The name Jessica Lucas may not be familiar to movie audiences yet, but rest assured with the imminent launch of Cloverfield (aka 01-18-08, aka that cool looking movie which had a trailer on Transformers), she's about to burst out huge. For the past number of years she's been working on TV, starting out in Canada on the CBC series Edgemont before graduating to Life As We Know It in its short lived run on ABC a couple of seasons back. In addition to that, she appeared alongside Amanda Bynes in She's the Man and as part of the ensemble cast in The Covenant.
Now fresh off a four episode arc on one of the biggest shows on TV, CSI, and with a lead role in Cloverfield, this Vancouver native is set to become the next big Hollywood name. Jessica recently took time out of her whirlwind promotional duties for Cloverfield to sit down and talk to me about what it was like to work on this top secret project, CSI, and her plans for the future.
Jessica Lucas: Hi.
Mark McLeod: Jessica, it's Mark McLeod with ShowbizMonkeys.com in Vancouver. How are you?
JL: I'm good. How are you?
MM: Not bad, I'd like to start by asking you about how you got the role in the film?
JL: I auditioned for it on tape with the casting director and I didn't hear anything for about six weeks. I put myself on tape and sent it in again and didn't hear anything for another 3 or 4 weeks, and I think they had overlooked my tape and I have no idea, but finally I got a call saying that JJ and Matt really wanted to see me, and they flew me down to L.A. I read with Mike Vogel, who plays my boyfriend, for about a good hour (and) then they told me right in the room that I got the role.
MM: Were you worried at all about the film when you weren't given the script, a character description, or much to go on?
JL: We all signed onto the movie not knowing anything about it. So yeah, as an actor that's always scary because you have absolutely no idea what you've agreed to do, but when you have someone like JJ Abrams, who's a mastermind behind all these great shows -- he doesn't do bad stuff -- you just have to trust that they know what they're doing, and I think you'd have to be an idiot not to do the movie.
MM: I know things are top secret, but what can you tell me about your character in the movie and her role in the overall scheme of things.
JL: I play Lily. She's part of this group of friends who are throwing this going away party for one of their friends who's going to Japan. She's sort of the caretaker of the group, a little bit bossy, a bit controlling, but she really cares about her friends and is very protective of them. She's dating Jason, the main character's brother. They've been together a really long time and don't have a typical movie relationship in that they fight and bicker, but they really, really love each other.
MM: The internet has played an especially important role in the marketing for the film, with all the videos and sub-sites adding to all the hype which really took off after the teaser on Transformers. How important do you think the internet is to the film?
JL: It's hugely important. We owe a lot to the people on the internet for talking and being so interested in getting our movie out there. The internet is definitely responsible for the buzz on the movie just as much as we are. Because no one's seen it, how do you get buzz out about something? The internet community has to do it and they've been very instrumental in how much our movie is talked about right now.
MM: Now on the same sort of subject, do you think the movie is going to stand on its own once people get a chance to see it, or that the hype might kill it like say Snakes on a Plane.
JL: I just saw the movie two or three weeks ago for the first time and I think it more than lives up to the hype. It's such a good movie and really stands on its own. We're always being compared to SoaP but our movie really delivers and it's so unique. You walk out of the movie feeling like you've never seen something like this and being a part of something brand new in the industry, and that's exciting.
MM: Given the obvious interest, has it been hard keeping things secret from your family and friends? I understand you had to sign a NDA. If you slip up is JJ going to transport you to the Lost island?
JL: Yeah, we've had to keep things secret, but it hasn't been hard because it's really fun to keep things secret. I like knowing that my family and my friends are going to go into the movie not knowing what's going to happen. You don't want to give away the whole plot before people go because then it's boring, and I think a lot of movies do that nowadays, and Cloverfield isn't like that. It just makes it that much more fun, exciting to watch, and pleasurable for the viewer because you don't know what's coming next.
MM: So was the punishment of breaking silence getting transported to the island in Lost?
JL: *laughs* Yeah, we did have to sign something. I don't think any of us have breached it yet so I'm not sure.
MM: No one has mysteriously disappeared yet then?
JL: No one from the cast is missing. We've all been really good. I don't want to test what would happen.
MM: Growing up, were you a fan of this type of movie, the monster movie? Do you have a favourite?
JL: You know what? I wasn't. I wouldn't say I'm a sci-fi person, I don't really watch sci-fi movies. I saw King Kong and really liked it, but I haven't seen Godzilla or I've heard a movie like The Host is similar to this one, but I haven't really seen any of them, so I can't really draw any comparisons.
MM: You recently did a four episode arc on CSI which looks to become more of a series regular-type role. How does that compare to your past work in TV, as of course CSI is one of the biggest, most successful TV shows out there.
JL: It's amazing. It was really fun to shoot. I was really intimidated when I got to set but Jorja (Fox) is so nice and took me under her wing and showed me the ropes. That show's been on for eight years, so it's a well-oiled machine I feel really lucky that I got that job and I don't know what's happening now because of the strike as far as the continuation of the role, but I would go back to the show in a heartbeat. I had a really good time on it.
MM: What's your dream project?
JL: Something in the musical realm. I'd love to do either a musical made into a movie or a straight musical on Broadway.
MM: Now we talked, of course, a bit about CSI. Other than that, what do you have coming up after Cloverfield?
JL: I have a movie coming out in April called Amusement. It's a story about 3 girls who are being stalked by a boy from their childhood, and it's three separate stories that all get interwoven. That's it for right now. Because of the strike, I'm not really working on anything.
MM: Obviously with a movie like this that's had all the viral marketing from the get go, is that sort of thing going to continue on to the DVD?
JL: I think they are going to do quite a bit of stuff for the DVD like behind the scenes and so forth. They had a camera crew there on the set all the time, pretty much every day. You'll probably get a lot of talks about the visual effects, the hype, the ideas of it, what it was like to make the movie. It should be a really great DVD.
MM: Excellent. Well I'm really looking forward to the film and best of luck with it and with CSI and everything after the strike. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me this morning.
JL: You're welcome. Thank you.
Cloverfield stomps its way into theatres this Friday, 01-18-08, from Paramount Pictures.
Mark McLeod has always loved film. In addition to his roles with ShowbizMonkeys.com, Mark also works on many film promotion projects in Vancouver, BC, through his company, Mark McLeod PR.