An Interview With Jennyfer Jewell

INTRO
Series 2 of The Tribe saw the introduction of the inquisitive younger sibling of Alice, a character who was at home on the farm and yet she possessed a deep desire for both journalism and uncovering the truth. THETRIBE.CO.UK welcomes the very lovable Jennyfer Jewell, who played the role of Ellie, to our tribe cast interview.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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Ellie was very into the ‘truth’ and thought that everyone should know everything, nothing stays hidden, and she would do almost anything to find that truth – like we witnessed with trying to uncover the events behind both the virus and Pandorax. What similarities or differences do you share with the character?

JENNYFER JEWELL

I definitely prefer things to be out in the open and prefer transparency to secrecy, but I also think her attitudes are somewhat idealistic – there are always going to be cases where limiting access to information is a better course of action, and indeed where complete openness about an issue could cause harm. Then again, I trained as a lawyer, not a journalist, and we’re notoriously bad at equivocating and finding loopholes…

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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What was it like when you found out you got the part? Do you remember what your first day stepping into the shoes of Ellie was like?

JENNYFER JEWELL

I remember that I got the call really quickly after the audition, so I assumed it was bad news! I was really excited, but also very nervous because I knew these guys had been together for a whole season, and there was definitely that ‘new kid’ feeling. It helped that we had hair, makeup and costume sessions before filming started, for the teams to get our ‘look’ together and work out how their ideas would fit on us, so I met a lot of the cast and crew then bit by bit, which was a good way to sort of ease into things, and I knew some of them already (because NZ is a very, very small place…).

I remember a very early day, I’m not sure if it was the first day but it was one of Ellie’s first scenes, on set in Whiteman’s Valley, which was where the farm set was, and it was completely freezing and I was looking at this crop-top costume hanging up and just thinking ‘I can’t wait to get to that Mall!!’

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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Speaking of remembering, do you have a favourite memory that you cherish from your time on the show?

JENNYFER JEWELL

My favourite memory from the show is a hard one because there were so many great moments for different reasons. The last scene of series 5, where we were heading off on the boat, was really special because I think we all felt it was a bit of an end of an era, but any scene with everyone together (although they were always a nightmare because they took ages) was always really fun to do, especially if there was food involved! Also getting to do some proper fight choreo against the Technos was brilliant – although I was hilariously rubbish, the stunties were so kind and patient and it is weirdly satisfying in a very primal way to whack someone and see them fall down (even though your weapon is essentially a pool noodle and you never make contact).

"THE LAST SCENE OF SERIES 5 WAS REALLY SPECIAL BECAUSE I THINK WE ALL FELT IT WAS A BIT OF AN END OF AN ERA..."

THETRIBE.CO.UK

avatar-siteThere were rumors going around (back when the show was originally) airing that Alice was not Ellie’s sister, but in fact her mom.  What would you have thought of that idea? Would it have made a more exciting storyline or do you think that the sister bond of Alice and Ellie was something that the show really needed?

Vanessa Stacey, who we also recently interviewed, found it hilarious and that she was not that much older to be able to play her mum!

JENNYFER JEWELL

Wow I’ve actually never heard that! It would certainly have made the chronology weird – she’d have had to be the oldest person left, I guess? Or an incredibly young mother… She was a very motherly figure to Ellie anyway, so I’m not sure how much it would have changed the relationship, to be honest.

I did love their relationship, though – it was really cool to see how their bond changed and grew as they got older and went through things both together and separately.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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Were they any storylines that you would have loved to have gotten the chance to play out?

JENNYFER JEWELL

I think it would have been really cool to see more of the Chosen camps, but probably too dark for the show! Just to see how Ellie got quite so broken that she forgot who she was.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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Jack or Luke?  Who would you have chosen for Ellie? And do you think Jack and Ellie are the perfect match?

JENNYFER JEWELL

I think Jack was an easier relationship for her because with Luke there were always secrets and I don’t feel like they were good at being honest with each other, whereas with Jack it was a lot more organic and they sort of grew up a lot together which gave them a more solid base. I don’t think that they were perfect but I think they had a very strong, mutually supportive and accepting relationship.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

avatar-siteSo I know a few years back that you were in the middle of moving to the UK.  What made you decide to move there and how does life differ from life in New Zealand?

JENNYFER JEWELL

Well, I was born in the UK, so most of my family is still here, and Kiwis are notoriously bad at staying in one place for long periods of time, so most of us who are able to end up overseas for a decent chunk of time at some point in our lives. I always felt it was fairly inevitable that I’d live in London one day – so many of my favourite characters have walked these streets that it’s been constantly in my mind since I was wee, and I’ve loved the city since I can remember.

I remember stopping in London when we’d come back to the UK to visit family for Christmas every few years, and just thinking it was such an exciting, vast, old, storied place. I’ve been here five and a bit years now and I still fall in love with it on the regular. The sense of standing in history is incredible, as is the cheerful jumble of architecture, and the absolute melting pot of languages and accents and styles and cultures.

But it’s definitely not an easy city to live in – I was home in NZ last month and I was reminded just how nice it is not to battle to get around, to not be surprised to bump into people I know in the street and to get a decent coffee from any coffee shop you walk into!! Not to mention less hierarchy, a more outward-facing national psyche and our own culture – I sobbed pretty much the entire way through Moana because it set off echoes of home, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople caused similar blubs (though way more laughs).

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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Now you have been on stage numerous times, so I’m curious what the differences are between theatre and camerawork, and which do you prefer more?

JENNYFER JEWELL

I prefer both, basically!

Stage is so much more in-depth – you get to sit with the material and the cast and crew for so much longer, but it’s also more immediate because you can feel when the audience is really with you and it’s just the biggest high imaginable. But with film or tv the pacings really different and you can interrogate your choices more minutely and there’s a huge amount of teamwork, with the cast and the crew, in each different moment or shot, so it’s a lot more involved, I guess.

JENNYFER JEWELL PERFORMING IN 'SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS ARE MADE ON'

THETRIBE.CO.UK

avatar-siteLet’s take a glimpse into your personal loves: you are stranded alone on a deserted island … which three books do you have with you?  And do you have any book recommendations for us?

JENNYFER JEWELL

Ooooooooooooooooooh this is super mean. Northanger Abbey, because it’s my favourite book and re-reading the scene where Catherine first meets Henry Tilney is the surest way to lift my mood. I’m going to cheat and take the Globe Illustrated Shakespeare as my second, because a) it’s massive and b) each work contains multitudes and the commentaries themselves are worthy of the trip. Lastly… Oof. Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology because I haven’t read it yet and it would be lovely to devour it in one sitting, with no interruptions.

My recommendations are everything! There has never yet been an entirely ‘bad’ book written (except maybe Twilight / 50 Shades…) because every book can lead you to another, and show you someone and somewhere new. Writers who have broken my heart or helped stitch it back up or opened my eyes to wonders or given me a safe place to curl up in the last year or so include JK Rowling, Jane Austen, Patrick Rothfuss, Agatha Christie, Shakespeare, Haruki Murakami, Daphne du Maurier, Chaucer, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Alice Walker, P.G. Wodehouse and Jessie Burton.

THETRIBE.CO.UK

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Do you have anything in the works for us fans to look forward to?

JENNYFER JEWELL

Haha well my friend and I have been talking for ages about a short film trilogy, but the working title of the first one is ‘Babies are Vampires: Discuss’, so it’s safe to say it needs some work. I usually plug anything I’m in pretty shamelessly on Twitter, but I’ve been too busy with work recently to commit to any new stuff, so I’m afraid it’s all just @dog_rates retweets and political moaning on my timeline at the moment.

OUTRO
Many thanks to Jennyfer Jewell for taking part in our interview and for all of her interesting responses! We wish her all the best for the future and will continue to follow her progress.