'Locke & Key' star Genevieve Kang says her character Jackie Veda is the 'moral compass' of this story
In an exclusive interview with MEA World Wide, the actress talked about playing Jackie Veda and what it was like working on the show
Fans of 'Locke & Key' graphic novel were in for a few surprises in the television adaptation, some of which involved brand new characters being introduced to the show. One of them is Jackie Veda, played by Genevieve Kang, who spoke to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) in this exclusive interview.
What can you tell us about Jackie Veda? How were you introduced to the character?
Jackie is everyone’s friend. She is someone who really cares about others and genuinely wants to do good in the world. She has a real sense of who she is and strives to see the best in people. But she is also not afraid to call them on their bullshit, as we see in the first season.
I wasn't familiar with the graphic novels before joining the project. Prior to my chemistry test with Connor Jessup, who plays Tyler Locke, I was given the first four scripts, and from cross-referencing the scripts with detailed information about the graphic novels online, I quickly learned that Jackie is significantly different in the adapted series than in the novels. I made the decision right then and there to not read the graphic novels and instead approach the scripts as their own unique standalone material.
Jackie is one of the few characters who have no real comic book equivalent. What do you feel she brings to the 'Locke & Key' story?
One of the first things that our showrunner, Meredith Averill, told me about Jackie was that she is the moral compass of this story. Jackie represents order amidst the chaos. She serves as a kind of guidepost, particularly to Tyler's journey. Also, because Jackie is so much more rooted in reality than many of the other characters (and a bit of a skeptic upon first learning about the magic), it's this groundedness that nicely contrasts the world of magic as it unfolds.
What has the experience of shooting 'Locke & Key' been like?
So wonderful. We have such a great creative team behind this project. Our writers, producers, the directors brought on for this first season, plus the incredible cast and all of our crew in both Toronto and Nova Scotia — everyone really wanted to be there and that made going to work all the more enjoyable. Everyone showed up to do their part and I think that’s evident when you watch the show.
What does the existence of actual magic mean to Jackie? Does it change the way she sees the world?
Yes. Before learning about the magic, Jackie is so sure of herself and her purpose in life. So once she learns about the magic, she’s put in a position to question her beliefs and values. That said, I also think that after her initial shock of learning about the magic, Jackie is genuinely curious. She’s smart and although the magic is seemingly out of her realm of comprehension, she wants to understand it and how this new knowledge fits into (or not) her previous perception of the world around her.
Connor Jessup has talked about how he'd like to see the show explore how close Tyler is to becoming an adult, and forgetting that magic is real. How do you think Jackie would feel about forgetting magic, now that she knows it's real?
The prospect of becoming an adult and forgetting the magic is interesting, as it serves as this metaphor for getting older and forgetting about who we were in our youth. In a way, Jackie is future-focused and has this desire to grow up, insofar that she’s really driven and exudes maturity and self-awareness; she knows what she wants. And because the magic — at least initially — has been a point of inner conflict for Jackie and her beliefs, I don’t think she’d mind forgetting about it. But in reference to my last response, now that Jackie knows about the magic, I think she genuinely wants to learn more — even if the primary reason is because more knowledge about the keys and their powers would allow her to keep the magic in check.
It takes a while for Jackie to get to know Tyler. What was her first impression of him like?
On the one hand, Jackie finds Tyler really sweet and she instinctively knows that there is more to him than meets the eye. However, I also think that due to the crowd (the jocks) that Tyler immediately gravitates towards and some of his behavior early on, Jackie also wonders if he is just like every other guy in high school. She’s undecided.
What kind of stories are you hoping to see from Jackie in a potential Season 2?
Throughout the first season, Jackie is trying to get Tyler to open up. She knows he has a more vulnerable side to him, which she really likes. But he is still keeping a part of himself locked away. So, I hope as Tyler continues to learn more about who he really wants to be, that it brings the two of them closer together. It would also be lovely to explore more of where Jackie is coming from. One of my favorite scenes to shoot was when Jackie confronts Tyler at the party about his behavior, simply because we get to see a different side of her. I’d like Jackie 2.0 to be less put together and a bit more unhinged. I also wouldn’t mind if Jackie got to play with magic — I mean, she’s cautious but curious.
What is your favorite key?
My favorite key is the ghost key. The ability to fly, walk through walls and talk to the dead — what’s not to like?
Are there any other projects you are working on that you would like to talk about?
You can see me in the upcoming feature 'Run This Town' with Ben Platt and Damien Lewis, in theatres on March 6. I am also in the film 'Nose To Tail', which is out now in select theatres across Canada and will be available for streaming soon.