Astrid & Lilly: Jana Morrison on SYFY Series & Friendship (Interview)
Jana Morrison, from SYFY's Astrid & Lilly Save The World, spoke with me about the series, what is important in an on-screen friendship, and more. Morrison stars as Astrid Bell in the show as one-half of a monster-hunting duo saving the world and going to high school at the same time. We spoke recently with her co-star, Samantha Aucoin who plays Lilly Fortwell, so feel free to check that out as well.
Bleeding Cool: What do you really connect with a lot when it comes to your character, Astrid?
Jana Morrison: I connect with her in so many ways. I think we're both pretty confident girls, and what we get that from, I think maybe it's from trying not to be unconfident. I think people like the feeling of being ourselves and just letting it all hang out, you know? I haven't really strong connection to the bond between her and her mother, because me and my mom have the exact same relationship. My mom's very religious, her mom obviously is. So I drew a lot from the relationship between Astrid and her mom using the experience I have with my mom. So that was really beautiful. I don't know if I would necessarily ask a boy out. But I'm like, 'Hell yes, I can. Of course, I can.' Asking someone out is not going to hurt me. It's just gonna make me stronger, even if they say no. I think also Astrid is really strong-willed, and I am also. Astrid has a little bit of jealousy, you can tell with her best friend, Lilly, hanging out with someone else. I definitely have had friend jealousies before. If my friend is hanging out with their BF, sometimes I get a bit a little insecure about that, but in the grand scheme of things, I know it's not about me. It's about my friend just wanting to be even more happy than she already is.
BC: Speaking of asking out boys, you are with certain someone in "Astrid & Lilly Save The World," Sparrow. How has it been navigating that on-screen relationship?
JM: It's been really fun because it feels like it's exciting because Astrid obviously really likes men in general, and especially this one boy she's been eyeing at school for a long time. So that feeling of just like butterflies and going on a date, It's like so exciting. And I remember having that feeling, especially when I was in high school. Throughout the season Astrid has to kind of hide a bit of information from him because her and Lilly aren't telling really anyone about this monster-hunting operation because we don't need to worry people at school about these monsters because we just need to close this portal right away. I think Astrid keeping these secrets from Sparrow is really hurting him because I think he is really into her because of her confidence like she just seems like this cool girl who is just trying to be herself, you know? I don't think there's a lot of that in high school when you're trying to find yourself. And Astrid is just who she is, and she doesn't really care what people think. And I think he really likes that about her. So when he finally says, 'Hey, this is not cool, like you keep running away and doing other things and you're not telling me' I really feel for him and her as well. She wants to tell him, but there are a lot of monster circumstances here and she's just not ready to tell him. Sometimes you're just not ready to tell someone you really like about a really important thing about you. And it's hard for him to take. I think it's really beautiful that he just really wants to know everything about her because she is dang cool.
BC: I'm wondering if you have a favorite episode from "Astrid & Lilly Save The World"? And why that is?
JM: I think my favorite episode changes day to day. If I have to say one episode, it would be episode nine. I think it came to a nice end. It definitely started off like, 'I'm still mad at you, Lilly but like there's shit going on and the mannequins are creepy as hell.' I just love the whole doppelganger of it all. I thought it was really cool and clever and playing two versions of Astrid was really fun. I just love the conclusion of the end where Astrid doesn't necessarily like Candace, but she will try because her best friend is happy and all she wants to see is her best friend happy. Astrid has some common sense, she wants you to be happy and that's all she really cares about.
BC: What has really excited you about "Astrid & Lilly Save The World"?
JM: When I first got the first audition, I was just really excited to see that there was a plus-size girl. Two, two plus-sized girls who are going to be starring as heroes. A TV show like that just doesn't happen, and it just excited me to see that our society is shifting towards more inclusivity, not more Hollywood-looking people are. TV needs to reflect the people of the world, and people of the world are a size 16 and up. So that was what really initially got me hooked. As the season continued, I was becoming obsessed with these two girls and their friendship and how they react to one another, how they are with each other's families and the people in their lives, and how they are also dealing with monster-hunting. High school and being a teenager is hard but add on the monster-hunting element and it gets a little bit tricky. I'm just excited for the representation of the show, the LGBTQ representation, the plus-sized representation, and the neurodivergent representation. I think our show has a lot of diversity, but hey, we could use more, could we not? It makes me so happy to just see the tweets and people saying it's something they could have really used when they were a teen or how it has really helped them through a really hard time. The pandemic has been crazy and is still going on. I think people seeing themselves on the screen is extremely important, and I'm glad a lot of people can identify with that in our show.
BC: Lastly, I was wondering, what is your favorite sci-fi film or show?
JM: Mars Attacks! is just a classic, and it's so campy and I love the aliens. I just think it's so different and there's nothing like it. I love the campiness of it all. It kind of reminds me of a cartoon, which I love cartoons and it's just like a real-life cartoon. And I hope somebody wants to make that again. I mean, I don't think you can, but maybe you can. So I'm kind of hoping for that eventually, but I do love the original.