Jill Morrison is lighting up both the small and big screens this month with a recurring role in the hilarious new comedy "Package Deal" on CityTV and the world premiere for the film "Leap 4 Your Life" at this year's Vancouver International Film Festival. Jill's breakout role came as the memorable 'She doesn't even go here' girl from Tina Fey's hit movie "Mean Girls". Visit Jill's Website and her Twitter: @JillActress. Photo by Kyle Cassie.
Knock knock. Who's there? Jill Morrison. Jill Morrison who? Jill Morrison, the "crying girl" from the 2004 movie "Mean Girls", sent me back these interview answers without ONE typo which makes me want to write a run-on sentence about how incredible she is and that she gave me such good stuff to work with that I have to break this into a two-part article for our viewing pleasure which is making me hungry for an onion omelet.
Jill does, sometimes, write like she's from the other side of the pond, with the "ou" - you'll see below. I'm too lazy to ask her why.
Oh! Watch Jill on "Package Deal", "Leap 4 Your Life" and Hallmark's "When Calls the Heart"! This lady sure knows how to keep our attention!
You knew you wanted to be an actor since you were a child. Did you have any other career interests growing up? Who raised you? What was their reaction when you told them this is what you wanted to do?
I was raised by my mum and dad, Keith and Jean Morrison, with my three sisters. My parents always thought I was crazy and hilarious, so they were pretty supportive right away of my sense of humour and my need to entertain. They nourished it really. Again, very supportive when I wanted to go to school for it. My dad passed away when I was in my early 20's and he was just as proud as he could be of me. Afterwards, like any parent, my mum would worry and suggest that maybe I become a nurse, lol, but that didn't last long -- she was stuck with an actor. I have been so lucky to be so supported and would really not be where I am if it wasn't for my family. If I was every going to pick another career, I do believe it would be either with children or animals. I love to take care of and spend time with both.
Do you think you're funny or you just pretend to be?
This question cracks me up. Yep, I think I'm funny. I make myself laugh all the time, I am grateful for my sense of humour, and the fact that it was admired and nourished by my parents from the beginning. I know that I make a difference in people's lives, if I make them laugh.
What's it like working in front of a live audience for "Package Deal" as opposed to no live audience? Do you prepare yourself differently? What if you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of a live scene? Is there a warm-up person before the show starts? Do you get to do multiple takes? What happens if the audience doesn't respond the way you thought they were going to respond?
Working in front of the live audience is absolutely thrilling. The energy, the sense of love and fun from everyone, the joy of being a part of something really special. I have a theatre background -- I love that I get to experience the thrill of an audience and the camera at the same time -- the absolute best of both worlds. It's very exciting to have the audience there, to have the gratification of their response. It's wonderful. It's very satisfying to be challenged in front of the audience, to be put under a spotlight literally and to give results. I do prepare myself differently. We usually get ourselves pumped up with some lively music in the make-up trailer; we are all so loving and supportive of each other, we love the live audience so the cast is a little bit like a team before a game -- we encourage each other and have a good time with jokes and the joy of our show and our characters. We love to play off each other in front of the audience, and the freshness it can bring our performances. Nerves are always a part of it, that's part of the game, but yes, the audience does bring that out more. Ahhh... the bathroom. Such a struggle, drink for hydration, and then hold your pee and run when you get a chance. If you gotta go, you just hold it. But the crew is amazing, if you let them know this issue is occurring, they tell you as soon as it's possible, as soon as there is a little break. There is a warm up before the show begins. Thunderbird productions hire hilarious improvisers and comedians to entertain before, after and in between, when we are setting up or rewrites are happening. They also play scenes from other episodes, so you get to know the characters, and most importantly, there is pizza. We do multiple takes for sure. The writers will have alternative lines for us. And we try them out on the audience. The creator and the writers are all so talented, and it's very exciting to be given a new line in front of the audience, especially because it is usually golden! If the audience doesn't respond, the writers simply let it go and rewrite until we do have a response. That's what's so incredible about the live audience, testing out all the jokes. And sometimes it's surprising which one they laugh at the most. It's so fun.
Did you run around barefoot outdoors as a kid?
I sure did run around barefoot! In fact, I used to get in trouble for it all the time, especially by my dad. He didn't want me to cut myself, but I still love to be barefooted, and in the summer I give in to that for sure.
Are you tired of people recognizing you from your "crying girl" role in the 2004 film "Mean Girls?" Is it fun or annoying when people talk to you about Mean Girls?
No one has ever asked me that, haha. Well, OK, time for a little bit more honesty about it. Yes, sometimes it does get on my nerves. It can be quite constant, so yes. I feel badly even saying that. You see through me! LOL. I am eternally grateful for that part, yes, but not a lot of time passes without me hearing as I enter a room, or walk by, 'she doesn't even go here.' But most of the time, I do like it. I often get approached by people from the part, but because it was 10 years ago, people approaching me on the street is unusual. I have been recognized for other projects, one being "A Valentines Carol". But lately, I have been getting a lot of attention for "Package Deal", and that's been really nice for a change. It's not annoying though when people want to talk about "Mean Girls" but I do like telling them my story about it. I was very inexperienced at the time, being my first job, so my memory of it is a sweet one. I am also always amazed at the attention that little part gets. And when I talk about it to people, and answer questions, they seem to really love it, so that makes me happy. As well, it was an incredible experience, so I don't mind sharing stories about my time with people like Tina Fey. The experiences do change with people, yes. What's happening right now is a new generation of teenagers watching it, so having these young kids approach me about it now, when they were toddlers when I filmed it, makes me smile. It's pretty cute how excited they get by it.
You have a natural talent for Improvisation. Have you ever been to Improv clubs? What is sketch comedy?
Sketch Comedy is when you work with other improvisers to create stories, plots, characters through Improv, then writing a skit to perform, which is loosely scripted. I adored doing this in a variety of groups in my career, but have never hit the big time with it. It's funny, yesterday I was approached by an Improv group here in Vancouver looking for me to work with them. They asked the same question, what was up? Why I wasn't doing it? As I grew older, I focused on my film and TV career more, and theatre. I lost interest for a while, and now I want to go back. I have missed it, and didn't even realize it. So, soon I am hoping I will get my feet wet again in the world of improvisation.
See you in a few days for Part Two!