1 pointJulia: [smiles for the camera] "Hello, everyone. The next in our cast interview series is the 'will-they/won't-they power couple of Weirder Stuff. One is an irreverent, thrillseeking teenage troublemaker...the other an intrepid reporter in-training. One of the big surprises this season was how, despite getting on each other's nerves so much, they seem to be looking to forge some kind of relationship together. I am of course speaking of Cassandra Allen, and Devin Jauntson." [turns in her chair to face to the side as the camera pans over to show the two actors sitting next to one another on a pair of canvas seats] Cassandra: [grinning excitedly] "Hi, Julia! Thanks for doing this for the show, and the viewers and...and everyone! Mwah!" [she blows a kiss to the camera] "I'm Cassandra, and I play the character of Cassandra Allen on Weirder Stuff." [looks over at Devin's actor](edited) Devin: [waves] "Heyo, everyone. Thanks for taking time Julie, these meet and greets have been awesome. I am Devin Jauntsen and I play, well, myself. [laughs, looks to Ellen] When did we become a power couple? I thought we were still in the plucky comic relief zone." Cassandra: "We can be the plucky power comic relief couple!" [holds up a finger] "Not that I'm confirming we're a couple. That would be spoiling. After the lectures Autumn gets, I am not stepping in that puddle." Devin: [Laughs] "Nope. She needs constant supervision." Julia: [nods, smiling.] "Oh, we've all heard she is a handful. So, out of curiosity, how does the couples thing work? How does the show determine who 'hooks up' with who? Writers? Producers? Do you have any say in it?" Cassandra: [shrugs] "The director and writers seem like they're open to comments, but we're not really on that team, you know? Like, mostly we can say something like, 'I think my character would say this instead of that' or that kind of thing. Not so much 'I think I should fall in love with someone else.' Because that would change the whole story." Cassandra: [laughs] "Which is just fine with me, by the way! These guys are WAY better at writing that kind of thing than I am!" Devin: [nods] "There's a lot of meetings about the story, too. We get a lot of say, but ultimately it boils down to what's best for the story. Like, the Cassy/Devin has on the fanbase's mind since that first night they held hands running for their lives... but even we shrugged and thought 'eh, these two really don't have a lot in common, there needs to be more story', so it was added as more of a writing tool and we've flirted and joked since to build that rapport. Now, the fanbase is going nuts and we're not telling." [grins as he looks to the camera] Cassandra: [nods] "Like, right from the start it was them, on that first night when everything went crazy, you know? When the monster shows up and that air force guy...they sort of dived into that swimming pool together, even more than with the others in the team." Julia: "As actors, do you have any kind of emotional investment in this fictional relationship? Independently of the fan response? Is this something you're pulling for?" Devin: "Wow. Breaking out the big guns. Um, I would say yes. I mean, we really have a lot of fun and we really get into the emotion and the ups and downs of these teenagers' lives. There are a few episodes that I was so invested in that sometimes I felt like I knew the characters more than the actors. We were just delivering the emotion, you know? So, to finally have Cass and Devin out in the spotlight it feels good. These two are the characters who really have the potential to get themselves into trouble with a lot bickering. Could be funny." Cassandra: [lifts a thumbs up] "I am a total fan of the direction this show is going right now, including and especially Cass and Dev. They are super cute." Devin: [shrugs, looking innocently] "Plus, let's face it, no woman escapes Devin. They all want him, it's just a matter of time." Julia: [lughs] "He does have that certain measure confidence, doesn't he? How alike are you to the persona you play? How much of yourself is into making the character and the show work?" Cassandra: [laughs] "Devin, you go first on this one." Devin: "What? Why me? [Laughs] Uh, I honestly am not a whole lot like Devin. I am a gymnast, but that's about it. Devin is very anti-nerd has no filters or shyness to him. Me? I'm big into a few nerdy things, like my Star Wars and MCU. I just love special effects, which is what pulled me to this project. I was actually embarrassed that scene where Cass touched Devin's chest... it tickled and her hand was really cold. I'm more mellow and reserved, like my sister. To be honest, I don't think I could put up with a guy like Devin for very long, but that's the appeal of the trope." Cassandra: [nods] "I'm very different too. I could never do the kind of things Cassandra in the show does. I freak out very easily. That whole thing where she and Autumn go into the town hall?" [shakes head] "Nope. Uh uh. I'd take, like one look at it and move right out of town. I mean, no joke, that whole scene took forever because I had to calm down between half the takes, and I knew it was just a story." Devin: "We loved filming that day, watching those two be creeped out by a scene we all knew was fake was a serious hat tip to the effects people." Julia: "That's a good segue. How does the cast of this show get along behind the scenes? You clearly know how to work together, but you're also playing a bunch of teenagers. Is there any real life teenage drama that goes on?" Cassandra: "I mean...it's not high school or anything. We're a pretty tight crew, we're all friends. Even the people you don't see every episode, we all see each other basically every day. The only real drama is what we put in front of the cameras." Devin: [nods] "True. I mean we all have our quirks, like if Jason breaks character it takes him an hour to get back in the game, which is frustrating, but then again, they all put up with my pranks and gags and Autumn and me trying to make them laugh during their scenes, so fair is fair." Julia: "Devin I spoke with your sister and she said you presented her with the project and she fell in love with it. How did the you and Cass get involved with this?" Devin: "Uh, well, I got a tip from a friend who said this project was coming up, and I had the opportunity to see a few highlights of the proposal and it seemed so... wonky. The sci-fi/horror/super heroes aspects of the show really appealed to me, and I just had to see those special effects, y'know? Originally I wanted the role of Bannon, because my sister and I are always cast as the well-off teens or popular kids, but after Mari and I got the call Eric (Kripke) was like: 'dude, we have the perfect power set for you, you're going to love it'. And I do. Cassandra: "As for me, this is my first big role." [grins eagerly] "I got into theater in high school, and decided to really push myself with it when I went to college, so I didn't just take courses...I did community theater too. One of my friends wound up being involved in the production and he gave me a tip about the auditions being planned." [shrugs] "There was a lot of luck involved, but in the end, the director and producer really liked what I did, and here I am." Julia: "Devin, you said you wanted the role of Jason Bannon. Are there any other roles in the show you might have been interested in? What about you, Cassandra?" Cassandra: [shyly] "I knew who I wanted to be from the start. Just reading like...the first cold read lines they gave us for the audition. I just sort of locked on." Devin: "Cade, actually is the role they considered for me. Jock, bit a sweetheart, big and lovable. When they merged mine and Marissa's role's into the twins, they selected me as the Devin character who was the loudmouthed opposite to Marissa's mean girl." Julia: "So, all this energy on the set and all the shenanigans. Give the viewers a couple of examples awkward blooper that have occurred, either between you two, or another cast member. My Twitter feed has been blowing up with that one." [grins] Cassandra: [buries her face] "Oh god." Devin: [laughs, looking at Cass] "This I gotta hear." Cassandra: "Okay." [looks up, very redfaced] "This is going to get me into trouble, so I hope you and everyone appreciates this." [she laughs nervously] "So, as I said I came here from community theater, and there things could be kind of...rowdy. Like, it was really common to play tricks on each other, and I didn't really get right away that those aren't always as appropriate here? Anyway, there was originally a shot in the town hall scene where Autumn has to reach into a hole in the wall because we saw something in there. She was supposed to pull out an old, wrecked teddy bear, but I swapped it with..." [somehow turns even redder] "A...different item. Between takes." Cassandra: [laughs again] "So she is expecting to see a teddy bear, and instead she pulls out this...thing for ladies? Can I say it?" [looks offscreen] Julia: [laughs] "A dildo?" Cassandra: [covers mouth again and nods] "The funniest part was that she didn't really know what it was at first, so she FREAKED OUT for real, thinking it was a snake or something. I had to go apologize to her, and then we spent another ten minutes laughing until we cried, and every time we tried to do the scene we couldn't keep a straight face. So they had to just cut the scene completely." Devin: "Cass and Autumn really do not need to be in the same room together. They're always plotting and scheming. So, when Devin takes Laurie on the trip and he is trying to coax her into swimming out to the boat, the scene sort of ends. Well it's assumed he eventually talks her into just jumping and letting go of some of her fears... but we weren't supposed to jump." Cassandra: [thumbs to Devin] "But genius here..." Devin: [laughs] "I'm getting to that. So, I though we were supposed to actually jump... so I did, and everyone just freaks the hells out. It was quite the drop, but thought I was supposed to go first... turns out I was wrong and we had the whole EMS situation happening. I was fine. No injuries, but sure scared the hell out of everyone. Also, I ad-lib, a lot." Cassandra: "By a lot, he means makes the scrip us as he goes." Devin: "I works! I think we ran the total... almost 89% of all my made up lines have made it in so far. Because I forget my lines. Also a lot." Cassandra: "Because you miss rehearsals!" [playfully shoves his arm] Devin: "I wouldn't say I miss them." [laughs] Julia: "Okay now, here's a question I know a lot of people are interested in, including myself. Devin and Cassandra, you say you're very different from your television personas. What kind of real experiences do you draw from the most to create these characters? Where do you find them inside yourselves and how do you bring them to life?" Cassandra: "For me, it's mostly just sort of...fantasy I guess? Even when I was little, I always used to, you know, play make believe and stuff about being an explorer or adventurer or whatnot. Like I was super into Raiders of the Lost Ark. Partly because my dad was, but after awhile I liked it because of this...idea it had. One person, basically on their own, trying to solve a mystery on one hand and stay alive on the other. So now, even though I have a clearer idea of how dangerous that kind of thing would be, there's still that place way down deep that remembers what I felt. That's what I draw from. On the show I can be sort of...girl Indiana Jones. I love it." Devin: "My sister and me grew up Disney, so acting is something we're used to, however, this experience has been completely different, since it is the fist non-Disney production we've done. I pull that from my people out here with me. In that scene, after the giggles and bad takes, you get the one perfect scene, I can feel that moment. Jason doesn't let you act, he comes at you in a scene and you have to be prepared. Cass is always smiling and you get a serious feel for how up beat and plucky she's trying to be while hiding pain... I can empathize and sympathize with everything my fellow stars are throwing at me. I will say that Autumn is a little more difficult because of that control she has on her accent. One second it's all WS Autumn and then the scene cuts and she yammers away in the thickest Aussie accent I've ever heard... she destroys us." Julia: [laughs] "I have to get her in one of these chairs! She seems great. So this whole thing seems to be an epic project, there's no telling where your roles will take you, but we've all seen it before in cinema, someone has to go evil at some point. Chip in the head, possessed by a demon, From Willow to Supergirl, everyone gets their time to play the villain. Who do you think it will be, and if not you, why?" Cassandra: "For Cassie, the only thing I think that might get her to turn on her friends might be her dad. We find out partway through the season that..." [air quotes] "...rumors of his death and so on, might not be all they're cracked up to be. So that's a big point of leverage over her, potentially. I think an experience like that would be literally the worst thing in the world for her though. I'm actually a little afraid just thinking about trying to act that." Devin: "See, I love that though about this show, the Fellowship are not all besties, and they all have a slew of their own problems. The alliance is flimsy, at best, and something like Cass's father could easily pull her and possibly another member two in opposite directions with the others. They're the good, guys, sure, but like Marissa would say: 'never confuse good, for nice'. I see any number of things tearing Devin off onto his own thing, but evil? Aside from mind control, I just don't see Devin as having the heart for evil. Even as a bully he just picked on people and he's carrying the guilt a long way. As for who would turn? My money is on Marissa, that girl is shiesty." Cassandra: "I'm actually kind of jealous of Marissa...the actress, I mean. This script is really sticking it to her character, but she's giving her performance so much heart that even when she's at her worst, I still love her. It's just incredible." Devin: "Season 2... the Cassandra/Marissa team up episode... sugar and spice. I'd totally write it in." Julia: [laughs] "You say you don't share much with your onscreen character, but I can definitely see some resemblance. Now Devin, you mentioned your background at Disney and I can't help but wonder...how does this experience, making a show that covers some very dark and gritty ground, compare with what you were doing for the Mouse?" Devin: "Ah, it's been a completely different experience. Marissa and me grew up doing a bit more wholesome programming, but when this opportunity hit, I mean, we're nineteen now, we can't be at Disney forever. We honestly took a risk on this show, we carried a few fans with us and others didn't want to make the journey, but if Marissa and Autumn's social media accounts are any indication, the fan base is blowing up for this show, and for that I'm glad. This is why I got into this line of work, to entertain. I'm glad that we're doing that for so many." Julia: [nodding] "The popularity of the show took a lot of people off-guard. Now I have to ask...even in just the first season we've seen that the writers aren't afraid to use a character's death to drive home the 'horror' aspect of the narrative. Do any of you know which episode on the show will be your last?" Cassandra: "Oof, I know I don't. But you know, even the cast doesn't always see the biggest twists coming way in advance. Annnnnnnnd even if they did..." [smiles] "Spoilers..." Julia: "All right all right, spoilers aside...Are there any plot twists from the current season that came out of left field and you didn't expect?" Devin: "I thought Marissa and Charlie were going to be a hook up. Nerdy drama kid with the mean girl... I was voting for that one, but it just didn't float, I guess." Cassandra: [nods] "That, and I'm still kind of shocked over what happened to Charlie and Sophia. It's kind of like...we knew the stakes were high, and the bad guys meant business...but he's one of us. The knights in shining armor aren't supposed to have that kind of thing happen to them." Julia: "I felt that way myself, and from the comments and social media reactions, so did a lot of people. As long as we're on the subject though, out of all of these scenes, what was the most difficult for you to film this season?" Devin: [laughs] "Uh, me and Avalon. That was my first intimate scene that wasn't just a kiss... so, yeah. In between takes I was all 'that okay', 'everything okay', 'do I need to change it up'? She was awesome though, we kept making jokes and keeping it light, so it made the experience easier. Still though, I mean, she's a co-worker, and even as an actor, it always feels weird kissing or faking-out with a co-worker. It's still a stranger, you know?" Cassandra [nods] "I'm still really nervous about that too. Anyway, for me? It may sound kind of trivial, but the scenes where Cass fights with her mom are really hard for me, because that is so not my relationship with my parents. I can barely imagine talking to them like that, or just...being that angry at them. It legit made me feel really uncomfortable. I mean, there's been scary scenes...and sometimes acting with the CGI is hard...but the most difficult was just lipping off with mom." [smiles] Fortunately, Teresa is super cool between takes." Julia: [smiles understandingly] "Going the other way then...what was your favorite scene to do so far?" Devin: "The Devin/Jason spar. Jason is a solid method actor, but we were having the time of our lives being hooked to the wires all day. Also, any scene where all of us are in it, like Bunees or school. Get us all together and the you can see the chemistry. We really all rock together." Cassandra: [thoughtfully] "Yeah...for me, it's down to that whole sequence at Jase's place, or the camping trip, or the town hall. And as much as I love the whole cast together, I'm going to have to go with the town hall. When we got to the room that had the big, you know, the..." [gestures upward threatningly] "...the picture? And we found all the stuff the previous victims left behind... Me and Autumn were just so inside that moment. It really kind of summed up what the character of Cassandra is to me, and kind of what this show is to me too." Julia: "Thanks, both of you, for joining me here and giving everyone a tantalizing glimpse of the people behind this phenomenon called Weirder Stuff. Do either of you have anything else you want to tell your fans before we're done?" Cassandra: [puts hands over heart] "Just that I've been completely blown away by how...just how positive the fandoms and communities growing up around the show have been, towards us, towards the writers and directors and the characters. They've all been really patient with me, social media noob, and encouraging...and that's made a huge difference for me. Thanks to everyone for making me feel welcome like that." Devin: [Gestures to Cassandra] "I mean, that. We're certainly having a lot of fun doing this but it's all the fans that make it worth while, so yeah, we love you guys and keep doing what you do so we can keep delivering what we do." Julia: "Speaking as a fan myself, we love you too and definitely keep it up. Thanks for taking this time to talk." Cassandra: "Thanks, Julia!" Devin: [waves and smiles to everyone out in DVD Extras land]
1 pointInto The Eye Of The Monster Article from ‘Empire’ magazine. an interview with Jason Bannon, By Roger Jurgen: ‘Weirder Stuff’, in the beginning attacked by its critics for being “yet another teen supernatural drama”, has beaten the odds and risen above the competition - and how! The direction, writing and most of all the young actors who comprise the show’s central cast have, in the first season, shown the critics that they were wrong to dismiss the strong pool of talent that the show’s producers assembled. It boldly tackles issues from sexual assault to teen drug use to the simple difficulties of coming of age, set against a backdrop of a world that is just like ours - only a lot weirder. I recently got to sit down and interview the show’s resident bad boy, at least on-screen. Genius, high-functioning psychopath - the character of Jase Bannon is the wild card of the Fellowship. Potential anti-hero or fledgling monster, one thing the fans can’t do is not discuss him. The actor who plays him is similarly a subject of much discussion. Described in the past as ‘enormously talented’ and ‘a prodigy’, he has made his mark playing roles that test both actor and viewer psychologically, making us ask moral and ethical questions about ourselves and the world around us and, on several occasions, giving us a good scare. It is a blustery Montana day when I am driven up to the near-iconic ‘Bannon House, an actual farmhouse standing at the summit of a gentle hill that overlooks the surrounding area. Picked for it’s isolated appearance, it radiates - not loneliness, but apartness - an air of self-containment that asks nothing and takes courage to approach, much as does the fictional character that lives within. Much as does the actor himself. Jason Bannon, in person, is perhaps not as daunting as his fictional namesake, and for obvious reasons, but as a method actor (he lives in the Bannon house even when not filming, and rumor has it he is thinking of buying the place) I am struck by the pale gaze that measures me unwaveringly, giving me his full attention without any sign of either friendliness or hostility. His handshake is as one might expect from the character too - brief, polite but unlingering: a clasp, two shakes and then done, as if lifted directly from a book on ‘How to Greet People’. I find myself moving very deliberately and choosing my words with care, my awareness of the character coloring my interpretation of the actor’s expressions and words. I have to remind myself that ‘Jase Bannon’, the telekinetic who can crush a car with his mind, is not real. We sip coffee in the lounge of the farmhouse, the shelves piled with books which, my host assures me, he does read in his spare time though not, he admits, with the speed or voraciousness of his character. As he admits this he smiles, a touch of warmth enters his expression and I get the sense that, at least in part, his mask is being set aside for me, as a professional courtesy. I find I am now able to relax, that the monster is not actually in the room. By common consent, we use the name ‘Jase’ when speaking about the character, to avoid confusion. Roger: Now, you’re the cast member that’s most private, but what fans do know about you is that you don’t break character so long as you are in a given role. And yet you’re giving an interview? Jason: Yes. Roger: How does that work, exactly? Jason: Well, obviously I am not a super-powered alien genius. Nor am I an actual psychopath. What I do is maintain the- framework, let us call it. Jase’s speech patterns, his way of perceiving the world, how he thinks and reacts. It is an entire persona, carefully constructed over readings, rehearsals, and many many discussions about the character with the writers, the director, and even my co-stars. I don’t retreat into my memory palace between takes, or go and tend my flower garden - because those are things Jase can do that I cannot. Likewise, I’m not hard-wired to be fearless and find violence easy - but Jase is. When wearing his persona, I can immerse myself in that without feeling the need to act on it. I try to interact with the world through that filter. Roger: You’ve a history of playing roles which some would describe as simultaneously troubled and troubling, both on stage and film. Was that what drew you to accept this role? Jason: Definitely a large part of it. I find the character to be simultaneously complex and yet simple. He’s not insane, or a compulsive personality, or irrational. Every action he takes has at least three, and usually more reasons for him to do it. He rarely if ever acts without thinking, but his pattern of thought is… well, alien. That forms the basis for a large part of his personal conflicts with others. Roger: Such as Devin. Some describe the ‘frenemy’ relationship between your character and that of Devin to be similar to that of Professor Xavier and Magneto. Friends who nevertheless cannot agree on certain central positions, who will clash over those. What do you think? Jason: Devin has a strong moral base underlying his exterior. He’s the Hero, in the classic sense. Flawed, certainly, but he knows he can and should be better. Jase is the anti-hero - he’s on the good guys side, but he isn’t moral and doesn’t have a conscience as we understand it. Devin, in stepping up to lead, has had to point out to Jase that he needs to think through the consequences of his actions on the emotional wellbeing of the others, not just their physical safety. Their contrast is an interesting one to play out. In the future, they might become like Professor X and Magneto - or they could be like Kirk and Spock. They’re teens, at a crossroads, and it could go either way. Roger: Do you get along off-screen? Jason: Yeah, we do. He’s a lot of fun - serious about working on the show, unafraid to goof around a bit between takes. Him and Cassie are always trying to get me to crack. Especially Cassie. I think she takes it as a personal challenge. Roger: Do you ever goof around? Play pranks back? Jason: (smiling) I don’t not goof around. I feel I have to maintain character to a degree, though. I believe that acting always betrays truth - Jase is supposed to be somewhat aloof, unreachable in an everyday sense. He has a sense of humor, but it is wry and understated and not-quite human. And the others are never sure where the line is with him - they can be pretty sure he won’t hurt them, but they don’t know what does and doesn’t offend him or get under his skin. I try to keep the chemistry similar to how the Fellowship are with me on-screen. Roger: Chemistry, yes. Jase has been described as somewhat of a dark horse romantic character. You have never played a role with a romantic side before - was that a challenge? Jason: It was at first, for sure. (chuckling) I initially questioned the veracity of someone so cold and detached even being able to express passion. The writers took me through their process, describing the subtle but defined differences between a regular psychopath and what Jase is. It took me a long time to balance his inner landscape, to get the persona correct. I think the results speak for themselves, though. Roger: They do, yes. Apparently you’re trending on all manner of social media platforms and the character has made several top ten lists in young adult media. Jason: I didn’t know. Jase doesn’t usually haunt social media, so nor do I. Roger: You sound surprised. Jason: I am! Devin is the Kirk character. (He laughs.) Hmm. But it actually makes a certain amount of sense. The character provokes emotions - there are well-documented links between the thrill of fear, a sense of danger, and fascination. Who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to pet the tiger when it isn’t acting in a threatening manner? Even when it seems at peace it’s still a tiger. Still deadly. It just has no reason to harm you right now. Roger: So is that how you see Jase? A tiger? Jason: (nodding) Sort of, yes. A big cat in a human suit, an apex predator by wiring, smarter than pretty much everyone around him and with a boundless capacity for violence. Morals or social pressures have limited sway on him, especially if they come from outside his chosen circle. Hmm, perhaps a lion would be a better description. More in-group oriented. He ‘cares’ - in his way - about those he chooses as friends. Roger: ‘Boundless capacity for violence’? Jason: Capacity, not necessarily inclination. The human psyche has a limit to how much stress, violence and fear it can endure. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ the limit gets reached, it’s a matter of ‘when’. Psychopaths - and by extension Teulu: as a fictional near-human race designed for war - do not have that limit. This is why you will find psychopaths doing well in high-stress, high-danger fields. Special operations soldiers, firefighters, police officers, surgeons, and of course career criminals… The stress and trauma of their job doesn’t touch them and they are able to perform as they need to. I chose to do a lot of reading on the phenomena when I undertook this role: it’s a fascinating field of study. Anyway, back to your original question - I think it is that sense of contained danger that gives Jase his allure. I can’t take all the credit for that. The writing team do an absolutely brilliant job for all the characters - it’s like putting on a suit that is perfectly tailored. And of course, the cast all have excellent chemistry with each other. We fall very naturally into the roles of misfit friends. Roger: And, of course, chemistry is Jase’s special area of knowledge. Now there’s been some romantic subplots between your character and a couple of the ladies on the show. Where do you see that heading? Jason: No spoilers, but I can say keep watching. There’s bound to be twists and turns, and nothing is certain - even the cast and writers aren’t sure where things are going sometimes. When you’re working with talented writers and actors there’s a lot of improvisation and inspiration, especially when they’re heavily engaged and interested. So many times you’ll get Devin improvising some banter - he’s really good at that - and the director will just be like ‘Hey, that’s good, I’ll allow it’. And the personal chemistry between the cast will influence things too - sometimes the writers like to work with that to give the work more ‘punch’. Roger: So your chemistry with Marissa and Autumn in the show - is that similar to off-screen? Jason: No comment. (he laughs) Seriously, they are both great actresses: enormously talented and each brings a great deal of vibrant life to their part. In person they’re lovely people - not at all diva-like and very down to earth. Marissa is a sweetheart, and Autumn is passionate - very much present in every moment, whether on or off-screen. She’s perfect for her role, really. I do have to give kudos to Marissa though: she is very unlike her character in some key ways, and watching her go all ‘Evil Queen’ when the cameras are rolling is inspiring. Roger: And your other co-stars? How do you get along with them? Jason: We get along well. Or at least, I like to think so. They’re all very good to work with - good work ethic, minimal drama and screaming even on bad days. And as people, they’re pretty chill and fun. Like our characters, we are very different people thrown together to be part of something greater, so the dynamic works very well. Roger: What’s next for Jase, do you think? Jason: Jase is like every member of the Fellowship - potentiality. The only way to find out what comes next is to travel along the road. Roger: And for yourself? Jason: (He smiles) Same answer.
1 pointHello everyone, Julia Hernandez here with an E! Exclusive. Try and imagine it. Shelby Montana, which you might know as 'Shelly' Montana from the hit Nutflix show Weirder Stuff. [images of Montana's scenery and natural beauty] Rolling hills, mountain peaks, and some of the cleanest air you would ever breathe. In the immortal words of one Agent Coulson, 'it's a magical place' with friendly people and few, if any of the common luxuries you or me might be used to in our everyday life. The local grocery store is only ten aisles and has five lanes and no self checkout (can you imagine?). Great Falls is, in fact, an hour and twenty seven minutes away and is the closest the people of Shelby are to an outlet mall. So, unless you're speeding down the interstate at ninety miles per hour like Devin Jauntsen, or cranking up the old Charger and revving it up to top speeds like Jason Bannon, chances are you are an hour and a half from anything you or I would consider 'civilization'. So, how do they do it? How do the cast and crew of Weirder Stuff cope with the long months of filming in cramped hotel rooms and are they ready to kill each other yet? Great news, because I managed to secure an exclusive interview with one of the stars of the show, Marissa Jauntsen! [Waves with both hands and a big smile] Marissa: “Hey there, Superfans!” [laughs] Julia: “Thank you so much for inviting us along on this trip, wow. First, let me say that you guys are insane on this show! How did you get involved in all of this? Marissa: [laughs] “Right!? Oh, wow... um, well it was my brother who actually approached me with the script and asked me to read it. I fell in love with the insanity but I honestly didn't know about being able to play a mean girl. Also, the rich mean girl and the extreme sports, edgy sarcasm guy, were not siblings, originally. The further into weeds I got into the project the more I realized how 'adult' the themes were. Sex, violence, betrayal, conspiracies, bigotry, teen angst... I mean the writers were really pushing the envelope and I was totally in love with it at that point.” Julia: [nods] “So, you weren't scripted as siblings, you and your brother? How did that end up happening?” Marissa: “Well, Devin and I are real life twins, so when we auditioned and read our lines we did it together but as non-siblings. Essentially we shared a scene where Devin and Marissa were supposed to argue. [rolls her eyes and laughs] So, about half way through, Joss (Whedon) stopped us. We'd worked with him on the Marvel MCU stuff and The Mandalorian. We asked to be extras since our studios were next door for some of the shooting and Joss was totally cool with it since my brother is a total Star Wars nerd. [laughs] So, he stops us and asks us to read the same lines... but argue with each other on everything the other is saying. So, we did, and as siblings if there's one thing we could do it's argue. Later we got the call that we would be cast as siblings, which we're used to.” Julia: “Does that ever bother you? You and your brother always getting cast as siblings?” Marissa: “Oh, god no. It works great and like Eric (Kripke) said: 'when I want to do an evil twin scenario where one pushes the other down an elevator shaft, we have authentic twins. Nobody's got that!' It's outside the box thinking like that that really makes Weirder Stuff unique.” [giggles] Julia: “What are the other cast members like to work with?” Marissa: [sighs and rolls eyes] “Woah, wow, we are a hot mess. It's always funny because what people get is the finished product, they don't see how many takes it took to get it right or the laughing or mangled lines or the tripping on set...[laughs]. I love these guys. On screen we never agree and are quite possibly always fighting about one thing or another. Off camera it really is all laughs and hugs.” Julia: [smiles] “Now, there are hints that Marissa is a closet super nerd. How big of a nerd are you?” Marissa: “So, here come the mean Tweets. [laughs] Um, zero. I am not a nerd. My brother is a massive Star Wars fan, and MCU fan. He's absorbed by anything involving special effects. Me on the other hand, I had never heard of Dungeons & Dragons until this project, which is an interesting story in and of itself.” Julia: [looks inquisitively] “Oh? Do tell.” [laughs] Marissa: [nods and chuckles to herself] “Okay. So, Sean, the super geek on the show, was in the same boat as me: neither of us were nerds. So, in order to get our parts right and be more legit, we hit up Amazon and ordered the core D&D books, right? We thought 'how hard could this game be', right? So, we double up in our hotel rooms while shooting, and it's me and Autumn and Courtney and Sean which is great because those two hate each other on the show and yet are roommates off camera.” “So, Court and Sean come by one evening so we can learn this game. Court and Autumn are doing their own things and Sean and I are lost within ten minutes. Courtney is going over a skin care routine with Autumn and let me tell you, she is our salvation when it comes to skin care. The woman is a genius. So, we're not 'getting it' which draws in their curiosity... and before you know it the four of us are figuring out Dungeons and Dragons in our hotel room and within the hour we've decided to make characters and play the starter adventure in the back of the book. Mind you, none of us know a thing about this game but we're all like: 'hey, we're actors, how hard can it be to pretend?' So my brother stops by, sees what's going on and runs off to tell the guys. And we're all trying to figure this game out together, because a few of the guys had heard of it, but never played.” “So that happens. Now, the next day, Eric and the writers find out about this mess and that's how Sean's table-top games got included in the show. It was originally scripted as a 'thing that was happening' where all the fans knew Sean was this gamer and he held a gaming session, none of the other Fellowship were supposed to be really in on it because it didn't make sense for a few of them to be gamers. Sean has even managed to do a few re-writes too where the gaming information wasn't accurate in the script, so she changed it to be more accurate for the fan base. See? We love you guys!” Julia: [looks expectantly] “So? Who was your character in this D&D game?” Marissa: [laughs, hiding her face in embarrassment] “Argh, I knew you were going to ask. Not was, [laughs] is. We are still playing that game. I have an elven Sorceress who is pretty much just like Marissa on WS. She is mean and manipulative and fairly evil. She has the hots for Jason's chemically dependent alchemist.” Julia: “Speaking of, is there any chemistry between you and Jason?” Marissa: “The fans put you up to this, didn't they? [laughs] Uh, wow, yeah, um, Jason is amazing. He's a method actor so he is always in character while on set. Usually with everyone else we discuss the scene and hash out the emotional state and tempo of everything and give it a go. Jason, always being in character means we're just ready to go. I can freak out and vent at him and he'll just look at me blankly like I need to get my act together and hide my crazy. Then we can do the scene with all the same things and he'll look at me blankly like I need to get my act together and hide my crazy. So it works out.” [laughs] Julia: “So, is the character of Marissa based on anyone real in your life, or that you've met? Where is the angst and vitriol inspired from?” Marissa: “Oh, so... yeah my mother is very much the inspiration for Marissa when she is in her 'go getter' mode and is out to get something and not letting anything stand in her way. Our family has always been very supportive of what Devin and I do, so I learned a lot about focus, drive and being awesome from her. A lot of the angst comes from being Devin's actual sister in real life. Those scenes where you see us together on the rooftop are pretty legit. We actually talk like that to each other and I don't know how many times we've both found a quiet place to sit and vent to one another throughout our lives. So a lot of those anger driven scenes are me thinking back to the times when my brother has peeved me to the point of losing my mind.” Julia: “Do you and Marissa have anything in common? Interest-wise, or behavior-wise or outlook-wise?” Marissa: “Yes, most certainly. I think there is a little part of us in all the roles we play, so Marissa's drive for success and secure future are certainly some things I can relate to. We are both shameless shoppers, I'm all about fashion and I can't believe how many outfits they've selected for Marissa that I've just fallen in love with.” Julia: “Are you concerned about setting a bad example for impressionable young women?” Marissa: “This show is so out there and the characters are so over the fence on crazy that I don't feel one, young women,or anyone for that matter, should be taking it seriously, at all, and two, I think people understand that we are tropes on that screen. Let's be real, the Jauntsen twins on WS are borderline sociopathic. [looks at camera] So, if anyone out there is using Marissa as an example on how to live their best life, please don't do the crazy stuff. It will end badly for you. Now, I do hope that young women take from Marissa that she is strong, confident and completely at peace in her skin. Sure, she has her own hang ups in the show, especially when it comes to her mother, but those are what make her human.” Julia: [smiling and laughing as she holds up a few index cards] “Okay, so, we've collected a series of questions from your fans and we'd like to take a shot at getting them some answers, what do you say?” Marissa: [hiding her face and laughing] “Oh my god. Okay... wow, let's uh, sure. Let's do this. Like my brother would say: come at me bro'.” Julia: [chuckles] “Okay, but you asked for it... [laughs]. So, @KrewlGurl56 asks: “you are the show’s queen of mean, but have there ever been scripted put-downs you just couldn’t deliver? Wow, that's actually a good one, I'm curious myself.” Marissa: [groans with a smirk] “Ugh, god yes! So, at the beginning of the season Marissa was in really deep with the other females in Shelly, there was a lot of hate going around and at one point Clara and Marissa shared a few choice words at the meet up where Lilly had to walk out or risk pulverizing our resident Queen Bee. Well, in that scene, I was scripted to call Clara a... well, a 'C' word and I just couldn't do it. I tried and we were all laughing at my attempts, especially Autumn who is Australian in case you didn't know, so it's a common word for her over there... and on set. So we managed to make something else fit and now Autumn does her best to prank me with that word as much as possible. It works, too.” Julia: “Yeah, definitely a different meaning here. I remember my first time to Europe, it totally caught me off guard too. [laughs] So, now we have @Numba1MariFan saying... You are awesome and my idol! Who do you look up to as an actor?” Marissa: “Aww! Thank you, so much. It still is so strange when people say they look up to me because I don't see myself as anything more than me, you know? So, Numba1MariFan, you just keep being you and be good to yourself and others, and we'll be awesome together. As for who I look up to as an actor? Oh, wow... There are just so many because as an actor I pick a little from so many performances that I end up admiring so many people. Um, if I had to totally pick one though, I'd have to say Gwyneth Paltrow? I, uh, met her briefly at the Iron Man 3 premier when I was twelve and oh-my-god, she completely blew me away. She was just so amazing and friendly and larger than life that I walked away feeling like I had just been in the shadow of a goddess. Also she once said: 'Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.' Boom. Girl totally nailed it. Mic drop. I'm a fan-girl for life.” Julie: “She is amazing, and so friendly, too. Switching it up @PrinceCharmless87 wants to play a game... so, Kiss, Marry, Kill with the WS cast, go.” Marissa: [laughs and appears embarrassed] “Oh my god! You guys are horrible! I love it. [laughs] Okay... so... let's see... Marry? I'd have to say Sheriff Alister. Ugh, that man is 'wow'. [points to camera, laughing] You can edit that out, right?” [Julia: “Oh, yeah. Yeah, totally, we'll edit it out.” [laughs]] “Kiss? Um... well, Marissa is kind of a sloot, so I have a feeling I'll be kissing a lot of people in the episodes to come, but... Autumn? [sheepishly looking to the camera] I totally think she'd be a great kisser. Kill. Ouch. Um, let's see... uh, Charlie? Too soon? [hides her face, laughing] Sorry! I don't know... that's so hard to answer!” Julia: [laughing] “Wow, ouch. Yeah, poor Charlie. Are we going to be seeing more of him?” Marissa: “Have to watch and see! No spoilers!” Julia: “Boo. [giggles] Okay, now @FashionedInIdaho says: Like, OMG, your style and clothes on Weirder Stuff are AMAAAZIIING! Classy, Sassy, and a teensy bit trashy. Do you - and the rest of the Cast - get any input in what you get to wear? And do you get to keep it after the season is over? That's a really good question, with all the trinkets and props do you have mementos?” Marissa: “Oh, that is a good one and the answer is: yes.. and no. So, we do get a lot of input into our outfits. Marissa was originally going to be a lot of black and mean which seemed too monochrome to me and certainly too 'Disney Villain'. So we set up more colors for her to wear but express her brand of villainy through always having something that is either black, or leather or a bit trashy, like her heeled boots. Because villains are always in black and wear leather, and the attractive females are usually fond of heels unless they're the bruiser type villains like Gina Carano's Angel Dust in Deadpool. So her leather jackets, or the tight pleather leggings she wears while mingling it with different, brighter colors, gives her the dichotomy of a villainess in transition. The maroon lip-stick too, thank you Gwyneth Paltrow! [laughs] Sadly, we do not get to keep the wardrobe. However, the bracelets that were recently discovered in the story... you can't see it, but each of us received one of those that is ours to keep, a gift from the producers, and on the inside there is an engraving, just for us that says something to remind of Season One.” Julia: “What does yours say?” Marissa: “Mine just has the 'C' word in quotation marks. [sucks her teeth] Yeah. Can't beat friends like these, let me tell you.” [nods, smiling] Julia: “I can imagine. Here's a good one, @RainbowProudBoy asks: Are you and Devin actually siblings/twins? You two have that perfect chemistry, I can only assume that you two must be related. Also, can you get me Devin's number? He's so hot.” Marissa: [buckles over with laughter] “Oh! Oh, I am so tempted to do it! [claps her hands laughing] Oh, wow. He'd kill me. Yes, though. We are actually siblings, twins even. He's older by a minute. A freaking minute! Everything you see Devin and me doing together on screen is taken a lot from our personal lives, like he rooftop talks the arguing, even us swearing at each other and the insults. All real insults we've used on one another. I generally don't swear except around him, because, brothers, right? No one pushes our buttons quite like family.” Julia: [raises a hand in solidarity] “I have a sister, I totally sympathize with you there. [laughs] @ABC123 asks: we haven't seen Sophia's body yet. By cinema rules, that means she - probably - isn't dead yet. Are we going to see her again this season?” Marissa: “Hey now, no spoilers! You'll just have to watch the season and see how it all wraps up.” Julia: “Aww, no fair. @LostInTheLight says: I'm an avid fan of this show and all the weirdness it's entailed so far. Are there any scenes that have been difficult for you to shoot?” Marissa: [laughs, nodding] “Oh yeah. The Cade/Marissa love making scene stands out. So, I'm five-eight and he is six-four. Have you noticed the set for his room includes a twin-sized bed? So, it was hilariously awkward getting that scene to work. After awhile Cade said: 'yeah, he would have just sprung for a hotel by now'. It's also a great example of how we've had to adapt to the scenes and situations. It was supposed to be more romantic with cuddling and clenching the sheets in orgasmic throes, but in a twin bed? Seriously? So, that's when he and I pitched that Marissa is not really the cuddle type. She'd be more assertive and it'd be easier if she was on the top and they didn't focus too much on the romance their fist time together.” Julia: “Is that why she left her boots on?” [smirks] Marissa: [laughs] “No. Fun fact: the zipper on the left boot got stuck and we couldn't get it unstuck, so... I wore those heels in that bed for almost nine hours until we got that scene right. Fun times.” Julia: “Ugh, I can't imagine. I feel for you. [laughs sympathetically] Are there any scenes that you or others just 'went with' after something or someone just went off script?” Marissa: “Oh, yeah, it's called 'everything so far'. [laughs] Um, so... we get a lot of leeway with the script and when we're doing scenes they let us use it as more of a guideline than something etched in stone. My brother is famous for ad libbing, usually with his quips and insults. All the monster names, like vagisaurus? All him. For example, when Devin and Cass see the monster in the forest that first time and he finally makes his first comment on it poor Cass couldn't stop laughing. As for me? The one scene that sticks out was when Jason and Marissa had, what has been dubbed, the 'DDR Incident'. Jason wasn't supposed to kiss me in that scene so the reaction you see from me is genuine, including that momentary pullback as my brain was like: what's he doing'? I think it made the scene more visceral and real. That anger you see in Marissa is anger I was able to channel from the notion of how angry I would be if some guy just kissed me like that. [looks to the camera] For the record, I'm not and never was actually mad at Jason. We're professionals and that move made sense for the characters, it made the scene really pop, and it's a great example of how taking a risk can really improve the work that you do. So no nasty-grams to Jason about personal space or patriarchal oppression,” Julia: “As we wrap this up, is there anything you'd like to say to the fans or hints you'd like to drop for Season 2?” Marissa: “Of course! I want all of our WS fans to know that we love them and appreciate all the social media feedback! We do listen and have a lot of creative freedom so who knows? Your ideas might get used! As for Season 2? Oh, gosh, see I don't want to spoil anything but I will say we have a ton of special guest stars showing up! Lots of actors from popular shows and movies that you are used to seeing as good guys... well, here on WS they are the bad or really, really, mean guys. The relationships and drama will only get better, or worse, depending on your point of view, so keep watching and submit your ideas and remember, we love you guys!” [Credits roll, Julia and Marissa sit in their chairs laughing and making idle chatter]