Fresh from the release of ‘Christmas Jars’, actor Jeni Ross gave us some insight into the process of preparing for the role.
How did you start your career as an actress?
I’ve been surrounded by the industry my entire life as my Mom is an actress and theatre producer. I started auditioning and performing in commercials when I was 9 years old. It wasn’t until I started high school when I decided that acting was something I truly wanted to pursue as my career.
What was your process of preparing for the role?
As most projects do, Christmas Jars came together very quickly for me. I had about two weeks from my initial audition to booking the job and flying to Ottawa to begin filming. Its not every day that I get to work on a project based on such a classic and well loved book, so getting to prepare for a role with access to such wonderful source material was incredible. During the first week of filming I was also able to sit down with Jason Wright and really talk about the character and what the story meant to him and his family. Hearing about the entire Christmas Jars movement that has existed years before I was even involved in the project brought so much meaning and insight into the already touching script. Without spoiling too much, the climax of the film is an extremely emotional scene for Hope. I felt quite a bit of pressure leading up to shooting it but once we got to the day, that scene was filmed in one take. It was near the end of filming, and with all the emotional build up leading to that scene, everything happened so organically. The cards aligned that day and that scene is now hands down my favorite in the film.
Were you aware of the Christmas Jars movement?
I wasn’t aware of the Christmas Jars movement until a few days into the filming process. It was so inspiring to hear all the stories of peoples lives who were changed by this book, and it added a level of depth and importance to the script that I’m so grateful for. It really helped put into perspective how important this story is and how much it means to people. I think this film will show as a reminder that there is still a massive audience for positive, uplifting stories and that our society needs more of them.
What was the dynamic like between you and the rest of the crew?
The dynamic on set couldn’t have been better. Our director Jonathan Wright was a dream. Not only is he an extremely talented director, but he also is responsible for many major rewrites in the script. His positive and encouraging attitude on set was appreciated and noticed by everyone working on the project. The Christmas Jars set always felt like a safe and welcoming space making everyone happy to be there. I look forward to hopefully being given to opportunity to work with Jonathan again soon as it was an absolute pleasure. I also got extremely lucky with my co-star Markian Tarasiuk. We clicked really well on the first day and I am so grateful to have shared this whole experience with him.