Jordane Christie is lighting up Why Women Kill Season 2 with his charismatic character, private detective, and romantic partner.
He's got the unique position to be on the right side of a lot of kooky characters with glaring flaws, as Vern is strong, determined, and has a heart of gold. Jordane works magic against the leading ladies Allison Tolman and Lana Parilla.
We're so excited to share with you our conversation with Jordane.
I'm really enjoying your character on Why Women Kill.
Are you? That's beautiful.
Yes, I am.
How'd you get involved with the show?
With the good old-fashioned audition process. But you know what? I guess it wasn't the old-fashioned way because the whole process for me, the inception of it, was all in... during last year, during the pandemic. So it came by way of auditions, appointments, but it was pretty much all from my living room.
So first, it was a self-tape and then a few, like, three different Zoom sessions that happened from my living room pretty much. Yeah.
Is it more comfortable doing that from home, or does it get you in the mood to be at an actual audition? How did you find that?
You know what? It kind of is because it's just easier to control the outside things that can sometimes put you in your head.
I mean, there is this part about when you get to go to the studios, and sometimes you see shows or the artwork from shows or movies that you admire, like say if you're going to an audition on Universal lot or whatever it may be, or CBS lot.
And that is a really cool environment, but then there are also things about that and then seeing somebody who might look something like you or five guys who might look like you reading for the part.
That can sometimes make you think about things that you don't really have any business thinking about, whereas when it's in your apartment, you can kind of just plan enough time and space to control the temperature of your own room and make sure you're comfortable in it. Yeah. So there are pros and cons of both.
But I take it as it came. You know? Yeah.
And it worked for you, so that's the battle right there.
Looking back, yes, it sure did.
This is a publicity still of Jordane Christie, who stars in the Paramount+ series, Why Women Kill.
Well, first and foremost, the idea of playing a private investigator was really cool to me. I tend to be pretty investigative and inquisitive by nature, so I was really looking forward to being the guy who gets to ask and answer a lot of those questions.
I like his sense of humor. He's sarcastic, a bit of a know-it-all, which was really fun to uncover. But also just the layers that he had. He sees a lot, right? He sees a lot and the worst of people and has a history of love loss or even some betrayal.
And he still hopes for the purity in people, even though he kind of feels like he's seen the worst in folks. But he just wants the pure things, like love and a good home and a good situation, which I think is beautiful. I think it's beautiful to represent that in a show with so many fun shenanigans.
Has your perception changed as the episodes have progressed?
Oh yeah, definitely, definitely. So coming in, I was only able to read the first two episodes. So I didn't know the fate of my character pretty much or really where Vern was going up until we were about to shoot that next episode.
So that definitely kept us on our toes in a super-fun way, but sometimes tormenting way of like, "What's happening? Where is he going? Where am I going with this?" But it was fun.
And yeah, so definitely, definitely, I kind of had my instincts about what motivates him and what he's working towards. I'm surprised at how he reacted to certain things but pleasantly surprised.
And you kind of touched on this in a previous question, but Vern, to me, is kind of like the audience's representative because he sees things from a clear perspective. He's looking. That investigator in him, he sees the good and the bad in everybody.
What's fun about being on the right side of so many dire storylines?
Yeah. Yeah. I think it's a position that he has definitely grown accustomed to having a bird's eye view, right? Kind of not typically getting too personally involved with his cases, but I believe we see that this time around, he does.
But I think it gives him a well-informed perspective. And for me, it was a lot of fun to play, to find somebody who is witnessing these things, but isn't typically affected by them in a personal way, just in terms of him watching.
What you just said is a perfect lead-in. It seems as though now that he is kind of in the know a little bit about how the family sees Rita and how he's engaged with Rita, and so much went down in the last two episodes, are they going to become involved in some way?
Is it going to become more personal for him than he's used to? Can you tease that at all?
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. Uh-huh (affirmative). He gets totally intertwined, and there's a lot of things that he doesn't see himself, doesn't see coming. I think he is somebody who does pride himself on his work, but there are definitely some things that go right under his nose.
Originally, Vern and Dee were kind of just gobsmacked after the dinner, but they decided that he would still work for Rita.
Do you think that there was any inkling when they came out of that house after that strange dinner encounter that something more might be afoot, or do you think they were just rolling with it? How did you read it?
I think there's somewhat of an inkling. But he wants to explore every other option before that. That's the last thing that he wants to happen. But there is something in him that makes him feel like it could be. So he wants to explore every other option before he confirms that.
Yeah. Like, what is he walking into?
Yeah. That's because it's like this relationship with Dee is something that he's been looking for and needs, and it's everything that he feels he's been missing. So he wants it to be perfect. He wants it to go perfectly.
And just to think that there could be something on the other end of that that could potentially break all that apart, it's just not something he is looking forward to or wants to happen. You know how that is, just that denial of wanting to find another truth before you face the ugly truth.
That's a good way to put it. Why do you think it was so easy for Vern to accept Dee's pregnancy and decide to raise another man's child?
I think it was about love and the fact that he needs her and that Dee needs him, and he wants to show her what a real man could do. He wants to be that positive force and that caretaker in his life. I mean, he's very motivated by love and by honor.
He's had instances in the past and in the war where he's had to be selfless, and he sees this as another opportunity to do so. I think sometimes he may sacrifice himself a bit in order to do what he sees is right. And to him, it's pretty much the only option.
From where Why Women Kill Season 2 Episode 7 ends where they're walking out of the house, do things look rosy for Vern and Dee, or do you think they'll face trouble? How would you see the rest of their lives unfolding, given what they've already encountered?
Well, Vern's accustomed to a little trouble. I think he's excited by a little bit of trouble, but he thinks it's nothing he can't handle.
That makes sense.
Yeah, he thinks it's nothing he can't handle.
And what's been different about working on Why Women Kill compared to some of the things you've done before? What have you learned?
Well, the rules in this show are really expansive and fun to play. There's a bit of it that can sometimes feel farce. It's dark comedy and definitely leads with that comedic edge, which the pacing of it feels a little bit quicker than some of the projects I've worked on. I last did The Haunting of Hill House, which was really slow and drawn out.
So one, being the quick pace, and secondly, even some of the social-economic rules within our version of this 1949, which at first was a little bit to me like, "Really? This is 1949?" Just in terms of me as a person of color and walking into, even, the diner in the first scene and stuff and just like... You know?
But actually, in the end, I found it very liberating. Like, wow, we are creating our own idealistic unit because it's like, "Why not?" It's powerful. It's powerful, even though some of the themes here are farce, but I feel like just the visual image and representation of what we're doing has a lot of power in it.
The way I see it, even though the cast is predominantly white, your character is no different. The only thing that makes him different is that he's a private investigator, and that's so refreshing instead of focusing on race.
To me anyway.
I agree, 100%.
If you could focus your career on TV or movies, which would you prefer?
Growing up, I always felt like movies, but it seems like there's kind of a blurred line these days anyways, where all the big movie stars are doing television, and there's a lot of great stories.
It's longer-form storytelling, obviously, in television. And I think this model is really cool, the anthology model, because it's like you're telling 10 hours of a story, and then you can just tell it fully and move on.
But yeah, I just want to be a part of powerful stories that don't sacrifice the story, right, because I think sometimes when things go for a really long time, it feels like they're just filling in the blanks here and there, but you lose some of that urgency or some of the tension sometimes.
So I just want to be a part of stories that entertain people but make people think and feel something and maybe learn something.
And what have you watched lately that has made an impression on you as a viewer?
Let me think. As a viewer. On the plane here, I just watched -- this is a few years old -- I just watched The Hate U Give. I also watched Small Acts, which is an Amazon Prime series that I really enjoyed. That takes place in the 1980s, well, '60s, '70s, '80s. It's like an anthology film series.
Yep, I liked it.
I really enjoyed that. Yeah. It's based around Caribbean culture, which my family is Caribbean. So it was just a cool depiction for me to see.
I go back and forth between watching a classic older film to whatever's new. I also just started watching Mandalorian. I'm behind, but I just started it.
Oh, you have some time before the next season comes out, so that's good. Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Guilty pleasures? Film, TV, music?
Yeah, like with film and TV. Like, whenever other people might talk about it, and you may not jump into the conversation because it's kind of embarrassing?
I had a friend who put me onto The Circle on Netflix. It's kind of like a social media reality show. Yeah. And it's kind of a guilty pleasure. That's a guilty pleasure.
What do you like about it?
It's kind of like an interesting commentary on where we are in society sometimes, especially within the social media world, and how people can present a profile and a version of themselves in order to gain likes or acceptance.
And kind of like are people really leading with their true selves or with this version of self that they want people to believe? It's a fascinating study, but yeah, to have sometimes too.
Oh, oh, absolutely. It kind of makes you wonder if it's all for the best.
Right, exactly. If it's really good for us as people.
I think that we're learning in the last few years, especially that maybe it's not, and that we have to kind of reassess how we evaluate it and what we're willing to say or who we're willing to support. There are so many different things you need to weigh, I think.
And my last question for you is what do you have coming up? Do you have anything coming up after this?
So, my team, we're taking a lot of meetings right now. There's nothing set in stone as of yet, but we're getting close to something.
Mm-hmm (affirmative), we're getting close to something. I'll put out there I know they're looking for a black Superman. I think that would be amazing.
We shoot for the stars.
Why Women Kill airs on Thursdays on Paramount+.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.