Elena Juatco on Playing JANN’s Hard to Impress Manager

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Bell Media

Being a successful singer and songwriter should impress a lot of people, but the Jann Arden at the center of CTV’s JANN sure has a hard time getting respect, especially from her new manager Cale (Elena Juatco). The young and hip millennial who has taken over Jann’s career, including securing Jann a spot on a national tour in last week’s episode, doesn’t seem to appreciate all the talent her new boss has to offer. Their relationship and back and forth has been one of the more enjoyable ones to watch during JANN’s first season, which concludes Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Things couldn’t be more different though in real life for Juatco and Arden. Juatco, who made her debut on Canadian Idol and then went on to be a series regular on Open Heart, absolutely adores her leading lady. She recently spoke to The TV Junkies about how she reacted to meeting Arden and why viewers should get ready for plenty of laughs in the finale.


The TV Junkies: First things first, what did you think when you heard your character’s name was going to be Cale?

Elena Juatco: I thought that was awesome! [laughs] I thought Cale was a great name and coincidentally, there’s a Calgarian named Cale Makar who plays for the Avalanche in the NHL. He just recently scored his first goal and people were at the game waving kale. I feel like now it’s starting a trend and the writers were ahead of their time. I can see a lot of people naming their baby Cale and it’s a great mark to make on the future. My hashtag is #CaleWithAC.

TTVJ: Jann Arden is such a legend. What was it like finding out you were going to be on a show with her? Had you ever done anything like a half-hour comedy before?

EJ: I love comedy and it’s the fastest way to my heart. I’ve done comedies before but this is my first half hour sitcom. It’s so much fun and just finding out that you’re going to be acting with Jann Arden is exactly what you think it’d be. There was a lot of screaming involved, calling your mother and having your mother screaming in the phone. There was some heavy fangirling.

I remember on the first day of shooting I turned to Jason Blicker, who plays Todd, and said ‘I really need to get over this fangirl thing. I need to put it aside, acknowledge that it’s happening, but put it aside so I can do my job.’ When I was auditioning, I got to read some scenes with Jann Arden and they had warned that she’d be there, so I remember practicing my lines with my friend and me practicing meeting Jann Arden. I just practiced what that was going to be like so I could be prepared, get that out of the way and do my job.

Jann is just exactly who you think she’d be. She’s so real and honest and an incredible actress. It’s impossible not to be real when you’re in a scene with her because she’s 100 per cent there. I have so many amazing things to say about working with her, knowing her and the whole experience. Working with Jann Arden is fucking awesome!

TTVJ: Which is kind of funny because you’re playing a character that’s not impressed with her AT ALL.

EJ: I know! It takes a lot to impress Cale.

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Bell Media

TTVJ: You’re a singer as well as an actress and have obviously had managers. What was it like getting to play that other side as Cale and did you draw on any real world experience?

EJ: My managers are quite similar to Cale. I remember my agent Rhonda was at the screening of the first two episodes with her assistant Melissa and Melissa said ‘oh you’re channeling Rhonda right now.’ [laughs] I’ve always been drawn to strong women that speak their minds and have no filter. They are the best, and I think in real life I can be shy and scared to voice my opinion so it’s refreshing and liberating to get to play a character like this. I was worried everyone would hate her, but I love Cale so much and am glad everyone is enjoying her as much as I am playing her.

TTVJ: You are playing opposite of Jann when she’s in some of her most ridiculous or outlandish outfits or moments. How do you keep a straight face in those scenes?

EJ: I just was in it! I just channel Cale so deeply and enjoy playing her so much. I play her as deeply as I can and the one time that was really hard was the episode where Cale was drunk. That episode I was giggling all day. Cale kind of let herself be imperfect and let go a bit so I was more prone to cracking up then.

TTVJ: Jann recorded a song with Zoie [Palmer] for this season, and you have quite the musical background, is there any chance we’d ever see you record with her?

EJ: I can’t even wrap my head around that being a reality and possibility. My fangirling would reach a whole other kind of level. I would obviously love the opportunity and who wouldn’t want to sing with an icon like that? Go bug the writers! I’m 100 per cent game.

TTVJ: Well now we’ve put that out into the universe.

EJ: We just need a musical episode! Zoie can sing and I’m sure the others can as well. I would die. I would actually die if I got that kind of opportunity. Who wouldn’t?

TTVJ: What can you preview about the JANN Season 1 finale?

EJ: It’s going to be hilarious and you’ll be really bummed there’s not an episode after it. Keep your fingers crossed for Season 2. I remember the day we shot one of the scenes in the finale, I was watching the cameramen and they were laughing so hard as they were trying to film. There was so much tension and they didn’t want to shake the camera, but they were laughing so hard. I’ve never seen them laugh so big before and try to stay professional. That should give you a hint about how funny the episode is going to be.


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JANN‘s Season 1 finale airs Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on CTV.