Jennifer R. Blake ('Behaving Badly')
'Talking Bad Things with Jennifer R. Blake!'
To be quite honest, Jennifer R. Blake can do anything! She is an accomplished actress who has performed in television, film and musical theatre and has never once had a bad word said about her!
Raised in Montgomery, Alabama and graduating from The Boston Conservatory with a BFA in musical theatre, it was actually fellow actress Jenna Fischer who introduced Blake to acting coach Robert D'Avanzo.
Since then Blake has won Outstanding Performance By A Lead Actress in a Musical for the role of Susan in "Title of Show" in its LA Premiere, by StageSceneLA's Best of LA Theatre Awards 2009-2010.
She has also starred in movies such as 'Zoolander,' 'The Stepford Wives,' and was part of the crew on TV's wrongly-cancelled 'How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life).'
And now she has a movie out called, 'Behaving Badly'!
Just to set the stage, so to speak, on who you are for the readers, you are an alumna of The Boston Conservatory, where you earned a BFA in Musical Theatre. This led to appearances in TV, film and in musical stage plays also, of course. But was acting, in any and all its forms, what a young Jennifer always wanted for herself? "Oh yes. As long as I can remember, I've been focused on performing. It was children's theatre (starting when I was 6), church choir tour, performing arts junior high and high school, and getting into the NYU summer program at Tisch during my junior year of high school. Alabama Shakespeare Festival is in my hometown, Montgomery, so we lucked out on that front. I volunteered with the Jr. Will's Guild and when I was older, I got to perform on one of their stages. I've always loved the sense of family that comes with being part of a cast, and think I picked up on that really young."
Looking at your resume you seem to slot more easily into stage plays than anything else. Ergo, does this kind of "one take live" aspect of acting generally appeal to you more, perhaps? "I come from a theatre/musical theatre background, so it's my first love. I also tend to respect actors more who have training and a theatrical background who cut their teeth in NYC theatre."
You also appeared in the hilarious, and yet mysteriously cancelled 'How to Live with Your Parents (for the rest of Your Life)' TV show alongside Sarah Chalke. One of my favorite shows when airing, what was that set like to work on - and did you all see the cancellation coming? "Oh man, I was super let down when I heard it was cancelled. With a cast like that, and the awesome creator of the show, Claudia Lonow, I didn't see that coming. I felt lucky to get to work with these comedic actors I've been watching since I was a kid."
To this day which has been the role undertaken that you have most enjoyed? "I loved the role of "Susan" when I did the LA Premiere of 'Title of Show.' The character's sardonic wit and brutal honesty was super fun to play. Plus I got to sing "Die Vampire Die", one of the best musical theatre songs ever!"
Your new film is 'Behaving Badly,' so what can you tell us about your character, Janice ... and her connection between being a Principals Assistant and a Strip Club MC! "Janice is Principal Poole's (Patrick Warburton) assistant by day, and by night she's the MC of Heather Graham's character's strip club. Originally, it was just the one scene with Patrick, but they did a test audience and the feedback was they wanted to see more of me, so they wrote me into the ending. It was super flattering and so fun."
You've described 'Behaving Badly' as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off ... on drugs!" Please explain this some more! "It's a throw back to those fantastic 80's films that I fell in love with, that we all fell in love with, as a kid. I remember my sister and I would rent the VHS of 'Adventures in Babysitting' every single Friday night for maybe a year. The Ferris Bueller reference is that the main character speaks directly into the camera, manages to drive a fancy pants car, and do any and everything to get the pretty girl."
Featuring a veritable Who's-Who of actors such as Selena Gomez, Mary-Louise Parker, Elisabeth Shue, Dylan McDermott, Heather Graham, Jason Lee, Gary Busey, Patrick Warburton and even Justin Bieber (!), who did you find yourself chatting with the most on set? "Selena Gomez and Heather Graham are beautiful and warm people, like you would imagine. Elisabeth Shue is friggin' hilarious and beautiful as well. Patrick Warburton is brilliant and super down to earth. I feel really lucky I got to play with them."
Being that the title of the movie is 'Behaving Badly,' I have to ask: What is one of the last things you did in real life where if you look back you know you behaved badly?! "Hmmm…I was in Nashville last month visiting some friends and got into some trouble. That town is full of booze, music, boys, and bad decisions. Love it!"
Not many people may know this, but you actually sang on Ryan Adams' album Love Is Hell. How did that come about? "I knew Ryan when I was living in NYC and one late late night, one of many, we were hanging out and ended up at Electric Lady Studios. He asked if I knew any french, and I do so I did."
Any plans for your own solo album, perhaps? "I'd love to. It's more fun sometimes to just play my guitar to the walls in my bedroom. A few years back I was seriously considering focusing more on music, but realized I didn't want my love for it to get tainted by the business side of things."
What's next for Jennifer R. Blake? "I have a production company, Bless Her Heart Productions, and we just finished up our Indiegogo Campaign! We reached our goal and started shooting last week. Our first project is THE BAR, a webseries that I produced, co-wrote, and act in, which takes place in a fictional town in South Carolina. It's like CHEERS but with tailgating."
And what does the 'R' stand for, if I may ask? "Rachel. Yup. When I joined SAG there was another Jennifer Blake, so I had to either change my name or add an initial."
Finally, we here at Exclusive Magazine LOVE penguins so I am wondering if you do to; or if you have a funny personal story about them? "Birds scare me! At least penguins can't fly, but it's the flying/dive bombing part that creeps me out! Penguins are just cute creatures in tuxedos who march."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
'Behaving Badly' Official Movie Trailer
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