SKU's new Darkstar (Jourdan Gibson) dishes about her career, the series' upcoming 2nd season and its funtastic IndieGoGo campaign.
A couple weeks ago I published an interview here with Jeff Burns, writer/director/creator of the highly successful super-villain centric web series, Super Knocked Up. In that discussion we talked about SKU's Super-Fundraising Party, its ongoing IndieGoGo campaign and his recasting of the show's lead actress. This time out we hear from Super Knocked Up's *new* Jessica James (a.k.a. Darkstar) -- the intelligent and adorable Jourdan Gibson. Not only has Jourdan signed on to play the series' sexy super-villain, she's also become one of the show's new producers.
You can become a producer too via contributions to SKU's heroic IndieGoGo campaign (ending Oct. 9th), which is helping bring Season Two to your screens with as much punch as possible.
Jourdan Gibson first made waves in cyberspace by starring in the celebrated Cell: The Web Series (read an interview with her about Cell here), now as the vivacious new star of Super Knocked Up she's sure to raise her profile even further. I started off my interview with her by picking up on a question I initially asked Jeff Burns regarding the possibility of a Super Knocked Up music video or musical episode....
Nightfly: Knowing you read my interview with Jeff Burns, I'm curious if you're up for taking SKU somewhere musical?
Jourdan Gibson: I LOVE the idea of doing a music video! I used to sing - I grew up in musical theater, and come from a musical family. It's been a long time since I've sung in public though. But, I think it would be an absolute blast! Writing the songs would be a kick too. I Love writing. We need to do this.
NF: Your credits for this season reveal you're Producing as well as becoming Super Knocked Up's new lead. What can you share about your behind-the-scenes role, and, what inspired you to take on producer duties in addition to reinventing Darkstar?
JG: I've always had a strong interest in stepping behind the camera in the film business sense or in the directing/writing sense. I have my law degree in entrepreneurial and technology law, so any chance I get to apply my law degree or business education/experience to a project that I care about, is an opportunity I'd love to have. On top of all that, Jeff Burns has a TON on his shoulders with producing SKU. I hope I get to help him in so many more ways than I have. This series has already done so well, and it's built an impressive audience. I think the sky's the limit with this show, and I hope I can help it reach its full potential.
NF: You mentioned in one of your SKU introductory videos that you've done a fair amount of stage fighting in your career to date. Is that an aspect of acting you enjoy?
JG: Fight choreography is one of my favorite things. I love doing stunts. I wish I had more opportunities to incorporate play fighting into my life. Such a rush! But, since my brother and I hit adulthood, not too many situations other than acting, really call for play fighting.
NF: Have you ever been injured or accidentally injured someone else while shooting or rehearsing fight choreography?
JG: Two instances come to mind, where I was injured during a fight scene. One was in "CELL: The Web Series", after I had just beat the crap out of another character. I had to twist a bed sheet around this guy's neck, and when he ran off, the sheet ripped through my hands and burned the skin off, because I didn't let go! That was pretty painful. Another choreography injury was during a play I did in LA. I fractured my pinky punching someone! It wasn't too painful though. When you're in the moment, sometimes you don't notice the sting until later that night after you've wrapped filming. Overall, so worth it. I'm extremely excited about the fight choreography for "Super Knocked Up"!
NF: In my interview with Jeff Burns we discussed the commentaries for the SKU dvds and the fact that IndieGoGo contributors at the Superhero/Super-Villain level (and above I'd imagine) get to record their own as well. Have you ever recorded a cast commentary track before? Do you look forward to doing it for SKU: Season Two?
JG: The commentary will be colorful, no doubt. I've never recorded commentary for a project before, but it sounds like so much fun! Assuming I don't laugh through the whole thing, it could be pretty funny getting our thoughts on the show. [Mark] Pezzula is quite the smart ass.
NF: In past interviews you've made it clear that you're a big fan of Alias and Jennifer Garner's iconic character, Sydney Bristow. In that series Bristow occasionally appeared in rather provocative attire. Since Jeff indicated Jessica James won't be pregnant during the entirety of Season Two, I'm wondering if Darkstar will be dressing any sexier this season as compared to last?
JG: Oh, how I love Sydney Bristow! Jennifer Garner is the master of looking ridiculously sexy, but in the classiest way. I have no clue what the costumes are going to look like for Season 2. I know they'll be different than they were in Season 1, and I've heard the word "sexy" thrown around a few times.
NF: On the subject of looking sexy, do you employ any special beauty regimen? Such as a special diet, cosmetics, workout routine, etc?
JG: Getting asked about my diet is hilarious. I was raised in Texas, so I have some pretty intense addictions to sugar and fried food. I have become somewhat strict the past year about making myself eat fruit and veggies every day. I just blend it up and drink it on down. The quicker the better. Regarding exercise, I love to run and play outdoors! I'm active daily. And, as far as beauty products, I use Cetaphil. Love it. So simple and soft.
NF: I meant to ask Jeff about this but forgot to, will you be going Brunette to play Jessica James? Or will she be a blonde this season?
JG: We talked about this for awhile! Aside from brainstorming with the SKU team (cast and crew), Jeff also reached out to some of the fans to get their opinion on the blonde/brunette debate. The decision was made to keep my hair blonde. It's a tricky situation, having a different actress after five episodes. So, we're tackling it head on - this is the new Jessica James! Jeff has expressed his desire for me to bring my unique qualities to Jessica this season and beyond. So, I think we're just saying - obviously, it's a new actress and a new take on the character - let's not try to hide that... let's run with it!
NF: It's funny that you've, thus far, only interacted with the SKU team via Skype. Especially as the craft of acting relies so heavily on personal chemistry. Have you gotten to spend much time with your male co-lead Mark Pezzula? If I recall correctly, you jokingly referred to him as a "delicate flower" in one of your recent vlogs?
JG: Yes! How crazy is it that so far, I've only talked with Jeff and Mark through Skype?! We were just laughing about that yesterday. They're both so kind and fun. I feel like I already know them pretty well. I'm so ready to get up to NY and start working with these guys. And I definitely called Mark a "delicate flower, maybe a tulip" in one of my video blogs. But, I'd say his qualities of being naturally hilarious and self deprecating overwhelm his floral attributes. He and Jeff are outstanding guys, and I'm so thankful that they chose to collaborate with me. I feel very blessed.
NF: Speaking of cast collaborations, and being that you have some pull as a series Producer, are there any past castmates or actor friends of yours you'd like to see on Super Knocked Up in whatever capacity (guest star, cast regular, cameo)?
JG: Yes! Two of my favorite people on earth are Kevin McCarthy and Danny Cameron. They played my nemesis and my love interest in CELL. I would love to act opposite them again. They're both so good. Kevin and I actually acted in another project together before CELL, and I remember just staring at him during his scenes with my jaw dropped - he's just so natural and believable! I'd love to put them in some super hero spandex and a cape! They'd be very entertaining super heroes.
NF: In researching you for this interview I noticed that, alongside Sydney Bristow from Alias, you often cite Buffy the Vampire Slayer as one of your all-time favorite characters. Are you also a Browncoat (i.e, superfan of Firefly/Serenity) as well?
JG: I adore anything that was created in Joss Whedon's brain. So, of course I love Firefly and Serenity. I owe a huge "thank you" to Mark Gardner (creator/writer/director of CELL: The Web Series) for introducing me to Firefly. Joss created such a cool world with so many layers and interesting characters in that show. It might be his most addictive project to watch. It's just as dark as it is light, and...Nathan Fillion - best personality on earth.
NF: In your official Super Knocked Up Q&A you named She-Ra, He-Man's sister, as your favorite childhood superhero. Did you ever imagine back in those days that you'd grow up to be working in the fictonal world of superheroes?
JG: I was such a confident little girl, who was 100% certain that I'd grow up to fight crimes and to win an Oscar®. Why I thought those two things went hand in hand, I'm not sure. My adult self has a much harder time processing the awesomeness of that reality than my 8-year-old self would have. I inherited my Dad's love of science fiction and the super hero genre, and also took-on my great grandmother's passion for theater. It makes sense that now, my dream acting roles involve fight scenes and super natural capabilities.
NF: Have you read Super Knocked Up's first season comic book, "One Night Stand," yet? And if so, what'd you think?
JG: Oh yeah, the Season 1 comic book is SO cool! I can hardly wait to see the version from Season 2!
NF: Do you still buy and/or collect any comics these days?
JG: The most recent comic books I bought were 4 issues of Bad Kids Go To Hell - it was creepy awesome.
NF: It made me smile seeing Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series mentioned in your SKU Q&A. Being a lifelong devotee of Henson's myself, I'm curious which Muppets were (or are) your most beloved?
JG: My brother and I LOVED Fraggle Rock! Our favorite character was Gobo, the one who played the guitar. He was so optimistic and... he played the guitar. Plus, pink/purple hair? Perfect. From the Muppets, my favorites were Kermit because he's so sweet and BEAKER!! Beaker, what a mess. He still makes me laugh so hard. Sometimes I make the Beaker noise to myself when I'm screwing something up or being a klutz, which happens a lot. And one of my favorite movies growing up was Jim Henson's Labyrinth - I was obsessed with that film. It's so freaking weird and beautiful.
NF: Clearly you're a super-cool Geek Girl. In reference to Team Unicorn's groundbreaking song "G33K & G4M3R Girls", I'm wondering if you're a Gamer Girl too?
JG: I probably haven't played enough to qualify as a Gamer Girl, so I'd say Geek is a more accurate description. Someone needs to introduce me to gaming in a major way! I do love that Team Unicorn video though. Simultaneously cute and bad ass - not an easy combo to pull off.
Nightfly: Our purpose here, of course, was to talk about Super Knocked Up's upcoming season and current IndieGoGo campaign, but, before I let you go I wondered if there's any charity or non-profit organization close to your heart that you'd like to mention and/or promote?
Jourdan Gibson: I would love to give a shout out to my friends' documentary (Directed by Ben Blair, Produced by Hilary Wagner) called "Maji Zuwa, A Documentary". The film documents the lives of children in an orphanage on Lake Malawi. It highlights the devastating conditions of the area along with the beautiful hope and promise within the children of the village. Their IndieGoGo campaign has ended, but there's still opportunity to give. Check out their cause here.
SKU's IndieGoGo campaign will end in just over a week, but there's still time to help fund its second season. Go here to peruse their cool producer perks while there's still time and help to make Jourdan's first season as Jessica James a success. Stay informed by following Gibson and Super Knocked Up on twitter and Facebook, and make sure to check out the Season Two IndieGoGo page each week for new content. You can also see Jourdan, Mark and Jeff live in-person at New York Comic-Con Oct. 13-14!
I've thoroughly enjoyed Super Knocked Up from the very beginning and can't wait to behold what's to come. It's also been my distinct pleasure getting to interview the lovely & talented Jourdan Gibson and super-showrunner Jeff Burns about this funtastic series. I hope to bring you additional cast interviews as its second superlative season gets underway.
If you haven't watched Super Knocked Up's first season yet, treat yourself to an amazing ride with its very first episode here.