Recently we had a chance to talk with Pollyanna McIntosh, who discussed her life on The Walking Dead as the interesting and unique character Jadis.
Were you always interested in pursuing an acting career or was that something that evolved over time?
Pollyanna: You know, from about nine years old my mom realized that I had a lot of energy so she sent me to an acting class after school once a week so I always loved it from a very young age. Even before that, when I was about five years old my sister and I used to write and perform plays, we’d put them on in our backyard. I guess I’ve always been an actor but I was never sure I could make a living that way, not as a young girl but as I got older I realized it was something I could study and I could do and here I am.
You’ve done work in movies, television and voice acting. Do you have a preferred medium to work in or do they all have their own individual charms?
Pollyanna: They do have their own individual charms but it’s all about the script and the character to me, I haven’t done theater in a long time but I love doing that, too. I think it’s great just to mix it up and The Walking Dead is just really forward thinking, it’s really edgy and exciting. I think we live in a really good time where TV is on par with film these days as far as I’m concerned.
Speaking of The Walking Dead, what was the audition like for the part of Jadis?
Pollyanna: I had two pages and it was that scene where she first meets Rick and she had this real regality about her. She was quite patronizing with him and she showed herself with that dialogue, weird as it was and I felt very comfortable with her. I liked her vibe from the very beginning so I had a lot of fun in that audition. Bialy/Thomas the casting director, they’re such professionals and they really love the work and they really understand actors so going into a room with them is a really good audition day because you know that you have their support and that they’re digging it and with you. It was just a really fun audition and I heard back so fast, which was amazing for a show this big. It was only two days later and it was basically ok, do you want to do three to five episodes on The Walking Dead and I was like yes, yes I do. It was interesting because the role was set up for either a man or woman so they were seeing a really wide variety of people and you don’t go into an audition thinking you’re going to get the role, you just go in and do the best that you can. Obviously, I got the job and it’s been wonderful, these people are an absolute joy to be around, they have fun, are total professionals and love what they do.
Jadis seems to have a pretty simple philosophy in terms of how to survive and I found that quite refreshing. As an actor, what is it about the character Jadis that interests and challenges you?
Pollyanna: I like how comfortable she is in her own power, I think there’s a lesson to be learned in that, especially as a woman. She really knows her strength and she’s not afraid to use it. I like how her wardrobe, the weaponry, the home itself is made up of all this other man’s junk and it’s her treasure sort of thing and I think that show’s great adaptability and I admire that as well. She’s certainly adaptable in those she is making deals with as well. Again, she is incredibly resourceful and does what she has to do, I enjoy that about it, and I enjoy the fact that she is always reading people so I can always be very active in the role, even if I don’t know how exactly things are going to pan out, I can be very honed in and watchful with the people I’m dealing with. Of course, when you’re working opposite somebody like Andrew he’s right there with you so that only adds to the experience.
I love the way Jadis speaks as well, both in her sentences and word choices. As an actor, did this take some getting used to?
Pollyanna: It’s funny, it really should have taken some getting used to because it is so unusual but even just reading it for the audition it expressed to me who she was very much. I like that she doesn’t need to over talk, which again I think shows her confidence, but really that language, I think it is something very resourceful about her. She’s found a way to bring this group together, have something to themselves that separates them from everyone else, make them more cohesive and militarily, it’s useful not to have to use so many words. It’s also very intimidating to outsiders because when you meet someone who speaks so weirdly, you’re a bit on your back foot, aren’t you? You’re not really sure what she’s about and that can work in her favor as well.
What was your first day on set like?
Pollyanna: Well I walked onto this beautiful, incredible set and saw all the amazing workmanship that went into it, and the speed and creativity to which everything was done on the show, and then get to live in it, it was a thrill and a comfort all at once. People were just so friendly and welcoming, even some of the PA’s pulled me aside and said, you know you’re life’s going to completely change now, right? It was a very welcoming atmosphere and that’s no small thing for a show that’s been going for seven years, the actors, the way they support each other on this show is something to behold and definitely the way I like to work so I felt very at home.
The Walking Dead is obviously a huge phenomenon in the world of television. How do you balance working on a show like that with the fact that at any time you could get the proverbial tap on the shoulder to signal your character’s death?
Pollyanna: Well, you won’t survive very long in this business if you aren’t prepared for things to go in any direction. It was something I was at peace with very early on because as you said, it is such a huge phenomenon that it is one of the few shows that can give you more comfort in your career afterward. If I get killed off on The Walking Dead I know for certain that I’ll still be able to get work in the fun and creative world of acting but gosh, I’ll be sad when I go, you know? I’ll be heartbroken so again, I can’t think about it, it makes me too sad, I’ve got all these great pals now and I love being this character and being a part of this show. I just hope that when it comes I get a really fun death.
Now besides the fact that I can Jadis and the Scavengers switching sides again this season, do we learn anything new about her in season eight?
Pollyanna: Well as you know, I can’t tell you much. However, you will get a little more insight into the woman but as always, it will be hard to figure out what her next move is going to be. You will learn some new things but at the same time, you will always be surprised by her. She likes to surprise so I wouldn’t want to take that away from her.
So what other projects do you have coming up?
Pollyanna: I’ve written a script I’m directing in December so I’m in pre-production on that at the moment. It’s going to be a genre movie, a horror, but one that I think is unusual so I’m really looking forward to that. I’ve got a movie called Blood Ride coming out that James Franco produced and has a cameo in, it’s about a female biker gang and I’m the leader named Trigga, and that’s coming out next year. I also have a movie called Native coming out in February in the U.K., hopefully, it will come here and that’s a sci-fi movie where I play the leader of the future world. I have a video game that just came out as well, the new Lord of the Rings game called Middle-earth: Shadow of War and I play Shelob, the giant spider of the Tolkien world and she is leading our hero through the game, so I’m leading players through the game and also screwing with them at times, but all for good reasons.
I want to thank Pollyanna for taking the time to talk with us
Season eight of The Walking Dead premieres Sunday, October 22nd, 2017 at 9 pm on AMC