Jamie Gray Hyder has the kind of drive, focus, and talent that catapults a young actress from modeling gigs and small spots here and there to homes across the US with an ever growing role on one of television’s hottest series, True Blood, in just a few short years. So much more than just another pretty face (ok more like a gorgeous face, but you get the point), Jamie has been working towards her acting dreams since an early age, achieving her B.A. in Theatre and Film Studies before heading out to L.A. to make it all come true.
In Season Six of True Blood, Jamie Gray Hyder reprises her Season Five role as wolfpack member Danielle, who’s moving towards the front of the pack both in the eyes of viewers and pack master Alcide Herveaux, played by Joe Manganiello. We recently got to chat with Jamie about what lies ahead for her character, the pack, and the rest of the supes in Bon Temps this season.
Read on for the interview…
The Daily Quirk: When did you first realize acting was the career for you?
Jamie Gray Hyder: Since I was really young. I always sang as a little child, I’m a classically trained vocalist, and I always loved performing. My parents put me in community theater, and I always loved being on stage. I went to college for it and got my degree in Theater and Film Studies. After doing some stage on the east coast, I came out to LA to do film and television.
TDQ: As a classically trained singer, do you have any interest in pursuing a career in music as well as acting?
JGH: I think they’ll always go hand in hand and I hope I get to do a project where I get to kind of mold the two together. I would love to get back into the singing more of the time.
TDQ: Fans can currently see you on True Blood, where your character Danielle has recently moved to the front of the pack. How did the role originally come about?
JGH: Well, when I went in for the role I only had one line for my audition. I did the best I could with it and I got a call two hours later that I booked it. I ended up shooting six episodes for my first season, which was last season, Season Five. And then they asked my back for this season and I was thrilled. They sort of increased my role which I didn’t expect and it’s been great.
TDQ: Where you familiar with True Blood before you auditioned for the role?
JGH: I was. I don’t have a TV so I didn’t actually watch it regularly, but I did watch with friends every now and then and I always liked it. Once I found out, I watched all four seasons in three days before I shot. I got notified of the role and then a couple days later I was shooting so I had to watch all of the previous seasons really quickly and at that point I became hooked. It’s a great show. I think it appeals to all the senses. It’s also relevant socially and that’s super important.
TDQ: We’re only a few episodes into the new season and it already looks like things are going to get pretty crazy for the Werepack. Can you tell us a little about what to expect from the pack and their relationship with vampires and other supes this season?
JGH: You know, there’s a lot of tension. There’s a lot of tension within the pack and there’s going to be a lot of tension between the pack and other members of the town. Everybody is sort of on heightened alert and with the government attacking the vampires all the other supers know it’s just a matter of time before they start coming for them. So, everyone’s sort of just trying to look out for themselves and that causes a lot of tension in town.
TDQ: You had an awesome fight scene in Episode Two. What was it like filming that?
JGH: I was really excited to be able to work with Nelsan (Ellis). I think he’s a great actor and I love his character Lafayette. We got there that day and we went over our stuff with the stunt people, and we had our own stunt doubles as well, and we had a lot of fun with it. No one’s really thrown that attitude back at Lafayette before so I think that it was really cool to see that happen, to see him kind of get “out sassed” by someone else. And shooting a fight scene is another interesting part of being on True Blood. You have the chance to do so many other things versus being a on a more hyper realistic show per say.
TDQ: Speaking of that scene, I found it really interesting that Alcide decided to bring Danielle to go get Emma, and not his current girlfriend Ricki. Perhaps a little foreshadowing of who he’s going to be relying on more as the season continues?
JGH: I think the dynamics of the pack shift a lot as the season progresses. My going to get Emma is, again, just another example of how my character is always trying to be as involved as possible in what’s going on in the pack. She likes to stay relevant. She likes to stay necessary. And I think the dynamics between Danielle and Ricki and Alcide and Martha and all the other members of the pack, it all shifts a lot throughout the season.
TDQ: Danielle seems to have a real interest in getting closer to Alcide, but so far, she’s had to share him. Any chance she’ll be getting Alcide to herself in the future?
JGH: I don’t know if Ricki will that happen, but we’re going to have to see how the season plays out.
TDQ: Do you have any other projects or events in the works that you would like to share with readers?
JGH: I do have one really big project in the works. I’ve been working on it for about six months now, but I cannot talk about it for another few weeks! So unfortunately, I’m going to have to leave you with a cliffhanger on that…
TDQ: Speaking of future projects, I know that you’ve trained in improv and that you’re a big music fan, so I have to ask would you be interested in hosting a show like Saturday Night Live in the future and if so, who would you want your musical guest to be?
JGH: That’s a good question! I would love to host Saturday Night Live. Comedy has always been what I’ve done since I was a little kid and I would love to be able to do that. And my musical guest? I love Quadron. Their new album, Avalanche, I’ve been listening to a lot lately and so if you ask me right now that’s who I would want to be the guest with me.
TDQ: And one more just for fun. I’ve heard that you’re an accomplished home cook. What’s your favorite meal to prepare?
JGH: That’s impossible to pick one. I love roasting pork shoulders. I eat a lot of fish. I love breakfasts! I love eating and making everything, but I love the processes when you work with things like bigger cuts of meat where you kind of break them down. I think you get a little bit closer to your food when you’re working with bigger cuts like that. I would say roasting a pork shoulder is probably one of my favorites to cook and it’s also one of my favorites to eat so that makes it easy.
The Daily Quirk would like to thank Jamie Gray Hyder for taking the time to chat and being so incredibly gracious (and fun to talk to as well!). To find out more about Jamie, you can visit her Site, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram. And of course, tune into HBO Sundays at 9pm to watch her in Season Six of True Blood!