EXCLUSIVE – Murtzcellanious: Murtz Jaffer Interviews Flashpoint's Amy Jo Johnson

There is no question that Flashpoint is one of the hottest new shows of the summer season. The CTV-produced series was picked up by CBS and has steadily been climbing up the ratings chart. The show follows the lives of SRU cops, the unit that is responsible for high-risk situations that can include anything from hostage situations to gang busts. While the cast is primarily male, Amy Jo Johnson (formerly of Felicity and What About Brian) is the lead female and I had the opportunity to talk to her about the show, her character and her past at the CTV Upfront presentation in June.

Murtz Jaffer: Let me start by saying that I am a big fan. I watched you in Power Rangers, Felicity and What About Brian. When I saw that you were doing Flashpoint, I think the obvious first question is why this show because it seems like you always play the girlfriend kind of character. What was it about this show?

Amy Jo Johnson: I did sort of take a two-year break where I just sort of travelled around and didn’t really know if I wanted to go back to working again but I knew if I did, I wanted to do a show that my dad would enjoy. They asked me to come and audition for this and I read the script and the script was great and I went and met everybody and it was a really nice group of people and so I decided to do it for my dad.

MJ: When you took the two year break, did you work on training with the more physical stuff? Because I find that there is a similarity between everything you have done and then this is just way off the page so did you have to train a lot?

AJJ: I had been in very good shape. (Laughs). Last year, I had been doing a lot of yoga and a lot of…

MJ: Oh, but yoga doesn’t really count!

AJJ: Yeah… but I was doing heated yoga! It doesn’t matter. Anyway, thank god I was doing that because now I am in okay shape because as you said, this is probably the most hardcore physical part that I have had to date.

MJ: What prompted the two-year break?

AJJ: I was just done. I didn’t even really know if I would come back actually… if I would work again. I went to Vietnam, I went to Africa. I just travelled around. Just one day, I was done. I put my stuff in storage. I got in my car with my dog and just drove cross-country and left LA. And then I did a movie in Montreal which I really enjoyed. I really enjoyed Montreal so I sort of stayed in Montreal a lot. I was just kind of done with the whole scene. I don’t know, I was just ready to go back again.

MJ: You said that you’re applying for your residency in Canada, so what is it about Canada that is so appealing to you?

AJJ: Well, I think mostly because I did find a home that I really liked. A place in Montreal. I have met a guy there. Actually, I am three and a half months pregnant.

MJ: Oh wow, really? Do you speak French yet?

AJJ: No. But he does. He’s French-Canadian. I am in the process of learning, but it’s a hard language. I think because he’s Canadian, I’ll probably get my residency and keep my citizenship in the U.S. of course.

MJ: Is the subject matter for a show like this difficult? I sort of remember your typical characters always being like ‘oh, does he like me, does he not’ and now you are dealing with much bigger issues as far as your character goes. Do you ever find the stuff that you’re doing on this show harder?

AJJ: Actually, no, I find it much the opposite. This is running around with guns saying ‘police… put your hands up!’ This kind of thing to me is physically harder but a lot less emotionally straining. I actually enjoyed ‘What About Brian’ acting-wise a lot more. I was enjoying getting into the comedy and doing all that. That’s sort of my niche and I sort of loved that so this is very different for me but I am enjoying myself big-time. But I don’t find a lot of acting going on (I mean for myself) as much.

MJ: That’s interesting because when I watched a clip of the show, I saw the one guy holding a gun against his hostage and that’s pretty gripping emotionally right?

AJJ: Oh, it is very intense and it’s running around with guns. It’s just a lot of physical.

MJ: Instead of worrying about ‘how I feel?’

AJJ: Exactly. It’s not as touchy-feely. Although the show definitely does go into the emotions of these cops but at the same time it’s a little bit less for me because it’s less memorization. There’s not as much dialogue you know?

MJ: Why do you think a show like What About Brian didn’t work because I thought that show had it all.

AJJ: Because they didn’t keep me on! (Laughs). I liked it too. I loved my character! I really wish got to do more episodes. I think I did three or four. I don’t know. I think it’s hard because it’s a show about a male in his mid-30’s and that type of show is more geared toward women. Women enjoy that type of show more.

MJ: So you think if it was a female in her mid-30’s, it might have been more successful?

AJJ: Maybe. You never know. You never know.

MJ: It’s true because guys can’t watch it because it’s like a chick show. And girls can’t identify. That’s a good point. Why should people watch Flashpoint? Is there one thing that defines it. When you’re on set, do you sort of know that it is going to be a good show?

AJJ: I don’t know if it is going to be a good show. I am really hoping. I think the way it is shot and I think that the guest stars that they have on the show are amazing. I think the scripts are really good. I think it has a chance to be a really good show. I did see the pilot and the pilot was amazing and it’s even better now. We’ll see how people respond to it but I actually personally haven’t seen a full show with my character in it and whatever. I just saw the pilot which I know they have changed a lot. The producers, the directors, there’s just so much heart going into it that it feels like it has the potential to be something really special.

MJ: Can you tell me more about your character Jules Callaghan? Is she the tough girl? One of the guys?

AJJ: Well, she’s the only girl. She is very tough to be a part of the team. To be a sniper. She repels. What was your question again?

MJ: Obviously the question that everybody is going to ask is that if she is the only girl, there has to be a romance storyline at some point.

AJJ: Oh, there will be something sort of developing of course.

MJ: So I guess when I asked you before if it was totally different from your other shows, I guess to a degree…

AJJ: Well, they are starting to throw that in there which now I am excited about because now I am starting to get scenes that are more my thing.

MJ: What’s next for you? Have you guys wrapped?

AJJ: No, no, no. We’re in Episode 5 right now and we are shooting 13.

MJ: That’s perfect, thank you.

Flashpoint airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m. on CTV

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