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EXCLUSIVE: Jasmin Savoy Brown talks new show ‘Will’

Credit: Matt Darlington

Jasmin Savoy Brown is best known for her role on the third, and final, season of ‘The Leftovers’ where she played Evie Murphy. However, she has been staying busy doing several projects, including the film ‘Lane 1974’, to really put her name on the map. She can currently be seen as Emilia Bassano in the new TNT series ‘Will’, which premiered on July 10th.

‘Will’ tells the wild story of young Shakespeare’s arrival onto the punk-rock theater scene in 16th century London. It is described as a contemporary version of Shakespeare’s life. Jasmin Savoy Brown’s character, Emilia Bassano, is known as the “Dark Lady” of Will’s sonnets. A musician, poet, writer and proto-feminist, Emilia is an exotic and strikingly beautiful young woman who goes on to become the first female professional English poet.

We spoke with Jasmin about ‘Will’ and her character Emilia, the importance of activism and her dream roles.

CM: Congratulations on your new TV series ’Will’! What can you tell us about the show?
Jasmin: Thank you! ‘Will’ is a modern day look at William Shakespeare and how he came to be William Shakespeare. The show stays true to Shakespeare’s themes, while the series is set against a modern score of popular and current music, making it feel fresh. It is raw, sexy and fun.

CM: How has it been to film a show that is set in a different time period?
Jasmin: It’s been challenging and so much fun. The difficult part of doing a period piece is being true to the period down to every little detail. If I slouch like the modern day millennial that I am, I will look completely out of place in the world of the show. Same with the use of vocal fry. It is all of the little things that add up and make a big difference in the end, and make the process even more fun. It’s also been a wonderful learning experience. Being transported back in time – from the costumes we wore, to the patterns of speech, and the locations we shot in – were such a rich history lesson.

CM: What attracted you to the series?
Jasmin: To be honest… the first thing that attracted me to the series was that it shot on location! Last year I said out loud, “I want to book all of the jobs that will travel me around the world.” Right after that, The Leftovers took me to Australia, and then Will came along. I was so excited at the chance to do more traveling. Beyond that, I studied Shakespeare in high school and already knew of The Dark Lady, but I didn’t make the connection of who she was until reading the scripts. The idea of playing a real person scared me so much; I knew I had to do it.

CM: You’re portraying Emilia Bassano, what role will she be playing in the show?
Jasmin: Emilia and Shakespeare meet on screen, and the audience gets to see their relationship unfold and develop as the series goes on. Let’s just say, Emilia plays a very important role in the show, and in his life…

Credit: Matt Darlington

CM: How is Emilia different from other characters you have portrayed previously?
Jasmin: First of all, Emilia is the first character I have played that actually existed, so a lot of my preparation involved researching her life and reading her poetry. She was an exceptional person and very important in the furthering of female poetry and literature. She is also the only character I’ve played from this time period, so the costumes, locations, and scripts varied drastically from those I’ve explored before.

CM: Emilia was the first female professional English poet and a feminist – you’re an outspoken activist yourself, do you have any similarities with your character?
Jasmin: Yes, luckily I do! I say luckily because Emilia is such a strong, powerful, important person, I am happy I can call myself like her in a few ways. Like Emilia, I believe in the importance of art and the power of a personal voice. In her time it was much harder for women to make themselves heard, especially artistically, and she fought for that tooth and nail. The stakes are not as high for me today as they were for her then, but regardless it is deeply important to me that women use their voices to create art and make a change. I also am a sucker for love, just like Emilia.

CM: Do you feel a responsibility to speak out and create awareness about social issues?
Jasmin: Yes, I do, although I’m still learning the best way to do so. I can become extremely passionate about something, and my emotional investment into the issue will cloud my judgement when it comes to speaking out. I am learning the right medium of passion, emotion, and level headedness to be the most effective when it is time to speak out, which is becoming more and more frequent.

CM: You’re the only American among the cast! Was it difficult to learn the accent?
Jasmin: It was SO DIFFICULT. The most difficult accent I’ve had to do thus far. So much of accents is about the shape of the tongue, the relaxation of the jaw, and focusing on speaking from certain points in the face, as opposed to just making different mouth sounds. I spent several hours a week doing mouth and face exercises and massaging my jaw to place everything correctly. When I finally nailed the accent, I was more proud than I can tell you!

CM: Speaking of your amazing cast, how have they been to work with?
Jasmin: Exceptional.  I made some dear, dear friends who will remain friends lifelong. We had cast members from all over the world. London, Ireland, India, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, Wales, America… and whenever we were all gathered together it was this beautiful song of tons of accents overlapping. It made the whole process that much sweeter. I love accents. And every person was so unbelievably beautiful, inside and out.

Credit: Matt Darlington

CM: Do you have any upcoming projects?
Jasmin: I am currently in the process of writing my first album! And I can be seen sometime next year in season three of Netflix’s ‘LOVE’.

CM: What would be your dream role?
Jasmin: My dream role is constantly changing because I am constantly changing. The role that scares me the most is usually my dream role. Currently, that looks like directing a very personal piece that I am in the process of writing. It’s about relationships and navigating our roles within them. It’s extremely personal and I’m terrified to share it with anyone. That’s why I must [do it]. That’s why it’s the dream of right now.

CM: If you could say one thing to other young girls and women who dream of something, what would it be?
Jasmin: Do not doubt the power of your experience. Your voice, your opinions, YOU are uniquely and importantly you. There is no other person who can tell you story, share your thoughts and bring your ideas to life. No one. Surround yourself with a community of women who believe in you, and give it your all. Even a failure is a success because it means you made something happen.

Watch the trailer for ‘Will’ below:

Don’t forget to watch ‘Will’ Mondays at 9/8C on TNT. 

What do you think of ‘Will’? Let us know, @CelebMix

CelebMix Editor. A bit obsessed with airplanes, musical theater, and forensic anthropology. Contact: JosephineSjel@mail.com

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