Note to readers: this is another series of articles
that I’m going to write once in awhile about The L Word cast
members and what are they doing now. The articles will consist of
short updates and interviews, when possible.
Part II: Projects and appearances
(If you missed Part I: Comic-Con, Twitter, and the Internet, check
B&TF: Great…let’s talk now about some of your
recent works and projects. Recently you appeared on the episode
of “The Cleaner”.
JG: Did you see it?
B&T: Yes I did. I liked it and you were really believable
as a drug addict.
JG: (laughing) Thank you so much.
B&TF: And as an Indian person…
JG: I know, it was crazy.
photo credit: Angelo Sotira
B&TF: How long it took to put the paint on your hands?
JG: We re-did it every day. The make-up artist was awesome. By
the final day of the two weeks, we got it down to half an hour from
the second I opened my hands to “done”.
B&TF: In addition to drugs you also played a very pregnant
JG: Yes, very pregnant, that was odd (laughing). I ask myself, “Which
one was more weird, the meth or the pregnancy” and I would
have to go with the pregnancy (laughing).
B&TF: This is goes with my next question. When you prepare for
a role like this how much homework do you do?
JG: I had to do a lot of homework. The show itself based off of
a real guy who is the Real Cleaner. His name is Warren Boyd and
I followed Warren around like a puppy for those two weeks. I was
so obsessed with him.
B&TF: Is he involved with the show?
JG: Yes, very much so. He’s one of the producers and creators.
He had to teach me how to strike up a crack pipe. And I was so scared
that I would look bad and won’t do it right that I just kept
saying, “Let’s do it again, let’s do it again.”
Because I’m such a straight edge, I haven’t really smoked
B&TF: Who helped you with being a pregnant lady?
JG: Alex Kondracke who just had her baby.
B&TF: Oh she did have her baby?
JG: Yes, she just had him. Unfortunately, what I was wearing wasn’t
weighted, it was just foam and I had to naturally move and sit in
a way as pregnant women do. Odd, very odd.
B&TF: So it was just this one episode?
JG: I did the season finale as well.
B&TF: Oh, so you will just show up as the same character…
JG: Don't wanna ruin anything…
B&TF: When is the season finale coming so I can tell the fans
JG: I don’t know in what episode they are in right now. I
think they are showing episode four and they did total of 12 or
B&TF: You know that week after you Mia Kirshner was on it as
JG: Yes, right! I haven’t see Mia’s episode yet.
B&TF: I missed it too but the fans can still watch it on AETV.com/thecleaner
just like yours was online.
JG: Yes, it was the most harrowing two weeks of my life but maybe
the most invigorating two weeks of work of my career so far.
B&TF: And you have some Indian blood in you so it wasn’t
as weird as being a drug addict?
JG: I was much more worried about inhaling whatever they put in
the crack pipe.
B&TF: I actually was always wondering what they use on the shows
for drugs or alcohol because it has to look believable and realistic.
JG: They replace it with different things. Brown alcohols are
mostly iced tea; they use non-alcoholic beer, or sparkling cider
for champagne. They use lactose for meth.
B&TF: Interesting. By the way, when you said that you do research
for the roles that you’re not really familiar with, what did
you do to play a space trooper on Stargate Atlantis?
JG: Oh yeah, we went through gun training. We learned how to shoot
P90 submachine guns.
B&TF: Were they real guns?
JG: Oh yeah, with fully loaded with blanks and this much fire were
coming up front (she holds her hands about two feet apart) actually
it was more like this (three feet apart). It will push you back
if you’re not ready for it. One of the scenes I had to do,
I was sitting like perched in the house on the second floor and
I’m all set up (showing the way she was sitting). My character
is a total badass and a smartass who kind of over it and just wants
to kick some ass, it was a great character.
B&TF: Bad ones are the best to play.
JG: Yeah and it was a huge crane shoot in this massive area. There’s
a lot riding on me getting this right and I had so much business
to do. I had to chew a gum, I have to blow a bubble, I have to sit
there, I have to wait for the fire to go off, make sure I had a
cue and then shoot in this direction. I don’t know, some nonsense
like that. It was so logistically crazy. By the way, note to anyone
out there who’s trying to blow a bubble on cue – make
sure you chew it long enough so the sugar gets out of it because
if it’s Bubblicious it needs to be kind of stale gum to be
able to get a perfect bubble.
B&TF: How many takes did that scene take?
JG: Too many, too many (laughing). And again, the things that you
think you’re going to worry about are not what you should
be worried about. It’s not the gun, it’s the bubble
gum (laughing). How come I didn’t go through bubble gum training?
That's what I really should’ve gone through.
B&TF: Exactly…well, let’s talking about your ACME
appearance. Tell me a little about ACME, how did you end up hosting
it and how was it?
JG: It was a blast! ACME on www.acmecomedy.com
is a sketch comedy troupe, school and theatre. They’ve been
around for 20 years. Every Saturday night they have a sketch show,
much like Saturday Night Live, in a theatre in Hollywood. Now they
stream it live on ACMEComedy.tv on Saturdays at 8pm.
B&TF: It’s at the same time when they actually having
JG: Yeah, absolutely… all live. It was crazy that I was doing
this show (laughing). I have a comedian friend, watching online.
I would go back stage to do a quick change, text him about how the
show was going, then I go back on stage, do something crazy, go
back, change, text. He was like, “That was effin’ funny…that
one just made me laugh really hard” and so I thought, “Okay,
if he thinks it’s funny then we’re good.”
B&TF: So they just emailed you and asked you?
JG: They have a celebrity host every week for the Saturday night
show. And they knew that I did comedy stuff as well. I was very
happy to do it.
B&TF: When you said you’ve done comedy did you mean like
JG: No, not stand-up, that frightens the hell out of me, but I’ve
done sketch. I work with a group, called OPMComedy,
whenever I can, which hasn’t be a lot lately, sadly.
B&TF: Are you going to appear again on ACME?
B&TF: Is there some kind of archive for people who missed watching
the show live?
JG: Yep! It's all on YouTube. Search “Acme” and my name.
It's the 6/13/09 show. It was wild. Very high energy. (Check out
part of Janina’s appearance on ACME with a little tribute
to The L Word.
B&TF: And it’s actually a real theater where people can
go and watch?
B&TF: Since we’re talking about being funny, I honestly
think that you are one of the funniest persons I’ve interviewed…
JG: Wow! Thanks, though I’m a little low energy today…not
B&TF: Not enough?
JG: Just one cup ain’t enough, so I’m not bringing the
funny today, sorry (laughing).
B&TF: I think you’re doing just fine. I personally think
that humor will save the world but when I try to be funny, not everyone
gets it because my humor is Russian.
JG: (laughing) You tell a joke and people like, “Whaaa?…That
was entirely too Eastern-European for me”? And you like, “I
just handed you comedy gold!” (laughing). How sad.
B&TF: Yeah, exactly (laughing). Do you consider yourself a funny
person? Does it come naturally to you?
JG: I don’t really think I’m funny. But people laugh
at me, so…
B&TF: Maybe you’re just a happy person.
JG: Maybe! I feel a lot. Period. I laugh a lot (laughing). I just
invest a lot in the things around me. I’m just an emotional
being. I’m color-sensitive and sound-sensitive.
B&TF: Like a Stendhal syndrome…
JG: Yes! I have major internal reactions to everything around me.
It's quite taxing, really (laughing).
B&TF: Kind of like watching a sad movie and crying all the way
JG: There are movies that I will not watch because I can not emotionally
take it, which is sad but true. It’s too much.
B&TF: Do you like comedy or drama better?
JG: In Chicago I was a theater kid and most of the material was
more dramatic. When I came here, I took all these meetings with
different casting directors and they were like, “You’re
funny, you should do multi-camera comedy”. As if that was
my little niche that I was going to fit in. And I’ve never
even considered where I fit. I just like playing characters, that’s
B&TF: So when your agent sends you to auditions and when you
look at the scripts they sent, how do you choose the roles?
JG: It’s all about the character. I get this question a lot
if I want to do television or film…I don’t care. It
could be on the cell phone, as long as the character is full-bodied
and exciting to me.
B&TF: So, nothing flat or two dimensional?
JG: If I’ve seen it, or done it before then I’m not
gonna be that interested.
B&TF: Do you consider the storyline as well?
JG: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, the storyline is obviously part
of the character development. Character’s first for me.
(Stay tuned for part III as Janina talks about being on The
L Word and her first ever L Convention).