Close Up With Jodelle Ferland

At the age of just 13, Canadian actress Jodelle Ferland has already made a considerable mark in the world of film and television. She’s appeared in high-profile movies such as Silent Hill and Good Luck Chuck, and Terry Gilliam’s disturbingly surreal Tideland hung its entire premise on her ability to carry a film along distinctly adult themes. On television, Ferland has appeared in many of the shows shooting in her native British Columbia, including Smallville, Dead Like Me, Kingdom Hospital, The Collector and Supernatural. Stargate SG-1 fans will have also seen her before – playing Adria aged 7 in the episode ‘Flesh and Blood’. It was this role that caught the attention of writer/producer Martin Gero, who wrote ‘Harmony’ especially for Ferland. And the actress could not have been more delighted.

“I had a lot of fun on both of them,” she says of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. “First of all, the costumes – they’re the most amazing costumes I’ve ever had! They make everything themselves and when you go for the first time, they’re basically putting material on you to see which ones go well. It’s so neat to think that they make it all themselves, the dresses and everything. They have such amazing costumes on that show!”

Ferland herself points out that a lot of the roles she plays are pretty sinister. To be honest, that’s probably not only because she’s talented enough to pull them off – watching her on screen, there’s just something slightly unsettling about someone so young exuding such professional maturity. ‘Harmony’ was therefore something of a departure for her, and a lot of fun as a result.

“I thought it was going to be probably one of the most fun roles to play,” she says happily. “I always get to play scary roles, and Stargate SG-1 – it wasn’t scary, so that was good, but I wasn’t exactly a nice character. In this one, I’m a nice little girl. I’m a mean little girl, but at least I’m not scary! I like being mean – in movies,” she laughs. “It’s fun.”

Harmony’s ‘meanness’ is delightful to watch, particularly when she’s tormenting Rodney McKay, who doesn’t know how to handle women at the best of times, let alone a sharp-witted teen. One scene that really sticks out is the incident with the powerbar, which was memorable to the actress because the script required her to stuff most of the high-energy snack into her mouth and eat it. And every new take meant starting a new powerbar…

“We were saying, ‘We can’t eat that many powerbars!’ Powerbars are for when you’re exercising – you can’t eat that many in a day,” Ferland laughs. “[So] they were fruit leathers – dried fruit bars. You know what, since then, I’m practically addicted to them. I used to like them a lot and then I stopped eating them for a while. Then I did that show, and now I’m like, ‘Ooh – fruit leathers, more, more more.’ I love them!”

Harmony also finds herself right in the middle of some high-octane action, which Ferland was more than happy to throw herself into.

“I don’t usually do a lot of that kind of shooting and running stuff. I was really looking forward to that. It was a lot of fun. We had to put earplugs in and everything, and I had never done all that so I never knew how they did [it]. It was really cool – that was one of the parts I was looking forward to.”

Those action scenes took place on location, which the actress says had only one draw back…

“There were a lot of bugs,” she says. “David [Hewlett] was just like – he took a bottle of bug spray, and totally sprayed himself from head to toe with it! I was like, ‘Ew! So much bug spray!’ Apparently they’ve been in that forest quite a bit, and they were saying, ‘Oh yeah, we’ve done so many scenes in this spot before…’ It was funny. They [David Hewlett and Joe Flanigan] are so much fun to work with. They’re really, really funny. They’re always making jokes.”

There’s no hesitation when Ferland is asked about her most vivid memory from filming the episode – and it has to do with another wonderful costume by Val Halverson.

“The scene at the end where I’m the Queen,” the actress exclaims. “I have a picture in my room of myself sitting in the chair with the costume on and everything. That was my favorite costume – I know I only had three, but that was my favorite! It was so nice.”

As we know, Harmony’s story doesn’t end when Sheppard and McKay return to Atlantis. She’s now Queen, and has to govern her people wisely. So does Ferland think we should go back and see how she’s getting on?

“I want to do more! She was one of the most fun characters I’ve ever played! I would love to do it again,” she says, with charming enthusiasm. “I think I’d be a good queen! But if I’m a good queen and everything’s going well, then there’s no story, is there? Something would have to go wrong…”

Interview  courtesy of the Official Stargate Website