Interview with Jenna Stern

Jenna Stern recently co-starring in the film, “The Best and the Brightest”.  Her character, “Katharine, easily steals the show as the inappropriate school’s head of admissions.  Movie Mikes had a chance chat with Jenna about her role in the film and also what else she has planned.

Mike Gencarelli: Growing up in the business was acting something you always wanted to pursue?
Jenna Stern: It was always around me. I was late coming to the profession. I had thought about it but didn’t feel comfortable enough to pursue it until a little bit later.

MG: How did you come on board to play Katharine in “The Best and the Brightest”?
JS: It was an audition and I was always very skeptical. I guess that’s from growing up in the business but I don’t believe anybody! (Laughs) I figured they were just going to cast whoever but I walked in and all the people auditioning were friends of mine. We all had traded jobs back and forth over the years and they had a great group, so I then started to think it was not total BS. I read the script and it really made me laugh. I thought it was great that the arc continued the entire way through the film as this part could have been just a foil for a couple of scenes. It was really Josh (Shelov) and Michael (Jaeger)’s commitment to every character to have an arc for each one. Keep in mind that I figured I was going to end up on the cutting room floor! (Laughs) I am happy with the way the film came out and they were true to their word.

MG: How long did the scene in your office where you are reading poetry take? It looked as though it was really fun to shoot.
JS: It was fun. That was also my audition scene. I think on the auditions are going to be included on the DVD. You will hear Josh basically howling with laughter on the couch next to me. I had a basic idea of what I wanted to do with the role and he responded immediately. That was the second day of shooting for me and I have to say there was a bit of pressure on my part. I didn’t know it at the time but there were a bunch of producers watching the scene being shot but, I knew what I wanted to do and knew what it had to be so we shot it in the afternoon and we got it.

MG: Overall would you consider it a fun production and what was it like working with the rest of the cast?
JS: It was the most fun I have ever had in my entire career. I couldn’t believe how great everyone was. The producers really set the tone from the top down. Josh was amazing as a director and writer as was Michael as a writer. Josh never lost his head and no one ever screamed. The crew and everyone had a great sense of humor and we all worked very hard. We had this MTV type home we shot in that was gorgeous. It was great!

MG: Can you tell us about “Game Change” and working with Jay Roach?
JS: It’s pretty exciting and the book itself is very interesting. Jay and Danny Strong who also did “Recount” have quite a track record with these kinds of political docu-dramas. My character was first up as was Julianne (Moore)’s who was just getting into her Palin make-up and hair. She was incredible to work with. Someone told me later that it was really great to shoot the scene as I played the stylist hired to transform the Palin’s. It was nice to have that in the beginning rather than to just have it thrown in somewhere. It was really fun and top notch. Incredible cast!

MG: Do you have project you are working on currently that you can tell us about?
JS:  I am in a two actor household as my husband is also an actor. So we got the family work juggle that a lot of actors and actresses do.  I have a big guest star on the second episode of the new CBS show “A Gifted Man” with Patrick Wilson.  It is directed by Jonathan Kaplan, who did “The Accused”, which earned Jodie Foster her first Oscar.  I also have a reoccurring role as a Judge on “Law & Order SVU”.  So some good things coming up!


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