Denver Comic Con – Spotlight on Jewel Staite

Instead of a (high-level) convention staff person moderating media star events, Denver Comic Con featured guests interviewing guests. For Jewel Staite, we had Star Trek: Voyager’s Garrett Wang manage the proceedings.

Photo by Phil Chang

Photo by Phil Chang

He started things off humorously by borrowing a selfie stick to capture him, Jewel, and the audience from the stage. Staite was lively and candid, cheerful and breezy. She didn’t seem worried about censoring herself (well, minimally so). Questions covered almost the entirety of her career, from the series Higher Ground to her most recent film, How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town.

And of course, there is Firefly. Grateful for conventions all over the world, Staite observed that Firefly fandom seems only to be getting bigger. One questioner commented that Kaylee had a normal woman’s body, and we learned that that was due to Joss Whedon putting her on a steady diet of cheeseburgers. At 19 she had a fast metabolism, “and it’s not like that anymore!” She also related her finger “feud” with Nathan Fillion. It all started as joke between them, trying to shoot the bird at each other at (in)opportune times. Then they took the battle off set (Fillion handing her a box with a hole cut out of the bottom for his finger), off series, and eventually to Staite’s photo an entire convention audience flipping Fillion off.

Photo by Philip Chang

Photo by Philip Chang

She considered herself lucky that Kaylee’s costume was the “supercomfortable” and easy-to-hop-into jumpsuit. Morena Baccarin had to spend a much, much longer time in the make-up chair, which is ironic given that she’s more of a tomboy and hardly bothers with fixing herself up regularly. Another audience member asked about Kaylee’s innocence and naiveté, which struck Staite as somewhat odd. She could call Kaylee sweet and guileless, but not innocent. And I remembered that, in her “origin story,” she joins the Firefly crew literally minutes after having sex with the engineer she replaces.

Questions turned to other characters she’s played. Regarding roles she missed out on, Staite somewhat unguardedly revealed a rivalry with a certain other actor she’s lost out to for Interview with the Vampire, Jumanji, and Little Women (you can IMDB it if you need to). Apparently they even dated the same guy at different times. “I like playing people who are totally different from me,” she said, citing Raquel in The L.A. Complex as her favorite part. But “I’ve never played someone who likes cheeseburgers.”

As the hour came to an end, Wang took us into “rapid fire question” mode: Behind the scenes with Sean Maher: “Sean and I were like girlfriends.” Highly recommended book: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Working on Higher Ground: Being 12 years old with a craft services table full of candy? “So much fun.”

Which really sums up how the hour passed.