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SheKnows smurfs with Glee actress Jayma Mays

Shanee is a screenwriter and educator living in Los Angeles. She created the web series She Blinded Me w Science to encourage young girls to explore science and technology. You can also read her blog where she chronicles her filmmaking ...

Jayma Mays was a rebellious 5-year-old

This Glee actress is moving on with her career by appearing in a feature film and new TV show. We caught up with her to find out what it was like channeling Audrey Hepburn in the City of Light.

Jayma Mays in Smurfs 2

SheKnows: Tell us how The Smurfs were first introduced to you.

Jayma Mays: It’s kind of a funny story. I grew up with The Smurfs because my mother loved The Smurfs. She would plop me down in front of the TV every Saturday morning because secretly, she wanted to watch them. This is the way she manipulated me when I was little. [laughs] In spite of her, I would always say that Gargamel was my favorite, even though I secretly love The Smurfs as well. I was as rebellious as a 5-year-old can get.

SK: The Smurfs 2 was shot in part in Paris. Had you been there before?

JM: This was my very first experience going to Paris. It was amazing getting to go as a working actor. My husband was able to come and we had a few days to walk around and see the city, eat amazing food and see beautiful buildings. It was so special. I’m so thankful for so many things. We were in Paris for a couple of weeks, though most of the film was shot in Montreal, which is another city that I’ve completely fallen in love with.

SK: So what did you eat in Paris and Montreal? Did you love the food?

JM: It’s a lot of heavy food, a lot of foie gras which I know is a food not everyone is okay with eating, but in Montreal, I felt like they put it on everything, like even your cereal in the morning. There was a lot of very heavy, rich food and a lot of meat but also baguettes and croissants and amazing coffee. What was so great in both Montreal and Paris was that people were eating out all the time. You go out in the evening and the streets are full of people having wine and coffee, and the social life is integrated with people eating out. It's just fantastic.

SK: We have to ask, what's the difference between craft services in the States versus craft services in Paris?

JK: We’ve been very fortunate to have great craft services in the States, so I’m trying to remember what we had [in Paris]. I would usually come [to work] in the morning stuffed from dinner the night before because we would eat out almost every night. We tried to squeeze in every experience of dining out we could while we were there. In Montreal, our craft services guy was great — he would make little pastas and special sandwiches for me with mozzarella and really quality ingredients.

The Smurfs 2 movie review: I kissed a Smurf... >>

The Smurfs 2

SK: In the film, you channel Audrey Hepburn. Had you been a fan of hers?

JM: Definitely! Breakfast at Tiffany’s is iconic. I felt a lot of pressure, to be honest, even though it was a comedy. When they put you in the little black dress and try to find the hat that fits you, there’s a little pressure involved, but it was really fun. I guess from an acting point of view, we were trying to figure out how much Grace should be like Audrey, because she’s not an actor, so should she be kind of good at it? Or kind of not good at it? Or maybe this is a hidden talent she has? It was a little tricky. And we actually shot those scenes in Paris and I got to walk down the street in the Plaza Athénée in this amazing outfit — I felt really special that day.

SK: Changing gears a little, is this your last season on Glee? How do you feel about moving on?

JM: I’ve got two or three episodes left that I’m allowed to do and that will be it. It’s kind of a bittersweet situation. I obviously feel really, really sad that I’m only going to be playing Emma Pillsbury for a couple more episodes. But I feel that the next job is going to challenge me in a different way and I think you kind of have to challenge yourself as an actor, so I’m trying to look at the positives, not the negatives. I’m definitely going to feel a little bit sad playing her for the last time. I’ll miss her.

SK: Tell us about your new TV show, The Millers.

JM: We start The Millers in a couple of weeks. Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale play my parents and Will Arnett plays my brother. In the pilot, you find out my parents are getting divorced. My father moves back in with me and my mother moves back in with Will Arnett’s character. It’s kind of dealing with being children of divorce in our 30s, a reversal of kids moving home. I’m really excited!

SK: We're excited for you, too!

Smurfs 2 opens in theaters today.

Photo credits: Jayma Mays on the red carpet, Wenn.com; Jayma Mays in The Smurfs 2: Sony Pictures
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