Jasmin Savoy Brown blabs about HBO's The Leftovers, working graveyard shift, and breaking into acting
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Ryan West
- Los Angeles, California
Jasmin Savoy Brown blabs about playing Evangeline Murphy on HBO's hit series The Leftovers, and working graveyard shift at restaurant in Hollywood. Jasmin also share her knowledge with teenagers about breaking into acting.
You started performing at a young age playing guitar, piano, and violin. Can you tell us how you got started in the business?
Absolutely. I wanted to go to school for musical theatre, so in high school I auditioned for thirteen college programs and the one that accepted me didn't accept the FAFSA, meaning I couldn't afford to go. That rejection lit a major fire inside of me. I took the anger and sadness and moved straight to Portland (from Springfield) where I threw myself into my career - taking screen acting classes, voice lessons, nannying full time, and auditioning several times a week. I barely slept. After thirteen months, I made the move to LA where the grind continued full swing. In 2015, I booked The Leftovers and that changed the game for me.
Congratulations on the third season of the hit HBO drama The Leftovers. Can you take us through the audition process for Evangeline Murphy?
Thank you! When I first found out I was auditioning, I was working graveyard shift at a restaurant in Hollywood, taking classes and auditioning full time, and in rehearsal for a musical. Needless to say I didn't have a spare minute or a spare penny, so I didn't spent the $1.99 to rent an episode of the show on iTunes! I just watched the teaser for season one over and over again to understand the tone. Once I got the callback, I took the plunge and bought an episode.
It was so good I bought three... I could not stop watching. I thought it was brilliant. After the callback was the chemistry read where I met Jovan and we instantly annoyed the heck out of each other - perfect for that sibling vibe. Over two weeks later I got the job, and flew out only two days after that.
The Leftovers is a brilliant series about the Garvey family, and the global events that take place after the departure of 140 million people. Please describe to our readers your character on the show?
I play Evie, one of the neighbors to the Garvey family in their new neighborhood. When we first see her, she seems like an exceptionally happy, successful, loved and fulfilled teenage girl - she is good at everything and adored by her friends, family, and community. But just like everyone else, she has her secrets...
We recently got the chance to watch Lane 1974, and your performance of Puma was electrifying. What was it like working alongside lead actress Sophia Mitri Schloss?
A dream. Sophia is not only a phenomenal actress, she is smart, funny, and kind. Watching her work and process notes may have been my favorite part of the job. She is going to change the world just by being herself.
We often talk with young actors who are looking to break into the business. What advice would you give teenagers who are interested in starting a career in acting?
Work as hard as you can play. Meaning, if being in class 24/7 and taking lessons and doing the grind full time brings you joy - DO IT! But if not, don't. You will not be successful if you aren't happy. In high school, I knew I would regret if I didn't take the time to be a teenager, so I enjoyed my social life while training part time. I was SO HAPPY doing that. I saw some kids my age training full time and they were so sad, some of them quit.
You have to balance your professional life with your social life forever, but especially as a teenager when you can still live for virtually free and enjoy life at a bit of a slower pace. I'm not saying don't work and make sacrifices, just do so in a way that is true to you. I know it doesn't feel like it, but you have time. Being a kid won't last for ever. Enjoy that time.
At just 23 years old you've accomplished quite a bit in the entertainment business. How do you prepare for an audition in front of casting directors?
This is a complicated question to answer. There are several different types of auditions. Across the board, I am always as prepared as possible, and ground myself before walking into the audition. I work to remind myself I am not there to present a finished project, but to share my artistic expression. It's much more fun that way.
Later on in 2017 you'll be starring in the new TNT drama Will, which mixes Shakespeare with punk-rock. Can you reveal the character you will be playing?
In Will I play Emilia Bassano, the famous Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets. She was a real person, who many believe was Shakespeare's muse and inspired his greatest works. She was the first published female English poet, a singer, musician, and an artist through and through.
One of your co-stars on The Leftovers is actress Liv Tyler from some of our favorite films, Empire Records, and That Thing You Do! Do you have any interesting stories about working with Liv Tyler?
She is incredibly collaborative! We had rehearsals for the end of episode 10 in season 2 when Evie and Meg are singing together, and she brought several ideas to the table, making the process much more fun. Shooting the scene in episode 9 with the carrot was a special day to me as well. Watching her process and work on that scene will stay with me forever.