the People” playing. Ordinarily, we don’t really bother with legal dramas. After a while, they all kind of congeal into a ball of Bochco-flavored blandness. What makes this one stand out and on oury TV right now? The lead, Jasmin Savoy Brown. After seeing her essentially play four different characters on HBO’s The Leftovers, we’re believers that she can sell any role and bring something special to whatever show she’s on. Below you’ll find a written interview we conducted the rising star using some of our questions and some from the Leftovers community.
[Daley Review] – Your current TV show, For the People, will finish its first season in a couple more weeks. How has the transition to the lead in a network show been for you?
[JSB] – It’s been great! Obviously, my work load has increased, both on and off screen, and I love that. I thrive being busy and having multiple deadlines. The emotional transition has been fine because of the wonderful group of people I am sharing this experience with. The financial upgrade is nice. It’s been all around pleasant! The only difference I really feel from before is the comfort of job security. There’s this huge weight off, knowing I have consistent money coming in, and I get to continue to explore a character I love. I don’t feel desperate for work, which has been my constant state of being for the past five years. It’s quite nice, and I do not take it for granted.
[Daley Review] – Can you tell us about Allison, your character?
[JSB] – Allison is an intelligent public defender who comes from a life of privilege. Her family are wealthy intellectuals, so she feels like the odd one out pursuing a life in public service. She lives in her parent’s upper east side apartment with her best friend who is also a public defender, Sandra Bell (Britt Robertson), and they are the real deal best friends. When we meet Allison, she is in a relationship with a prosecutor, but they immediately break up after a work conflict is brought home. As Allison develops over the first season, she is forced to face her privilege and work even harder to prove she is worthy to represent her clients.
[Daley Review] – Mid-season shows like For the People can sometimes struggle to find an audience. What would you say makes your show special?
[JSB] – First and foremost, the cast. This is a group of half well known, respected actors, and half largely unknown actors who are firing on all cylinders and absolutely hilarious. Every person brings a unique perspective, and the chemistry is wonderful. Second, the perspective of the show is unique. Generally speaking, law shows focus on either the prosecution or the defense. We focus on both, allowing viewers insight into both sides at once. It’s enlightening and inspiring.
[Daley Review] – The show just got renewed! How excited are you for season 2?
[JSB] – I am SO excited! I can’t tell you how much I love this show. Our cast, crew, writers, producers, directors are the most wonderful lovely people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. They make waking up at 4:00 am something I don’t dread. I absolutely love showing up for work. I love my character, I love the writing, we shoot on my favorite lot in Los Angeles…. working on For The People is a dream and shooting season 2 cannot begin soon enough!
[Daley Review] – When the show was on, many fans thought Virgil was a serial molester and that he hurt both John and Erika in some way. Did Virgil hurt Evie? Did Damon ever explain why such a morally repugnant figure would end up being a guide to the other world?
[JSB] – If he explained that to anyone he did not explain it to me… but as I’m sure you all know, Damon doesn’t like to explain things! I have my own theories about what happened, but I don’t want to share them because they may be incorrect (is there a correct or incorrect within this world?), and I’d rather let Damon answer that if he’s ever willing to.
[Daley Review] – Do you know what motivated Evie to join the Guilty Remnant? Was it more how things were going with her family, or was it just the state of the world?
[JSB] – I think both. Evie hated the hypocrisy of her town, and the secrets in her family. It filled her with a rage she wasn’t equipped to process. Combine that with the angst and loneliness of being a teenager, she was perfectly vulnerable when she met Meg. Meg validated her and allowed her to feel understood and seen, perhaps for the first time, and she gave Evie a purpose. I think Evie really wanted to make a statement, she wanted to wake people up, and Meg/The GR gave her a way to do that.
[Daley Review] – Were you aware of your character’s arc and how it would end when she started filming? (the person that authored this question would like to let you know that Evie was fascinating and surprising and to thank you for your brave portrayal of Evie. Excellent acting.)
[JSB] – Oh wow! Thank you so much. 🙂 I deeply love Evie, and felt very connected to her from the start. I was not aware of her arc. I knew nothing. All I knew was what happened in the first episode. But I felt her darkness. I knew there was something more going on, and I knew she was in pain. I remained open to that and allowed her to speak to me and it all just unfolded quite nicely!
[Daley Review] – Did you ever feel like the work put into The Leftovers was overlooked, either by audiences or critics? You, for instance, played four characters (“normal” Evie, GR Evie, not-Evie in Australia, other place Evie). I’m no actor, but that sounds like a lot of prep work.
[JSB] – Yes and no. Critics loved it, and they let that be known. The general public, however, seemed to not know it existed, or really care. Only one Emmy nomination in three years (for Ann Dowd, extremely well deserved), and hardly any popular recognition. It baffles my mind, because it is such a brilliantly written, acted, shot, scored and directed show. But, that just proves it’s brilliance. The Wire only received two Emmy nominations in all of it’s seasons. So, we’re in good company.
[Daley Review] – Was the cricket real?
[JSB] – I hate to say I do not remember… I doubt it. It was probably created by our phenomenal props department. They were so detailed and creative, it was truly inspiring!
[Daley Review] – Do you play softball in real life? It seemed like you had quite an arm!
[JSB] – NO! I actually lied and said I played softball to help me book the role. And then panicked. Fortunately, HBO provided me with a personal softball coach in Austin. If memory serves correctly, they scheduled 2 or 3 lessons for me… but I ended up doing many more. I did not want to look stupid, and Evie, Damon and Tom deserved for the pitch to be excellent. I gave it my all. I was quite proud with how that scene turned out! The second it ended though, I forgot everything I learned.
[Daley Review] – Do you ever want to put out an album? Your work on the show proved you must like to sing.
[JSB] – I do! I’ve been working on one off and on for awhile now, but other good things keep getting in the way! Eventually, I will put out an album.
[Daley Review] – Do you have any upcoming shows with any of the other cast of The Leftovers!?
[JSB] – Not at the moment. 🙁 I do, however, work with Olivia Sandoval on For The People, and she worked with Carrie Coon on Fargo! Small world!
[Daley Review] – If you had a choice of who from TLO to work with next, with who would that be?
[JSB] – Ann Dowd. I kiss the ground she walks on. She is a phenomenal actress as we all know, and she is an even more phenomenal person. I love spending time with her, and I would be thrilled to work with her and learn from her again.
[Daley Review] – If you could pick any role to play from TV or film, present or past…what would that be?
[JSB] – Oh my goodness I have no idea… that is so broad it stresses me out. I don’t do well with large menus either.
[Daley Review] – What projects or upcoming work do you have coming out that you would like people to know about?
[JSB] – It’s all still a secret!
Thanks Jasmin! It’s been fun!