Our interview with Three-time Emmy Winner gorgeous actress Jennifer Landon who stars in John Wells’ (“Shameless,” “ER”) hit TNT drama “Animal Kingdom” (Tuesdays 9/8c).
In the gritty, critically acclaimed drama Collider calls “the perfect Summer show,” Landon plays ‘Amy,’ a church girl with a troubled past, seeking redemption through faith who finds herself at the center of the story with ‘Pope’ (Shawn Hatosy).
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Jen Landon. I have two bulldogs that are adorable and disgusting. I like to make coffee for myself and others, and sometimes I have a hell of a lot of fun acting.
Describe yourself in three words.
Eccentric. Intense. Silly.
Who is your biggest supporter?
Whomever I have currently wrangled into running all of my scenes with me.
How did you get started in the industry?
I would say my REAL start was when I was at NYU, and an old friend of mine was working at Lionsgate. He brought me in to meet with them and they sent me over to a manager. I started working right away, which was very lucky.
What was your first acting role?
My FIRST acting role was when I was 5 or 6 on my dad’s show, but that was sort of like going to work with dad for the day. My first REAL acting role was Gwen Norbeck on “As The World Turns.”
What is the best and worst part of being an actor?
The best part is that when all the engines are working correctly, yours and the folks around you, it’s really the greatest feeling on earth. The worst part is the time in between jobs, and the wild ups and downs of the industry. Really, the bigger ups and downs now that I say it, have nothing to do with the industry, they are just in our head… And they can really suck.
Best advice ever given?
Shit. I have gotten a lot of good advice, but I’ll say that “daring to suck” is up there. I was someone who didn’t try very much because I had a high batting average and was very afraid of failure. This didn’t allow me to work and grow. Learning to fail is still very hard for me, and it’s been at times the most freeing thing on earth. If I were to give advice, I would say, fuck talent – just do what you want and then do it again, and again, and again. The people I know who tried and failed the most are the most successful. And successful in every way in my book.
Tell us about “Animal Kingdom,” and your role as Amy?
Animal Kingdom is such a phenomenal show, because it ultimately is about love and home and family. That being said, it’s a sick version of those values, which I think is more often the case than not. It might not play out as a group of sons stuck in an oedipal dynamic with their mother who is also a crime lord. But I would say most people come from nuclear families that are rife with dysfunction. And in a strange way, the crime and violence, and expression of rage might be something that actually saves these boys from real debilitating mental illness. That’s just me spitballing. Amy is too a byproduct of a dysfunctional family, and she herself has been an awful mother. Love and ability to love do not always go hand in hand.
What can we expect for the second season?
Well, I can tell you from the table reads, that you can expect a hell of a ride from the Cody’s. I loved sitting through those and seeing what would unfold and how the actors would handle it. For Amy and Pope, it’s hard for me to answer without giving anything away. I would expect revelations on all fronts.
What has been your most memorable experience from the set so far?
It’s really hard to pick one. There were so many moments with a few different directors where we really felt like we were lifting something off the page, and we were all so excited by it.
Now tell us about your 3 Emmy’s.
They are really big. They haven’t aged well. And I keep them in a closet. I used to keep them out, but they have to hang in the back for a while now. They’ll be let out again. Honestly, getting them felt amazing, and had mostly to do with the fact that the writers wrote me some fantastic material.
What other projects have you been a part of?
I worked on the final season of Banshee which was a blast. I played the young wife of a satanic cult leader, and I approached my reverie for the faith much like I approached it with Amy. I was an associate artistic director of an experimental theatre company for a few years and learned a hell of a lot there. I’m currently writing a few projects with my writing parter and are hoping to have those out in the world within the year. By out, I don’t mean made, I mean just out of our hands.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? And why?
Michael Fassbender is a genius. I could watch Frances Mcdormand read a phone book. There are dozens I could mention, but I’ll keep it brief, otherwise it will just get weird.
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
THREE!?!?! I carry a backpack. I need PENS. My small metal cigarette wallet. Oddly, NOT my phone. And I need WATER at all times.
What music do you like?
Ugh… Everything. I let Spotify tell me. I really do like everything. That being said, I don’t listen to any of the current hits. Whatever gets played on the radio I guess. I can’t stand it for some reason, and I’m actually ashamed of that fact. It’s so much noise to me. And it feels really predictable. I’m currently listening to ambient stuff in the evening or classical. In the morning, rap or indie rock.
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
Being with my sweetie in a place that is cold (weather or A.C provided!) and having NOTHING to do.
How’s a normal day in your life.
Riddled with repetitive thoughts and actions. I’m wildly boring. I wish I had someone who just kept me on a schedule or a drill sergeant who would yell at me to finish x,y,z by a certain time. I usually wake up, drink coffee, do my little morning rituals (no I’m not saying what they are), take care of the dogs, and then read scripts, pay bills, rehearse scenes with friends, or write. It’s hard for me to get a day job, because acting work takes me out of it, but I need to be busy. I do not do well with idle time. If I had endless amounts of idle time, I would probably Google random stuff until my brain broke. Truly.
What is your favorite healthy food?
I gotta say, I’m HEALTHY. Not because I want to be, but because my body won’t let me get away with ANYTHING. Favorite health food? Easy… Romaine. Goes with everything.
And your favorite cheat food?
I don’t really believe in cheat foods. Eat what you like and what doesn’t make you sick. If I died and there was a heaven and they said, “you can have anything you want, and it will not make you sick.” I would ask for 5 dry martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives and a good conversationalist as a bar mate.
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
This is the scariest question I’ve ever been asked in my life. Hopefully, sharper, faster, better, and more humane than I am today.
Do you support any charities?
Yes, I can’t honestly count all of the folks I send some modicum of money to every month. Support Planned Parenthood. Get a Sponsor kid or two. Volunteer locally. If there’s a rally, and I support the cause, I show up. In general, I believe that it is the duty of the fortunate to fight for the unfortunate. This whole Donald Trump era has brought the folks out of the woodwork who think, well those who don’t have are lazy. Bullshit. There is such a thing as being handed a bad hand.
Where we can follow you?
Favorite Music: Arvo Part
Favorite Quote: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Beckett.
Holiday Destination: I want to go to ICELAND or PATAGONIA!
Food: YES. ALL. SUSHI.
Restaurant: HIDE. SUSHI.
Drink: Gerolsteiner Mineral Water. Back in the day? The martini with olives that I ordered in heaven.
Celebrity Crush: I don’t have a crush on anyone but my squeeze.
Song: Be a Nobody – Soak.
Sports Team: Lakers from my childhood, man. Obsessed.
Movie: Raging Bull.