Mother nature will have a guest starring role on CRISIS!
“We experienced the entire polar vortex in all its glory,” star Stevie Lynn Jones recalls of filming the new NBC drama in Chicago — during the city’s worst winter in years.
Stevie, 18, plays Beth Ann Gibson, one of several dozen students from an elite Washington DC prep school who are kidnapped and held for ransom, prompting a national emergency.
The series is set near the nation’s capital — an area which generally does not receive a lot of snow.
“In later episodes you can see everyone’s breath,” Stevie tells me. “There is some snow on the ground. [Producers] actually spent a considerable amount of money removing the snow and ice around our mansion where we were held hostage. Because there wasn’t supposed to be 4 feet of snow in front of there!”
CRISIS also stars Gillian Anderson and Dermot Mulroney (as Beth Ann’s dad).
Stevie shared more about the show — and her journey into show business — when we caught up last week.
So this could be your big break…
Yeah, definitely. This is my first big thing. I did a pilot the previous year that didn’t go anywhere with Brett Ratner. Then I did a web series and some short films. But definitely nothing of this callibur. So that is exciting.
Can you share a bit of what happens to Beth Ann on her journey?
Well, she starts off very closed off from everyone else and doesn’t get along very well with any of the other teenagers. As the story goes on, she does have to open up a little bit because they are all going through the same thing and she realizes that she has things in common with a couple of the other students that she didn’t see before.
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One of the biggest story lines in the show has to do with Beth Ann’s relationship with her dad. She wants nothing to do with him — and isn’t aware that he is secretly working with the kidnappers.
Correct. At this point, she threw him out of her life and out of her heart when he turned his back on the family. And during this crisis, they grow a little bit closer and she starts to forgive him.
Even though he is really one of the bad guys…
Right, but [she doesn’t] know that. She just thinks he is going through this crisis and this kidnapping just as much as we are and getting pulled into the back room and interrogated by these people.
The kids all have to get released at some point so how do you have a season 2 if the big crisis is over?
You know what? I don’t know. They leave it open ended and available to continue a next season. I don’t know how they can do it, but Rand Ravich — the writer and creator — is pretty skilled. He can make something happen.
Did you screen test with Dermot Mulroney?
No. Actually, he was the last one cast. He was cast the Friday before we started shooting. He is a phenomenal actor and I think anyone would be privileged to work with him. He gives so much to the other actors in the scene.
Is your relationship with your real dad better than your relationship with your TV dad.
It definitely is.
Where is your family?
I grew up in Los Angeles. I lived here my whole life. My mom is an executive producer. She did clip shows for a really long time. Now she is doing live television. My dad was a camera man who owned his own equipment and would work for all the news outlets. He quit his job when I was in Kindergarten because I was being raised by the nanny. So he has been a stay at home husband. I am close and have a great relationship with them both. They are both kind of in the business, so they are supportive and understand what I am doing. But they are not on the theatrical side, so they don’t have those connections.
Growing up in LA and having parents in the business, did acting come naturally to you?
It worked out pretty well. Being in Los Angeles, you can’t turn a corner and not see an acting school or a movie studio. I live walking distance to Warner Brothers and Universal. So it worked out quite naturally. I did performing arts in middle school and elementary school. And I was actually scouted in a mall — at H&M.
That really happens to people?
It totally happens to people. I was 12 years-old and I had short blonde hair. And everyone my age had long brown hair. And they thought that I would do well.
The person who discovered you….did he ask you for money?
He was a photographer. So he offered to do my headshot and introduce me to an agency.
I always think people who scout in the mall are running a scam…
I am sure there is a lot out there that is a scam. Luckily that didn’t happen to me.
What happened to the short blonde hair?
I decided to grow it out. Then I dyed it for the pilot I did last year called ROGUE, which was directed by Brett Ratner. I was playing the mean girl and [another actress] and I both had blonde hair and freckles. So I dyed my hair and it kind of works. So I kept it.
Is Beth Ann a mean girl?
No. She is definitely not a mean girl. She has to put up a harsh mask because she has so many difficulties in her family life. But she has a kind heart and she will do anything for those that she loves.
Tell us something really interesting about yourself…
I had a couple of friends who owned a distribution company and through a whole chain of events, we ended up making a whole feature film that was distributed world-wide. It was one of those low budget things where everyone does everything. So I did hair and makeup and wardrobe. I was the P.A. and the A.D. And I fell in love with being behind the scenes. It is just a whole different world. As an actor I just appreciate everyone so much more and what they are doing. Really, there is no one person on a movie shoot or a television shoot that is better than anyone else. It is such a collaborative art. We are all working to get two seconds on screen perfect. Every little thing is so critical that I really appreciated looking at it from the other side.
Might you go back and do that again at some point?
I P.A. every now and then for friends. I have a friend who does a lot of commercials and sports things. Actually when I was in Chicago shooting, we went to Notre Dame and we shot footage for their mens and women’s basketball and mens hockey teams. Its fun. I really enjoy it.
Would I see you as an extra from some movie?
I was an extra on UGLY BETTY. I was in 7th grade so it would have been 5 years ago. Actually someone from my school recognized me. They were like “I saw you on UGLY BETTY yesterday.” And I was like “Oh, goodness. You actually saw that.”
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