Scream Queens‘ Jessica was tagged with the “crazy” label, and she seems more than happy to let her freak flag fly. Below, she talks about her crazy side, race relations in the Scream Queens house, the sexual tension amongst the girls and why she wasn’t so sad when it came time for her elimination. “On the show I would call the producers my therapists,” she tells us. Well, pull up a couch…
What did you think of your portrayal?
Um, that I’m crazy?
I definitely do have a crazy side. I’m not gonna lie. I think what they did is they took an extreme side of everyone’s personality and that’s what they showed. It was such a heightened situation and I’m super-sensitive to my surroundings, so I was constantly really happy or crying or really upset. I knew I was going to come off as a psychopath because I was so emotional. I think it’s fun. I don’t mind. Being crazy is fun. But I don’t feel like we were manipulated in anyway. I feel like everything you see happened and was really said.
What did you make of the racial discourse that has helped define this show?
Lina was always saying things. For someone who has no issues with it, she was talking about it all the time. We all would be like, “What?” She just didn’t make sense. She was always making some kind of comment about it. It just got really old really fast.
To hear her tell it, politically incorrect was the nature of the dynamic in the house.
I think that was in her head. I’m in my own world, but dude, she was, too. Like, what?
Although you weren’t exempt from it. At one point, you asked Sarah if she knew how “ugly and Jewish” she looked.
Yeah, that was something really horrible that came out of my mouth. It disgusts me and I was so upset by it. There’s no excuse. I was hurt and upset, but that doesn’t make it OK. Believe me, for two days, I didn’t leave my apartment. I talked to Sarah, of course, and I wrote something on my blog just to let people know that a hateful thing came out of my mouth, but I’m not a hateful person. I don’t even think twice about religion or race. That’s why it makes me so mad about that coming out of my mouth. See, the night before that, Sarah had come up to me and was asking me about this rosary that I had. I told her I was Catholic and I’m not this huge religious person, but I was raised Catholic and I think it’s nice and I believe in some of it. She was like, “How can you be Catholic if you don’t believe, and blah blah blah.” I think the fact that we had that conversation was sort of fresh in my mind. But no matter: it was a really stupid thing to say.
I think the first time it was suggested that you’re crazy came from your reaction to the nude scene. You were adamant about not doing it, but you ended up getting more naked than anyone else on the show.
As the show went on, I became a lot more comfortable in my surroundings. That first episode, I seemed so awkward and uncomfortable, like I was constantly going to freak out. I was just really surprised as to how heightened the situation was. When we got our first script, it was the icing on the cake and an outlet for me to freak out. I’m so not uncomfortable with nudity at all. I was pissed about the content. What we were saying was so stupid and we just had that fruit class with John, and it was like, of course VH1 was going to use that first episode to be so sexual and draw people in. Looking back on it, it’s like who cares? So when we were on set, I had on my pasties and nude thong. I think I was fifth or sixth to go. This was about six hours into the day, so by then, I was comfortable. Right before it’s my turn to shoot, I go, wouldn’t it make for good TV if I ripped my pasties off right now? Probably because I complained about it! Everyone was like, “What the f***?”
Your kiss with Angela made for good TV as well.
Yeah, I was really happy that Lina didn’t want to do that. Thank you, Lina. I had been saying the whole time, “I’m so down to do the kiss. I’m just going to start kissing one of you anyway.” We’d been cooped up for so long. I was like, “Do you know how bad I just wanna make out in a hot tub?” Angela was like, “Yeah, me too.” That’s why Angela was like, “Jessica will do it!”
If that was the case, it’s surprising there wasn’t more on-set action.
I know! Of course, they didn’t show Sarah and her huge-ass vibrator Rabbit that she brought. She’d use it in front of everybody in her bunk bed. I would hear her squirting the KY Jelly. It was like, “Are you kidding me right now?” You do what you gotta do, I guess. There was an incident with the hot tub and one of the jets and someone.
Not me! I was a good girl. I didn’t do anything other than making out with Angela.
Your take on The Brain That Wouldn’t Die scene also seemed un-P.C. Were you going for deaf and/or retarded?
No! I feel so bad! I’m not joking, but I have this recurring dream and I was taking this character from it. It was just a way of, I don’t know, doing something different and making a choice. I’m not stupid, I know how it comes off now, but believe me, I was not going for slow or deaf at all.
Do you think your elimination was fair?
James had been, ahem, gunning for me to go from the beginning. I don’t think I was his cup of tea. I think he appreciated me, but I wasn’t one of his favorites. I feel like during the director’s challenge, he’d totally written me off. So in that sense, I feel like it was unfair. He’d already given up on me and I felt like he wanted me gone. Even in his blogs, he’s always like, “Oh, I thought we were sending Jessica home…but we didn’t!” But I don’t blame him. I felt like it was my time to go. I wasn’t upset. I hope I got to make an impression and I feel like it got to a point where I was a little too much. I wasn’t molding myself and just letting the experience happen. I was fighting it, like, “No! This is me!” I feel I have more to offer than Angela, for example, but I also feel that she started in a different place and improved a lot.
What’s coming up for you?
When I got back from the show, I did a short film that’s being submitted to festivals. I do a lot of indie shorts. My one film that I did two years ago is called Under the Raven’s Wing. It’s about three girls in a cult and it’s in the vein of Blair Witch. It’s made to seem real. It’s coming out on DVD in January. I’m starting to work on a feature called Daddy’s Girl, where I’m playing, surprise surprise, a sociopath. But I booked this way before the show. I don’t know if that helps my case or what.