This fall, Once Upon a Time’s Jessy Schram (Cinderella), hangs up her ball gown to play an army wife on ABC’s new thriller Last Resort. As the spouse of Scott Speedman’s character, she navigates the hot political waters in Washington D.C. after her husband’s submarine goes rogue.
Wetpaint Entertainment got a chance to chat with Jessy about her new show (read our exclusive interview with Jessy about the Falling Skies finale here) just as she was starting up the first season in Hawaii, where Last Resort shoots.
Wetpaint Entertainment: What is Last Resort about?
Jessy Schram: Last Resort, to me, is very much about finding truth and integrity in an extraordinary situation. The tag line is that a US submarine has defied its orders for their own reasons and taken over a NATO post on an island and declared themselves their own nation until they figure out what is going on.
What kind of a character is Christine? Is there ass-kicking?
You know what? I'm definitely through the season in a way that's really interesting, because my character is basically married to the military, but she's not active herself. Her world is not on a submarine or training every day. And now, her life is not her own. She's under the microscope from the Washington and the political world and everything she's known is completely flipped upside down. So I think there is verbal ass-kicking that will grow out of my character. But for the most part, she's just trying to figure out what end is up and what's real.
How is being on Last Resort different from other shows you’ve been on?
Oh, it's different in so many ways. In Falling Skies, I was playing a soldier and a fighter, and then, when I was taken captive, you're still in this post-apocalyptic world. The scenery is very intense and it's mainly night shoots. And I’m playing this person who's been taken over by another being, so I was vacant. Now, for Last Resort, I have the job of connecting as a wife to the second in command on a submarine. I'm having to play something that people can relate to on a daily basis as opposed to more of a character.
So you've been trying to figure out what goes through the head of an army wife?
Yeah. The pilot happened so quickly that I wasn't really able to do much research beforehand. And now, I’ve talked to many different sources to figure out the logistics of everything, the ranks and how long they're gone for. And what happens during the deployment, whether I can speak to them or not. I’m starting to learn the military world a little better, so that I can understand what's normal, and what's not in those instances.
What's surprising about their version of “normal”?
When someone goes on a submarine, they usually go for four to six months at a time and, for the most part, you don't have communication that's open with them. And when it is, it's not in real time. So when they go away, you're completely on your own. One of the things that I've realized from talking to a lot of people is the independence and strength that you have to have while they're away. You have a choice in how you react and where you're going to stay, and who you're going to be during this time period and when they come back. There are so many different things that are just so interesting. In a lot of ways it’s like life as an actor – you just kind of pick up and leave. You have to make home where it happens. So it's all very interesting, just learning about the different worlds of a Seal family and an Air Force family. For me, on a personal level, it's just been really fun learning more about our military.
What was it about this show that interested you?
I had gotten this script on a plane after filming the finale for Falling Skies, and it was all very last minute. They had given me about four different scripts to read and I remember reading this one and connecting with it. When I read the part of Christine, something about it just felt real, and it felt right. And I really loved where they were going with it — something about it is epic, and at the same time, very subtle and very real and very romantic.
Not terrible to shoot those scenes with Scott Speedman, I take it?
You are correct. Terrible is not a word I would use in shooting romantic scenes with Scott Speedman. It's been fun working with him on the pilot. We only had a couple moments before we started everything together, and he's really a person that knows what he wants. He's very intelligent and reads his material in a different way. So we both get to bring what we do to the table, and I think that is really working and the chemistry is right.
I think what’s fascinating about Last Resort is that once everything goes down, all the doors are open. You have no idea which one they're going to walk through.
One of the things that's attractive about the series is that you can maybe think about what's going to happen, but then they'll take you in a completely different direction. There's so many elements for so many different stories that you can throw in here — you have the family factor as a weapon against the people on the submarines. You have the Washington world that's a weapon, and then you have the actual weapons. Any time that you think you know what's going on, there's another story and another part of the heart that you could play on.
Last Resort premieres on Thursday, September 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Once Upon a Time Season 2 premieres on September 30, 2012 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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