Earlier today I got a chance to speak with JENNY WADE who plays Nina on REAPER. She shared with me some information about what’s coming up on the show, as well as the future of Nina and Ben’s relationship. She also talked about the new CW’s drama pilot Body Politic in which she was cast (also starring Minka Kelly and Jason Dohring), and more.
Don’t forget that Reaper airs on Tuesdays at 8pm on The CW, so don’t forget to tune in.
But for now, enjoy the interview below.
Can you talk a bit about how you got the part in “Reaper”?
Jenny Wade: Sure. They were holding auditions. I’d heard they were holding auditions for several weeks for the role of Nina. Tara [Butters] and Michele [Fazekas] and Tom Spezialy were just not finding what they wanted. Everyone was coming in and kind of taking the material a little bit too seriously. I think that I was one of the last people that they read for the part. They said, ‘Can you do it? Can we have you right now? We don’t want to test you.’ It was just one of those things that clicked. I’m kind of one of those actors that never does it the right way. Sometimes that works and sometimes they’re like, ‘You’re crazy. Next.’ So this was just one of those things that worked.
Had you heard of the show before?
Jenny Wade: Oh, yeah. I’d heard of the show before. I’d never seen the show before. I’d seen clips of it here and maybe a commercial. I knew the premise of the show because I come from a horror movie background and a lot of the same fans are crazy for ‘Reaper’. I would hear from fans all the time. ‘You should go on “Reaper”. You should go on. It’s the best show ever.’ So I was really amped about it. I was familiar with the fan base and I loved the writing. I loved Tara and Michele. I was really excited about it.
How does one go about portraying a demon?
Jenny Wade: [laughs] It’s not very cut and dry. There’s a fine balance with Nina between her being trustworthy or not, her being pure of heart or not. She’s been in hell for eons and she belongs to the devil and yet she still manages to prioritize her relationship with Ben. And she still manages to connect with new friends and feel loyalty to them. It sounds like a Spock thing where she’s half Vulcan and half human. She’s able to feel emotion and she’s able to remember what it’s like to be in love and want that and work for that.
How fun is it to say those lines? You have some quirky lines that you deliver as if it’s normal. Do you enjoy that? Is it something that’s hard as an actor to do?
Jenny Wade: It’s been so much fun. Nina has only been out of hell for four months. She has no idea what humans do. Even in, I think it’s episode three, where they’re all at the bar eating hamburgers she has no idea what etiquette is about. She just knows that if it tastes good she’s going to eat it. If it sounds good she’s going to say it. So she’s really learning the ins and outs of how to blend in. That’s been one of the most fun things about this character, understanding what it’s like to be in a completely new world and wanting to be accepted. On the demon side it’s being able to flesh out how angry she is when she’s not accepted.
Yeah. Lets not mess with her.
Jenny Wade: Lets not. Lets not find out [laughs].
Can you talk a little bit about what’s coming up for her in the next episode?
Jenny Wade: Sure. The next episode is called ‘Business Casualty’ and Sam is more intent than ever on getting out of his deal with the devil. He realizes that the relationship with Nina could help along that path. So he begs Nina for help. Nina plays a big part in helping him understand how that just might be possible. It takes some coaxing because she doesn’t really want anything to do with hell anymore. She just wants to be with Ben. Like I said though, she’s developed a relationship with these people and she feels like she’s a part of their family and she lives with Sam now. I think she cares about him. So the next episode should be really interesting. I can’t say whether he’s going to get out or not. I know that everybody wants to know that, but he’s got a fighting chance.
What about Nina and Ben, are these two going to stay together now after the horrible breakup?
Jenny Wade: I don’t think that anyone wants to see Nina and Ben breakup at this point, especially not Nina. I think they’re such a good match. Rick Gonzalez and I, we had such an instant chemistry. It just works. I think that he’s still a little bit afraid of her. I think that he still might not fully trust her and so that could possibly come into play in the next couple of episodes and hopefully in the next season. He really has to find out if she’s as trustworthy as she claims to be. But I think that everyone’s intent is to flesh out that relationship between the two of them. I think they’re adorable together.
Speaking of next season, have you heard anything about the possible pick up of another season?
Jenny Wade: I’ve heard all the same rumors that everyone else has heard. I definitely don’t know for sure what’s going to happen. At this point, people are doing other things professionally and we have to, but I think that everyone involved on our team, including Tara, Michele and myself; all of our hearts are with the show and we all want it to go on for another season. The rumors have not affected the moral of our cast in anyway. We’re in constant contact with each other on a daily basis. We’re rooting for it. This has always been the little show that could. It’s always been on the bubble and it’s always been fighting for a spot. We’re really counting on the fans to keep that moral up as well. We’re just crossing our fingers.
You were cast in a new pilot called ‘Body Politic’. Can you talk about that, what you’d be doing in that show?
Jenny Wade: ‘Body Politic’, the simplest way to describe it is that it’s kind of ‘The West Wing’ but in a younger age bracket. So instead of seeing congressmen and presidents and senators, we’re kind of going into the world of the interns and the up and coming, the college graduates that are just kind of getting into D.C. and trying to find their places. I play a character named Ruby that comes from a small town. She really wants to make a difference in the world and really believes that she can. She’s a fighter for people and she believes in the best of people and gives people the benefit of the doubt. So she’s kind of the only non-cynic in the group. She hasn’t been hurt and she hasn’t had as much experience as the others. She’s a go-getter. We have Minka Kelly in the cast and Grabrielle Union who’s amazing. I mean, just the women alone in this pilot should get it picked up [laughs]. Jason Dohring from ‘Veronica Mars’. Jay Hernandez. We all end up rooming together. So there’s a political side and there’s a family side. The pilot was written so well. We’re all really excited about it.
Apart from that, it looks like you have a few movies listed on your IMDB page. Is there anything else you have coming up?
Jenny Wade: For TV I’m kind of contractually sold at this point, or at least until next week when we find out what’s happening with the show. I do have a couple of films coming out. One is called ‘The Strip’ which is an independent film. The other is a Jim Sheridan directed film called ‘Brothers’ and it’s myself and Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman and Tobey Maguire. It’s an adaptation of the Swedish film ‘Brothers’. It’s amazing. I can’t wait for it to come out. It’s looking like it’s going to be a fall release and then that’s about it.
Who’s your favorite character on ‘Reaper’ apart from Nina, of course?
Jenny Wade: Hmmm. Gosh. I feel so disloyal answering this question [laughs]. I am a Sock fanatic. I think there are two people that you could take out of the show and it just wouldn’t be ‘Reaper’ and that would be Ray Wise and Tyler Labine. Tyler, I mean, I can’t tell you how many takes he has to do to get one where there’s not somebody laughing. Every take is different. He’s brilliant. His comedic ability is brilliant. Comparable is Ray Wise. There’s just nobody else who could play the devil like that. Nobody. He’s sexy and he’s intriguing and alluring and at the same time you’re scared to death of him. Who can pull that off? Lots of love. Lots of love for all the actors, but I definitely derive the most entertainment value from those two.