Close-Up: An Interview With Jess Adams

Actor Jess Adams stops by on Close-Up Culture to discuss her role in Girls Night In, advice for aspiring actors, her dream projects, and much more.

You have a lead role in Alison Roberto’s wonderful short film, Girls Night In. What was your experience on this project?

Yes! It’s so exciting – I love my character Bec.

I had never worked with Ali Roberto before Girls Night In, but I was familiar with her work and excited to collaborate with her. I was friends with Landon LaRue and knew her writing was incredible, and also hoped to work with her one day. When I saw the casting and read the script, and realized their vision, I was immediately hooked.

I originally went out for the opposite lead, Del, because that is usually the type of role I play. During the zoom chemistry read/callback I was asked by Ali and Landon to swap and read for Bec. After that cold reading everyone looked surprised! Me – because I was insecure and hadn’t prepared Bec’s role – and them – because I think they had an aha moment that I was better suited for Bec. When I got the call and booked it, I was ecstatic!

I also knew the other lead actress, Skylar Benton, and was excited to work alongside her because we have great chemistry and banter. When I finally saw the completed movie it was wild! I was laughing alongside everyone like an unbiased watcher and so proud of the film. The film is very deep with a lot of hidden nods in the humor – I love films that leave me with questions. 

Jess in Girls Night In (photo credit: Ali Roberto and Landon LaRue)

The film looks at the representation of female characters, particularly in horror films. Who are some of your favourite female characters of all time?

Yes, I was excited to work on a female dominant project. There is nothing more amazing than a female horror baddie and I admire so many. I love Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body, Chloe Grace Moretz in Let Me In, Samara Weaving, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, and so many other amazing scream queens. I love that women in horror have really evolved and grown from hot girl being murdered…to complex characters, final girls, villains, heroes, and women in front of and behind the camera. 

What other projects do you have coming up?

I have some exciting projects coming up in the sci-fi, horror, and comedy genres. One project I’m really excited for is Space Juice by Alex Dimarco. I am obsessed with my character Violet.  Also the Groad Show by Stephen Kogon – it is amazing!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

For some reason I thrive in chaos and uncertainty – and I’m lucky to have found a job that really works that way. It’s always exciting, new, fresh, and nerve-racking. I love that the industry is always growing and changing and evolving and I am as well. I’ve had my heart broken many times in my career but I have also had the most priceless moments. I feel like my job as an actor has really allowed me to search for myself and what I want out of life and what type of person I want to be. 

What advice would you give to aspiring actors and those trying to make their way in the industry?

One of the first pieces of advice I give to those wanting to get into the industry and are just starting out is to jump into therapy…immediately. It is an industry that is full of no’s, constantly telling you who to be, full of competition and uncertainty. If you don’t have a strong sense of self and self love it can eat you alive. You have to constantly remind yourself that it isn’t personal, most things aren’t about you, and to go for your dreams but to also not have expectations. It’s a lot of balance.

When I go into my job without expectations but a lot of excitement, I set myself up to have fun and do what I need to do… and then whatever happens after that is just a nice bonus.

Also my second word of advice is don’t be an asshole. Seriously, it is that simple. In an industry that relies a lot on reputation and long hours together, people want to work with who they like above most other things. If you suck to be around for 12 hours – even if you’re talented – that’s going to hinder you. People always remember humbleness, kindness, and nice vibes to be around. Leave your ego at the door. 

Jess at the first screening of Girls Night In (photo credit: Ali Roberto and Landon LaRue) 

What type of projects would you like to take on in the future?

I have a few bucket list jobs I hope to check off! I hope to make a name for myself as a scream queen alongside my favorite actresses. I am also deeply offended that I haven’t played a vampire yet. I would also like to do more sci-fi. One of my favorite projects was a movie called Channel by Robert Hayman. It was such a complex role playing two characters in one body and I love those types of challenges.

I also would like to do more comedy, I’m pretty funny if I do say so myself 😉 For now I’ll tell bad jokes on my TikTok (@thejessadams).

Tell us something about yourself that people might not know or expect from you.

Something people may not expect from me is that I’m actually incredibly shy and anxious! I OVER prepare for everything… I’m that girl that brings every single possible thing to set for the what if’s and I try to keep as flexible as possible as an actor in case of changes.

I also have really intense anxiety, so even though this pandemic has been a nightmare, I’ve actually really thrived with self tapes and zoom auditions. It took out the piece of being in a room and having anxiety off the bat… and just really diving into the comfort of the character from home so that when I reach the set I’m 100% at ease. I never get nervous on set but for some reason auditions have also made my knees shake! Whenever I get ready for events or screenings I always pick an outfit that feels like character or persona so it feels like the most confident me is stepping out in public because inside I want to hide in my sweatpants… honestly. 

What are your hopes and ambitions for the future?

My hopes and ambitions for the future are that I get to keep doing what I love alongside my incredible team and management, and maybe some producing in the future. Also that we continue to see more women in film and more diversity! I encourage viewers to check out, consume, and support more indie projects. 

Title image by Jasmine Baeza 

Follow Jess on TikTok – https://www.tiktok.com/@thejessadams

Follow Jess on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/thejessadams/

Watch Girls Night In At Tribeca Film Festival – https://www.tribecafilm.com/films/girls-night-in-2022

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