Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jill Marie Jones opens up about 'Girlfriends'

Thanks to a poster on the official CW Girlfriends lounge, here is an excerpt from a recent interview with Jill Marie Jones. 

Having played Toni Childs on the show for the first six seasons, Jill Marie Jones has not been part of the show for the last two years.

In her first interview that really addressed her Girlfriends departure, here's what she had to say:

As you are venturing off in the film world, do you believe your TV work has helped you or the opposite? Do you feel you may be typecast for parts?
JMJ: You know what, it has definitely helped me. No one would even know who I was if it weren’t for ‘Girlfriends’. There’s a lot of talented women and men in this town that have no representation and go after audition and audition and don’t get parts, so of course, being on television helped me. I owe all of that to Mara Brock Akil, UPN, and Paramount for giving me a shot and also giving someone a shot with nothing on her resume. I came very green and I just wanted to act. I just wanted to be an actress. I didn’t care about the pain, I didn’t care about money, I just wanted to work and they gave me that opportunity, so of course that is why. You second question was about being typecast, and I say no a lot, which is okay, but also I knew with my first season on ‘Girlfriends’, I had some credit stuff I needed to clear up. If this show doesn’t go pass the first season, I’m going to clean up my credit and that’s what I did. I positioned myself in a way where I can say no. I’m all about movie forward and not necessarily lateral move in terms of my career so I do say no a lot. I do get that, ‘Can we do that type of role?’ again and unless that turns me on in some sort of way, I won't do it.

When you’ve been on a show that is both dramatic and funny, and you’re working with comedians on the screen, do you think you have ‘funny bones’?
JMJ: No, not at all. I didn’t even know or think I was funny. When I studied, I studied dramatic acting. In acting class, I studied drama stuff and then I got ‘Girlfriends’. I didn’t know til ‘Girlfriends’ that I was funny, and I have to say that I feel like I was in a university of girlfriends with Tracy, Golden, Reggie, and Persia. Who I am today is a culmination of all my experience up to this point. I feel as if I learned so much from those people from Mara, the writers. I was literally in class when I was there. I was so green. ‘Girlfriends’ was my third audition. I booked my first. I booked my second. I booked my third. ‘Girlfriends’ was my third. I was learning throughout the whole process. If you look at seasons 1-6 when I was on, you can see the growth.

It’s been two seasons since you left the show, do you miss playing Toni Childs?
JMJ: Oh my God! I feel like I gave birth to her. Obviously, Mara created the character, but for six years that's all I had and her back-story and everything I worked on, I feel like I gave birth to her. I totally miss Toni. I love the fact that people still come up to me in the street and be like, ‘Toni Childs!’ It brings a smile to my face.

Would you consider coming back for a cameo or an episode?
JMJ: Anything’s possible. The life that I have right now is because of Mara Brock Akil, Kelsey Grammer, UPN, Paramount took a chance on a girl with talent or that they saw had talent that on my resume was blank. I don’t know how much you know about in this town, but that doesn’t happen all the time. So, everything I have at this moment and the life that I’m being able to live is because people gave me a chance.

With so much done in six seasons, do you think the character ran its course?
JMJ: No, I think if Toni came back and when I say no, I say it because there are brilliant writers on ‘Girlfriends’. There is so much more that you can do. For me and my career, my contract was up after six seasons and there’s a whole film world that I wanted to experience and that’s what I’ve been doing. I think if Toni came back to the show, there would be so much more to write and much more to bring. That’s a testament to how great Mara and the rest of the writers are.

So that was a very interesting and informative article, and it is nice to hear what Jill really had to say about her Girlfriends past... hopefully she'll be coming back for some sort of farewell!

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