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Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview from July 28, 2011 with Jeri Ryan from Warehouse 13.

Jeri Ryan

Question:
I know that Eddie McClintock was also very excited on his Twitter account talking about it quite a bit. I was just wondering, Kate Mulgrew is also going to be guest starring in some episodes. Are you sharing any episodes with her?

Jeri Ryan:
No.

Question:
Would you like to have? And what would that be like having you two working together again?

Jeri Ryan:
Yes, it'd be nice to see her. It's been a long time so it'd be funny. Especially in a different context.

Question:
This is your first trip back into science fiction since Voyager. What's it like to return to that genre?

Jeri Ryan:
I'd be eager to do a lot of stuff in that genre that you don't really get to do in typical drama or comedy which is one of the reasons you become an actor is to do as many different things as you can and live as many different lives as you can. And it's fun to do a role where you can really kind of suspend reality a bit. It's a good time. And it's a great thing, too. It's just a great group of people and Eddie and I had a ball working together especially.

Question:
What was your most memorable moment working on the show?

Jeri Ryan:
Wow. That's a good question. I don't know that there's one specific moment, but Eddie and I had a couple of really, really nice sort of emotional scenes that we got to play together. It was just really fun connecting with him. He's a great actor. He's a funny, funny guy. But he's also just a really good actor. So that was a lot of fun.

Question:
What would you say is the most important thing that you learned from your time spent on the show?

Jeri Ryan:
I don't think I learned anything particularly except how much fun Eddie is. That was my big surprise. But yes, it wasn't like, a huge educational experience in my acting career. But it was great. It was a fun show to do. I really enjoyed it.

Question:
What's next for you?

Jeri Ryan:
Well right now I'm shooting Body of Proof. We just started shooting Season 2. And we actually are shooting our second episode today so. That's a full-time gig right now.

Question:
So what attracted you to this particular acting opportunity?

Jeri Ryan:
It just seemed like a lot of fun. And, the show runner is a friend of a friend and he's a great guy and the offer came up and it seemed like an interesting role and an interesting story line and it looked like a lot of fun to do. And it was, I had a ball. And my husband and my daughter came up with me and so we had a good time. A little family get away.

Question:
What can you tell us about the character Amanda?

Jeri Ryan:
She's a Marine. She is Eddie's ex-wife which is a bit of a surprise to everyone else at the warehouse. And she is getting remarried and things sort of take a bit of a turn without giving away too much of the story. And she sort of needs Eddie's help to get out of a bit of a problem.

Question:
Did you know Eddie beforehand or was this the first time you guys got to meet?

Jeri Ryan:
We'd never met. So it was fun. I mean everybody's great, but he was really a pleasant surprise because he's just so much fun in real life. He's just a great guy.

Question:
You said obviously you had a lot of fun on the show, but was there anything you found challenging about the role?

Jeri Ryan:
Always with comedy in general and especially comedy that sort of is in the Syfy genre so then you're really spinning this belief. You always have to sort of find that line between playing the comedy, but playing the realism too. And that's always a bit of a balance act. But it's fun. And again the people in the show, they're pros and this is what they do. That sort of fine line is where they walk all the time so. There is no better training ground for that. I mean, it was a lot of fun.

Question:
What would be like your ultimate dream role? Or is there someone you still want to work with that you haven't?

Jeri Ryan:
Oh, there's tons of people I'd love to work with that I haven't. But oh, I used to say Hamlet was my ultimate dream role and it still is an amazing role and I would love to play it. But yes, there's so many actors I would love to work with. I'd love to work with Clint Eastwood as a director especially. I'd love to work with Sidney Poitier because he's the reason that I became an actor in the first place. Meryl Streep is everyone's dream because she's the greatest living actor of our time. There's a lot of just amazing talents that I would love to work with at some point.

Question:
Can you talk about how you got started in acting?

Jeri Ryan:
It's what I always wanted to do. When I was kid, it was always an actress or something else. So, an actress or a veterinarian or when I was in high school I had to decide what I was going to major in college. And my decision was between majoring in theater and majoring in biomedical engineering. And I had an incredibly practical nature. So but acting could be a better idea. And I did a lot of community theater when I was growing up when I was a kid and things like that and moved out to LA after I graduated from Northwestern. And I was really lucky. I sort of worked steadily every since.

Question:
You've done horror with Dracula 2000. You've obviously done comedy and drama. Is there any genres that you haven't done yet or that you would like to do more of?

Jeri Ryan:
I'd like to do action, like Mortal Kombat Legacy. That's sort of action fantasy. I mean I think I've done all the genre, there are not too many that I haven't done with the exception of maybe porn which I'm not really interested in. But I would to do more comedy because it's fun and that's an escape. That's just a very light environment to work. But I like being able to jump around and do all kinds of things.

Question:
Is there any progress on a second season of Mortal Kombat Legacy?

Jeri Ryan:
I haven't heard anything yet. But hopefully we'll get some news before too long. We all had a ball doing it.

Question:
I remember reading that you had took Tango lessons recently for shooting and you enjoyed it. Is that something that you would continue or have continued as a personal hobby?

Jeri Ryan:
Yes, I did that for an episode of Leverage. No, I would love to continue it. The question of having the time and my husband having the time and the interest to take Tango lessons with me. But yes, no I loved it. It was a lot of fun. But I've always loved dancing.

Question:
So you took to it very well or did you have injuries or how did that go?

Jeri Ryan:
No, I didn't have any injuries. But, I think if I had more time to do it I'd be able to do it really well. Two or three lessons in the course of a week there's really not much you can learn. It was a lot of fun. I loved it. So yes, I'd love to do more of it. And no that does not mean I want to be on Dancing with the Stars which is what everybody asks me.

Question:
What's your advice to actors?

Jeri Ryan:
If there's anything else that would make you happy doing besides acting, then you should do that. Because this is a very difficult business and there's a lot of rejection. So it's hard and everybody's sort of emotional - everyone's psyche can't really take all of that rejection and that's not the best thing for everyone.

If this is all that will really fulfill you and make you happy, then do it. If you're going to do it, you have to completely do it and you've got to be incredibly persistent and not give up and not take no for an answer and just keep going. And it's a numbers game for everyone when you're starting out. The more auditions you can go to, the better your chances of getting a job.

Because there's a lot of rejection and it's usually not anything to do with your acting ability, especially in Hollywood as opposed to the theater. You're too blonde, you're not blonde enough, you're too tall, you're not tall enough, you're too pretty, you're not pretty enough. It's that kind of sort of physical stuff even more than your acting ability for a lot of jobs when you're just starting out. And you have to learn not to take things personally and get a really thick skin. But you've got to be prepared. That's my other piece of advice. Be prepared. Be ready. So when that opportunity comes because it will, but you have to be ready for it because it may not come again - your big break or your big chance. So be trained. Get in class. Be ready so when that chance comes, you don't screw it up.

Question:
Using Mortal Kombat, which was specifically done as a web series, can you see yourself ever doing something like that again when you're further down the road? And how different was the production site than from say doing it for the web?

Jeri Ryan:
Production wise, there wasn't a huge difference once we were shooting. If anything, we actually had a little more time than we do shooting a network TV series because we have seven days to shoot a one hour or basically 40-minute episode for TV. For this, our episodes were like six to - I think the longest one was 12 or 15 minutes. So we could take a little more time when we were actually shooting it. It's a big difference within the prep; there was none. So I think I had three days notice of the offer coming through, making the deal, and getting on a plan to fly to Vancouver to start shooting.

So the difficulty there for me was no time for fight training. So I think most of the other actors if not all of them are trained fighters. So for them just going in and learning a big fight scene is just a matter of choreography. For me, it's not. So that was hard. I would have loved to have had at least a couple of weeks to get in some fight training and really be able to make a more involved fight scene. But that was the only big difference. But yes, I certainly think we'll all be doing a lot of more of that in the future because I think that's sort of where the business is heading eventually.

Question:
What was Leverage like for you working with that cast?

Jeri Ryan:
I actually just did one for this season. And I would have loved to have come back for more, but I couldn't get the approval from the network from the show that I'm on now. But yes. That I have to say was one of my best work experiences my entire career. The most fun I've ever had on a set with Leverage and Boston Public. Those are my two that just stick out as the sort of perfect crystalline experiences.

That group of people, that entire cast, that entire crew is all insane. They are. But just the best, funniest, just most absolutely enjoyable group of people that you could ever have the luck to work with. And they're my dear friends and I love them all and I would love to work with them together. So yes, I had a ball. And I love that character. That was so much fun. It was fun to play somebody who was light and tough and to get to play a completely different character every week on that show was a real treat as an actor.

Question:
You mentioned that you play Pete's ex-wife in the show. Can you see yourself returning to that show?

Jeri Ryan:
I would love to. Yes, I think they certainly left the door open if she needs to come back again for some reason to get Eddie's help again or get Pete's help again. But yes, I would love to go back. I had a great time working there. It'd be fun to go back again.

Question:
I was wondering is there anything more you can tell us about your character on Warehouse 13?

Jeri Ryan:
I don't know how much I can tell you without giving away any story secrets. She is a Marine and that's I guess how she and Pete had met originally as they served together. She is getting married and she needs his help to solve a problem which he sort of I guess kind of inadvertently causes in the first place. So it's fun. It's gets into some interesting situations.

Question:
On Body Of Proof, it seemed to me that they had thrown together your character and Dana Delaney's ex-husband's character. Do you think there'll be more of that in the coming season?

Jeri Ryan:
Yes. That relationship definitely continues. We're just starting today actually shooting the second episode of the second season. So yes that relationship does continue. And all the evening drama that brings into the office.

Question:
Was there any difficulty in changing where you were shooting? I saw that you were going to shoot in Rhode Island and then they moved to LA?

Jeri Ryan:
Oh, God. That was heaven. Are you kidding me? That was better than having to move across country and commute every week. That was difficult because I flew between Providence, Rhode Island and LA every week and that was brutal. So being home and being able to work in town and come home at the end of the day like a normal person after work is amazing and it's absolutely heaven.

Question:
You've been on a lot of different series and you're talking about having to have a thick skin and everything so you had a lot of experience with that. Do you still have to audition for roles in television?

Jeri Ryan:
I do have to audition for some things. For television for the most part, it's mostly offers. But, there's certain things that I still have to audition for. And I had to say in the last three years or four years, the business has completely changed anyway because now TV and film used to be sort of very separate kind of worlds.

If you were in the TV world, you sort of stayed in the TV world. And if you were in the film world, you sort of for the most part stayed in the film world. Well, it's not the case anymore and there's a lot more interesting roles now on television and a lot of film actors who traditionally who have never ever done a series are now doing TV series. So it is a very different ballgame than it used to be. So yes everybody is kind of in a different position because producers, studios, and networks can be in a position where everybody ought to read for something because they have so many actors now to choose from.

Question:
So does that make it more difficult than for roles on television?

Jeri Ryan:
Oh, of course.

Question:
Does it make it easier for TV actors to go into movies or not?

Jeri Ryan:
No, it makes it, I mean more difficult to get roles because there aren't as many to go around. I mean as many shows aren't being made as they used to make to begin with because everybody's trying to cut down their budget and all of that. But also, now you've got a whole other group of actors that are coming in to do television as well. So yes, it's much more difficult. It's much more competitive to get roles. There are fewer to go around. It's a very different business. And you're speaking to someone who despises the audition process.

Question:
I was wondering is there a certain part of your character in Warehouse 13 that you can personally relate to or any of your characters in the Syfy genre that you've played?

Jeri Ryan:
Yes. I can certainly relate to part to this character especially because I mean this one is human so. A little closer to my own reality than other Syfy characters I've played in the past. There's a few more parallels in life than maybe with 7 of 9. But yes. She's a smart cookie and she doesn't take crap and I like that about her. And she's getting remarried and I've been in that situation and yes there are a few parallels. And my dad was in the military so it's nice - my dad was in the Army for 28 years so I was going through putting on a Marine uniform and he's looking forward to seeing that.

Question:
What do you enjoy filming more, television or films?

Jeri Ryan:
Personally I like TV better. The pace is very, very different between TV and films. On TV, we'll do between six and sometimes we've even done eight pages in a day of script. So that's, six or seven scenes sometimes. In film, you shoot like two pages a day. So you're shooting the same scene all day long. And that to me is a bit mind numbing.

And I don't know how they do it. I was working on a movie called Dam of Love and I was sitting on the set between shots with Renee Zellweger and I asked her I said, ???How do you do this? If you got a big emotional scene how do you do this???? And she said, ???You just have to live in it all day.??? You don't have lunch with the crew, you don't hang out between shots. You sit in your trailer and you just stay in that emotional place all day because you have to. And I just don't know how you could get your sanity doing that and go home to your family at the end of the night and not be just insane.

That seems like a tough one for me. I like the pace of TV. I like keeping it moving and having a different story to play. But that's also been what most of my experience is so that's more comfortable for me. That's my comfort zone.

Question:
How difficult was it to keep a straight face working with Eddie?

Jeri Ryan:
Not easy. We laughed a lot. We had a lot of fun. He's a complete goofball.

Question:
I also was wondering, did you speak with Kate about both of you starring on Warehouse 13?

Jeri Ryan:
No, no. I haven't spoken to her.

Question:
What is about it Syfy genre that you enjoy?

Jeri Ryan:
I think I already answered a version of that earlier. I like that it gives you a little more freedom to play period. I mean, it's not so stuck in reality obviously. You can really suspend disbelief and suspend reality and do things that you don't get to do in ordinary life. So it's fun.

Question:
Is there any talk on doing more of the Mortal Kombat series?

Jeri Ryan:
We would have loved to do more of it. We're just waiting for word if it's going to continue, if we're going to get Season 2 or what's going to happen. So yes. We had a ball doing it. Everyone involved and we're all very proud of it. And Kevin, the Director, his vision is incredible for this and we'd love to continue and see where he takes us.

Question:
How is it working with James Woods?

Jeri Ryan:
He is a character. He is an amazing, amazing actor. Amazing, of course, as we all know. So I was very excited when that offer came through in the beginning with the pilot that it was going to be working with him, because that's another example of a person who traditionally has only done films coming in and doing TV. So that was a pretty amazing opportunity to get to work with him.

Question:
How do you stay in shape?

Jeri Ryan:
I chase a toddler. That's what I do to stay in shape and I garden. That's pretty much it. But I'm at a point in my life when I know that I've got to start working on this, got to start actually working at which sucks. I do.

Question:
You've obviously acted in a lot of different genres and everything. Would you ever be interested in writing or directing or something like that?

Jeri Ryan:
Oh, God no. Oh, God no. No, I know where my talents lie and that ain't it.

Question:
Is there something about you that your fans would be surprised to know that you can tell us?

Jeri Ryan:
I will say pre-Twitter they would have probably been surprised. But if any of them follow me on Twitter, I don't think anything would surprise them at this point. But yes. I'm a big old science nerd from way back.

Question:
What would kind of be your ultimate artifact that you'd like to save if you were ever on the show again?

Jeri Ryan:
That's a good one. My artifact. I don't know. I'd want to see something from Shakespeare. I don't know what specifically it would be, but I'd want something from his life.

Question:
Your husband's restaurant is based in French cuisine. Is there any health-related or like organic or vegetarian type dishes on the menu? And then have you contributed to the menu at all?

Jeri Ryan:
The Ortolan is closed. We closed that in January so he's gearing up to open a new restaurant now that will be more casual. So yes that will probably have a heavier emphasis on organic produce and seasonal produce and some healthier options. The original restaurant was very much fine dining. And no I didn't really contribute in that. But now he's a father. We've got our 3-year-old and your whole way of looking at a lot of things sort of changes when you have a child. And for him, I think he's much more health conscious than he ever was before specifically now that he's feeding this little, pure perfect little body. So yes, it'll be interesting to see how that menu develops.

Question:
Where would that be based at? And would there be possibilities for more opening up after that?

Jeri Ryan:
Well that's always the hope. Yes, it'll be in a LA. But yes definitely he would like to expand and start opening some things in different cities whether it would be the same restaurant or different restaurants in different cities. That would be great eventually.

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