CREDIT: LISA ROSE/THE CW
“I found myself enjoying directing and acting [simultaneously] so much because I feel so instinctual with Jane and because as a director you’re given direct access to Jennie’s brain and what Jennie wants and what Jennie’s looking for and the tone,” Rodriguez tells Variety about collaborating with creator and showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman. “Usually it goes from Jennie to the director to then us, so the director is translating what Jennie told them. I had the direct connection, and because of that, I was able to go out there and know that I was giving exactly what Jennie wanted.”
Collaborating with her creator was key for Rodriguez since she wanted to put her own stamp on the episode, although the show already has such a distinct look with its color palette and a unique tonal blend.
How did you balance being in an actor’s frame of mind and a director’s on set?
I know every nuance of [Jane’s] behavior, and it’s so instinctual — it’s so ingrained. If somebody on the street told me to turn into Jane, I could. She’s just so much a part of me. And I discovered a system for directing. What ended up being the best flow for me was I would do one take, I would go to playback, I’d watch it, I would fix everything either technically with the camera or with acting or staging [or] blocking. And then we’d run into a sequence where we’d take three takes — not only to get into a groove but also to do different levels. I felt like I was so free in not having to interpret someone else’s interpretation of what Jennie wanted. I was just doing exactly what my creator wanted. And so there was a lot of confidence in my performance — more so than I think ever before. I actually found it liberating, which was a discovery I didn’t know I was going to have. I thought I was going to find it overwhelming and difficult, but I found it very freeing.
What kind of extra preparation did you do so that you didn’t get overwhelmed on the days of shooting?
Because I am so heavy on all episodes, [Jennie] set it up so that I directed the one right after break, and so that gave me Christmas break to go to town. I not only watched every single episode we’ve ever done, but studied what directors I really enjoyed and seeing what’s possible and [planning] where we were headed and what I had to set up. I’ve always been a pretty studious human being when it comes to preparation as an actor, but I went ham. By the time it was time to direct, I knew every single line in the script. Maybe I went a little next level in preparation, but that’s what I think allowed me to fly. And when I was doing it, I said to my boyfriend, “This is a lot of work, why did I take this on again?” And he said, “Because you can, and all of the work you’re doing now is going to allow it so that when you’re on set, there will be less work.” He was not wrong, and I knew [that], and it was great to have someone reminding me that the reason why you work hard now is so that when you do it you’re going to fly — or at least you’re going to feel like you can have fun because you’re not going to feel like you’re playing catch up.
Read more at Variety.