Sunday, June 21, 2009

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: BOLD Jacqueline MacInnes Wood Loves a Challenge

Canadian born Jacqueline MacInnes Wood has played Steffy Forreseter, the fraternal twin daughter of Dr. Taylor Hayes (Hunter Tylo) and Ridge Forrester (Ronn Moss), on THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL since May 2008. She also just wrapped on Skyrunners, the first original movie for new channel, Disney XD, about two boys who find a UFO. She's accomplished a lot in her career at a young age (she turned 22 in April), but thanks to a solid family and being prepared for the business, she's handled it all in stride.

The stylish actress recently spoke with We Love Soaps about her journey from Windsor to Los Angeles, her role on THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL and her dreams for the future.

We Love Soaps: How did you got started as an actress?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I think it was something I always knew I wanted to do. But my Mom stressed that I should have my childhood life. She didn't want to just throw me into it. She told me to have a backup plan, but if I really wanted to do it, go for it. I just loved the thought of playing different characters and challenging myself. I was able to go to those dark places and wasn't afraid of it. I definitely had my childhood and my teenage years, and wanted to spend that time finding out who I am. I'm very lucky the way I was raised.

We Love Soaps: How did your parents feel when you told them you wanted to pursue acting as a career?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: My Mom has had my back from day one. She is a hard worker and knew it would be a lot of hard work. She was definitely there to discipline me and keep me on track. My Dad knew I was going to do it, but would prefer I be in Windsor (her hometown in Ontario, Canada), but he had my back as well. He was worried when I moved to Toronto, then Vancouver, then to a different country, but he's cool with it now. I've been lucky to have supportive parents.

We Love Soaps: When did you move to Los Angeles?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I was in Toronto taking classes and honing my skills. Everyone wants to move to L.A. and become an actor or someone in the industry, and for me, I thought it was best to hone my craft in Toronto. I worked on a few projects there and learned as much as possible and then moved to Vancouver. I was lucky to book my first audition there with Nightmare at the End of the Hall. It was a challenging role and I played two characters (Laurel/Jane). It was steep, raw emotion that I was going through day in and day out for two months. That role gave me the confidence to move to L.A. I went down in early April 2008 and shockingly THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL was my first audition.

We Love Soaps: So you didn't have to spend time waiting tables or taking another job like many young actors in L.A.
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I moved to L.A. with no money and no car. I had money from the movie in my pocket. I didn't know anyone in L.A. or know any places to go. My agent got me this [B&B] audition and by the time I got home late that day, I had a call back. It's been a whirlwind ever since.

I am so thankful and appreciative of it. I'm not ever going to get used to it. I'm very lucky. But I worked my butt off in Toronto when I knew I wanted to act and I was prepared. You go to L.A. and everyone's beautiful and everyone's funny, and your confidence can shrink, but you have to stay true to who you are. I laugh about it with my mom. I say, 'I'm a Canadian Girl, and I have some Indian in me, and I'm Scottish. But I'm exotic, because I'm down to earth in L.A.' I just try to be myself and not let anyone else define me. I'm able to laugh at myself which helps.

We Love Soaps: What was your B&B audition like?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: The audition was with [THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL casting director] Christy Dooley, and I was so nervous. My hands were sweating and my feet were sweating. In Canada the audition process is so different. It's small, and you know everyone from the actors to the casting directors. You just walk up the stairs, do it, and walk out. Here, it's a huge process, especially the soap auditions. They give you so much dialogue the night before. Usually an audition is 2-10 pages, but this was like 15 pages of monologues. I got that at 7 o'clock the night before. I remember going in to the CBS Network studio, and I had my friend's car and drove in through all this security. Inside I passed these posters of all the faces from BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL and recognized the actors I grew up with. Once I got in there, I gave it my all. I was nervous when I walked in and tried to hide that as much as possible. Christy was behind a desk and I was basically crying and screaming right at her. It's a different vibe in L.A. for auditions but I felt good when I walked out, but didn't think I would book it. I thought maybe I would get a call back or maybe not but it was my first audition and felt like I did a good read.

We Love Soaps: It sounds like you were familiar with B&B.
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: Yes. I knew the faces from seeing the show when I was growing up.

We Love Soaps: Were you auditioning specifically for the role of Steffy?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I had no idea. Sometimes the show wants somebody new and you don't even know what you're going in for. When I used to watch the show, I would see Hunter Tylo and think we had a similar look and that I looked like her. Usually when people tell you that you look like somebody, you don't believe it, but I actually thought it was true. I grew up with the show and knew the faces. It makes sense I would be playing her daughter. My first day of shooting was with Ronn Moss and Hunter Tylo.

We Love Soaps: Have you ever talked to Ronn Moss about his "Baby Come Back" days in the rock band Player?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I have such a funny story about that. I know the song, but I didn't know he was in the band. I know it's terrible and I should have known. He came into work the other day and had this t-shirt on that had 'Player' on it. And I started busting his balls about announcing that he was a 'player' all day. I was telling him that I was the real player around there. Then our make-up artist told me, 'Jacquie, that's the band he was in.' I knew the song for ages, but just didn't know the band.

We Love Soaps: If someone were new to B&B and seeing Steffy for the first time without knowing the back story, how you would describe her?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: Steffy's young and she's learning about herself. She's a very honest person in a not so honest world. She's a straight shooter who shoots from the hip. She thinks she knows the way but really doesn't. She's now about finding love and finding herself and bringing her family together.

We Love Soaps: I was just reading Steffy's bio and her 10th birthday is coming up this September. The magic of SORASing!
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: [Laughs] Maybe I will celebrate that!

We Love Soaps: What has your first year been like on the show?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: It has been amazing. I truly feel like I am at home. Some of the cast have been there since day one, and they are the coolest people in the world. They are so down to earth, and I can have a conversation with any of them, and they really feel like family. They're always there to support you and make you laugh and there's not a day that goes by that I'm not in stitches laughing.

We Love Soaps: Speaking of laughing, if I was taping a scene with Ridge and Rick (Kyle Lowder), and Ridge started saying, "RICK," I would not be able to keep it together. I've seen their clips on THE SOUP so much it's hard not to think about that when watching.
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: THE SOUP is my favorite show. I acutally went with two of the make-up artists on the show [when Moss and Lowder were on] and I walked up with Joel McHale and said, 'So you're making fun of my Dad.' He had no clue who I was, but I let him know. You try to get through those scenes and you have to try so hard to not laugh. Sometimes I'm shooting a scene with Kyle Lowder or Ronn Moss and when they know the camera is on me, they start making the funny faces. We have one take, and you're done, so they're trying to make me crack.

We Love Soaps: In what ways has your life changed since joining B&B?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I'm the same person, but life has gotten faster. I go to certain events and think, 'Wow, am I really here?' I just did a rally race for kids for cancer with Gene Simmons, and you have these conversations with great people and I wonder how this happened. I'm having fun!

We Love Soaps: Do you get recognized on the street more now?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I do. You would think with all the hair colors I've changed to, people wouldn't recognize me, but it's happened more and more. It's cool though. My fans are so cool and down to earth. But I doubt I'll ever get used to that.

We Love Soaps: B&B once again won the Golden Nymph recently as the most viewed soap opera in the world. Have you made any international trips outside North America for the show?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I was just in New Zealand a month ago, but I was working on my Disney project. While I was there I had time to do some press for the show. I will definitely make it out to Europe at some point. My character just debuted in Italy two months ago.

We Love Soaps: The show is so popular there. You'll get mobbed.
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: Hey, I like Italian boys, so I'm okay with that. [Laughs]

We Love Soaps: How do you feel about Steffy's relationships with Marcus and Rick?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: Marcus and Rick are the best of both worlds. Marcus is a good guy. Rick is kind of a bad boy, but Steffy always has hope there. Steffy has chemistry with both of them. I know it's hard for the viewers who sometimes want Steffy to get a backbone. But I think this happens in real life, where you are in love and no matter what advice people give you, you aren't going to take it. I think her heart is with Rick, but she's growing up and taking it slow.

We Love Soaps: Do you have a favorite scene you've played on B&B? I thought the scenes after Phoebe's death were really good.
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: Thank you. I really liked the reaming Rick out when she yelled at him for the recording. That was fun. I watched that scene and remember my face turning red, and thought it was interesting to see that come out of me. For us, it's an every day job and you have to separate your work from your life. It's sometimes hard on those days when Steffy is crying and whining all day.

We Love Soaps: Like the day Steffy was crying in the morgue over Phoebe's body.
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I was exhausted that day. I got the dialogue the night before, and we were shooting until 11 o'clock that night and I had an 8am call time the next morning. When I am crying like that all day I sometimes get a migraine. When I was in the morgue, it was actually really eerie to see a person on the table like that.

We Love Soaps: Has it become easier to memorize your lines over time?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: My agent always jokes with me because he remembers other actors and me complaining about having to learn five pages for an audition. Now that's nothing to do. The brain is like a muscle and the more you do it, the easier it becomes. I think the most I've had is 75 pages that I had to memorize the night before. The words have to be secondary to the emotion though. We have a lot of dialogue shooting eight episodes a week.

We Love Soaps: What's it like working with executive producer and head writer Brad Bell?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: Brad Bell is the coolest guy. He has so many great ideas, and I love talking with him. He's the head honcho, but you can chat with him and have a conversation with him. I can talk to him about storylines and he's very open to ideas. He's always working though. Even when you're talking to him, he's always thinking about the storylines in his mind. I can't say enough about him.

We Love Soaps: So now that you are in Los Angeles, what do you do for fun when you're not memorizing your lines?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I am a dancing queen. You'll usually catch me on the dance floor, and I'm probably the only person dancing! I DJ on the side, and I'm very big into electro and house. And just hanging out with good people, going to great restaurants. I like to go to stand up comedy which is right down the street for me. I can drive out to go surfing or go to an amusement park. There are so many things to do.

We Love Soaps: Are there any actresses who have inspired you or that you admire?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I love Kate Winslett. I'm a big fan of Goldie Hawn. I love comedies and I think there's a lot of funny women out there now. Evan Rachel Wood is amazing.

We Love Soaps: What are your long-term goals and aspirations in the business? Do you want to do more TV? Film? Theater? Would you like to do comedy?
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: Some scenes I try to put comedy in there, but I'm not sure if they like that. [Laughs] I would love to do a comedy, sure. I would also like to do something really racy and edgy, and could be something like a heroin addict to anything that lets me go to those deep, dark places and show a different side of me. I am open to anything right now, taking it day by day, and just always want to challenge myself.

Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps and is currently a producer on THE BAY and executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals.

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