“Our humor has a little bit of bite to it,” admits “Reservation Dogs” star Devery Jacobs. For our recent webchat she continues, “It has a little bit of grit because we’ve used humor as a coping mechanism for the past 500 plus years of colonization.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
The FX series, created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, follows a gang of four indigenous teenagers in Oklahoma. Over the course of the season they are saving and stealing to escape to distant California. Jacobs explains, “This is the first show of its kind, with all indigenous writers, directors, actors, producers and creatives nearly in every department. The one thing for us to make sure we get right is that we’re not just doing it for the sake of representation. We’re creating it because we’re telling a human story. We’re creating it for ourselves and for our communities. Our responsibility is to these characters and to this story, first and foremost.”
Jacobs plays Elora, the most determined member of the gang to reach California as she grapples with loss. The actress reveals, “I’m an older sibling. I feel in Elora that energy with the fellow ‘Rez Dogs’ and her wrangling everybody together. I definitely did that in my upbringing, but in terms of personality, me and Elora really differ. She’s way more badass than I ever could be. She’s way more direct. I’m somebody who walks a little lighter in my loafers.”
The episode “California Dreamin'” has Elora sit her drivers test. Jacobs says, “I actually got my full license after that episode by a couple of months. I feel like I got like a lot of hours under my belt. I was just worried because there was one part in the scene where I’m supposed to parallel park and I hit the other car. I started getting really good at bumping the car behind me.”
In the episode Elora also discovers the death of a friend. Jacobs explains, “I made sure not to look at him before. The reaction that we saw on screen was my genuine reaction that happened on that take. It took a while for my body to understand and realize that it wasn’t real.”
For season two, which is being filmed now, Jacobs has joined the writing room. Reflecting on her experience on the series, she says, “I didn’t realize that community and industry could coexist together. It was working with Sterlin and seeing how he really changed the hierarchy of a traditional film. He brought Community members in. I’d never seen it done before. I didn’t know if it was even possible.”
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