Julie Ann Emery guest-stars in the first new NCIS episode of 2014, the long-anticipated “Kill Chain” which airs this Tuesday - but you can read Part 1 of our exclusive two–part interview with the actress today. It was a delight interacting with Julie Ann; she is down-to-earth and has a great sense of humor which comes across in our chat. Below is Part 1 of our interview.
Pat Ryder: Welcome to Examiner.com, Julie Ann. We know you can’t reveal details about your role as Erin Pace in “Kill Chain”, but can you tell us which NCIS characters (cast or guest stars) you filmed with?
Julie Ann Emery: Thanks for having me, Pat. In "Kill Chain" I worked primarily with Mark Harmon (Leroy Jethro Gibbs), Michael Weatherly (Anthony DiNozzo), Emily Wickersham (Ellie Bishop), and guest star Susanna Thompson (Hollis Mann), as well as, a quick scene with Sean Murray (Timothy McGee). To say they were all gracious, fun, and creatively giving would be a huge understatement.
"Michael Weatherly and I had a little photo/twitter fun as an added bonus." - Julie Ann Emery, talking about the photo of the two actors on set that Weatherly tweeted to fans on November 22, 2013.
It can be difficult coming in as a guest star on a long running show like NCIS, but this cast and crew were so very welcoming that they made it a breeze.
PR: What was a typical day on the set like? Some viewers are not aware that there can be a great deal of waiting around until your scene is shot.
JAE: There can be a lot of waiting around on any film set. But this crew is like a well-oiled machine, they really know how to move the day along. Nice crew, gracious cast, yummy Crafty (PR: Craft Services department that provides snacks & sometimes dinner on the run to the cast & crew), and a commitment to the scene at hand....what’s not to love about any day on the NCIS set. Seriously, it’s one of those sets that you are sad to leave.
PR: We saw the pictures of you tied up and duct taped in the back of a van. Were there any other particularly memorable or funny moments behind the scenes with the NCIS cast members that won’t be spoilers?
JAE: Well, Michael Weatherly drew a nice little pic of the above mentioned van for me in one of our scenes, complete with rhyming couplets. (PR: See "Related Photo" and slideshow above to see this and other photos from the NCIS set.) Mark Harmon’s sweet dog laid on my feet during a rehearsal (made me feel right at home). Truthfully, the mood on the set itself is very light and fun. Did I mention I was sad to leave when I was wrapped?
PR: Had you previously watched NCIS at all?
JAE: Of course!! Who hasn’t? I have always loved the tone of the show. They have managed to keep the humor threading through it, season after season, in a way that is completely true to their characters. When we did the table read for “Kill Chain”, I could not stop myself from obnoxiously laughing out loud at one scene in particular. Writer Chris Silber did a terrific job on this one.
PR: Speaking of scriptwriter Christopher Silber, I had the privilege of conducting an interview with him about "Kill Chain" as well. Did you have any interaction with Mr. Silber on the set?
JAE: Christopher Silber was on set every day with a smile. He has a great temperament, tons of talent, and is just a fun guy to be around. I was describing him to my husband after my first day on set and I said, “You know, he’s someone we would choose to be friends with.” I feel like the NCIS set is where people are allowed to be the nice human beings they really are. That quality is valued there.
PR: Regarding dailies or even when a project is wrapped and done…do you as a rule like to watch yourself on film, and are you overly critical of your own performance?
JAE: I am BEYOND critical of my own work. I always tell actors they have to watch themselves 4-7 times in a given scene before they can be remotely objective. It sounds like a lot, but if I only watched a scene I was in once and walked away, I would crawl under the bed and never dare to step on a set again. I’m not so sure I “like” to watch myself on film, but I do find it necessary in order to continually be a better artist.
PR: Which character have you played in your career that is most like yourself?
JAE: I did a short lived series for ABC called “Line of Fire” written and directed by Rod Lurie. I poured more of myself into the character of Special Agent Jennifer Sampson than I ever had before or since. I still miss playing her.
PR: You use Twitter quite a bit to communicate with fans and fellow actors. In fact, Twitter is how some NCIS fans were introduced to you (via tweets from cast members). How do you feel about social media in general and Twitter in particular?
JAE: I prefer Twitter to other social media, and am definitely most active there. Though I started really getting into Instagram this summer when my husband (actor Kevin Earley) and I took a cross-country camping and hiking trip. I happen to enjoy Twitter. I like having a way to communicate in the moment with fans. I am also a geek/nerd in a lot of areas, so I get really into following certain feeds. College Football, a few Gaming feeds, Digital Media (web series world), and Journalists (I want to be Christiane Amanpour when I grow up).
Enjoy the above slideshow of photos from Julie Ann's Instagram account, used with permission.
PR: Since we’re talking about social media and some of your interests there, what else keeps you busy when you’re not performing?
JAE: I’m a College Football fan. I also love playing Halo with my husband on date night (Reach is my favorite), and we do some pretty serious hiking trips in our down time.
Watch for Part 2 of my interview with Julie Ann Emery for details about her web series “Then We Got HELP!”, find out what it’s like to work with husband Kevin Earley, plus – in true “Six Degrees of Separation” fashion, learn about Julie Ann’s previous connection to the NCIS world and how she landed the "Kill Chain" gig!
Next up, an interview with NCIS Co-Executive Producer and "Kill Chain" scriptwriter Christopher Silber.