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Because Taken is only four episodes into its freshman season, it has been hard to connect with the very large supporting cast. Besides the two leads, Clive Standen and Jennifer Beals, whose characters have been the focus to this point, we know little about eight people who make up the two teams surrounding them. That all changed this week when Riley’s character got to step up and be the focus. She is one of my favourite supporting characters as she has that quirky, kind of geeky vibe that brings lightness to an otherwise intense action drama. I love me some quirk.
I had the chance to talk to Jennifer Marsala, who plays Riley, about the character,
She’s loyal. She’s got a great sense of humour. She’s incredibly smart. She has a flexibility of thought that I think is necessary to be able to do this kind of work. One of my favourite things about her. How do you maintain a sense of humour in scenarios like this? And what kind of person are you when you feel like it is necessary to do that? You are dealing with life and death situations. I’m really fascinated by the kind of person who can joke in those situations.
Everyone knows that the focus of the show is how Bryan Mills got his “particular set of skills” but each character brings something to the covert team. Jennifer told me that Riley’s skills include making a mean cup of coffee and writing limericks (at least in Jennifer’s mind). She’s quick on the keyboard, although Jennifer, herself is not,
The great thing about doing shows for any technology is we have these fabulous people who basically make that happens on the screen happen for us. We aren’t responsible for anything. They don’t leave anything to actors.
Jennifer is picking up some social media skills quite quickly as she learns to Instagram and live tweets the episodes. If you don’t already follow her, you should. She’s hilarious.
Source Jennifer Marsala and Jennifer Beals not having any fun on set.
Monday’s episode gave us a glimpse into the relationship that Riley has with her boss, Christina Hart, played by Jennifer Beals, whom she has worked with on a few other TV shows including Lie to Me and the currently filming The Last Tycoon.
From Riley’s point of view, she believes Christina Hart is going to be her mentor. She lost her mother and obviously a strong female character in her life is somebody who would be important to her. She sees Christina Hart as someone she wants to emulate. And Hart sees those elements in Riley as well. As the season goes on, you also see their relationship develop and the fact that there is a caring between them that’s just a different dynamic from other members of the team.
Riley is not a field agent but was used in this episode as one to develop an asset. Jennifer thinks Riley’s desire is to be out in the field. Her hope is that Riley gets to show her other skills by going out in the field if the series is picked up for a second season.
Jennifer is a stand up comedian so I had to ask her about on set pranks.
Clive is the instigator of all on set pranks. I think the boys got it much more heavily than the girls did. I shutter to think in season 2 what kind of pranks are waiting.
Watch out Clive, she’s already plotting for next season.
Source Jennifer showing Clive Standen some of her particular set of skills
Although the tone of the show is very serious, Jennifer told me that the cast has a really good time together. On set, the cast does a lot of singing. The two Jennifers, Monique Curnen and Simu Liu did a lot of late night sing alongs to pass the time specifically “Hold On” by Wilson Philips.
I realized while talking to Jennifer that she would fit in nicely here at That’s Normal. Her fangirl moment would be meeting Christopher Guest as Waiting for Guffman is her favourite movie,
I would probably be such a crazy fan (if I met him) that he would run away from me. And then I would repeat one million lines from his movies and then he would think I was a stalker and run a way.
She is never more than 5 feet away from anything cheesy, it would be her weakness if she had a superpower.
I could have talked to her all afternoon about her love of brunch, but not exercise, and her guilty pleasure of playing the tambourine but, sadly, real life did get in the way.
Jennifer did drop this little tease about the rest of Taken Season One right before we ended our conversation…
I did forget to say the one thing you can anticipation is all of the men in our cast have incredible abs. I think you get to see that more throughout the season which is a delight for all of us.
Yes, Jennifer, you fit in nicely here at That’s Normal. We would gladly skip Pilates to have mac and cheese with you.