By: Kayla Caldwell
Elsie on the Blumhouse Television-produced SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES is self-assured, determined, and incredibly brave. She has to deal with a lying, deadbeat father, unreliable caregivers, and the unstable and heartbreaking uncertainty of the foster care system.
Elsie faces more trauma in her youth than most adults will face in a lifetime, but she doesn’t let it stop her. So I leapt at the chance to chat with the amazing Jordan Alexander, the actress who beautifully portrays her. We talked about how she relates to her character, the most difficult scene to shoot, and what it's like to work with Juliette Lewis.
What drew you to SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES?
Jordan Alexander: I was totally drawn in to SACRED LIES because of the depth of the storytelling, and also the consciousness of what the content was. I know that Raelle Tucker, the showrunner and creator, is such a conscious being. I felt like she really brought that to the forefront, having a lot of female characters, having a diverse cast, racially, and talking about issues that need to be talked — while also making it art, so it’s accessible for people.
How do you relate to your character, Elsie?
Jordan Alexander: So much! That was another drawing factor. I felt like, oh my gosh, I get her! I know I can play her. She feels like her only outlet and her only way to express herself is through music, and that the answers to her life are through music.
As a musician, I couldn’t agree more. She’s also got this idea that she doesn’t need anyone. Maybe I don’t want to admit it, but I feel sometimes I am the same way. I don’t want to need anyone. So I really felt like I understood her from that perspective.
How was it getting into the headspace of a character who goes through so much hardship?
Jordan Alexander: Actually, my sister was helping me with that. She said, you know, you have to be able to check out, and do a little self-care, because this is a fictional story, but the reality of that experience couldn’t be more real.
I had to remember that while those things do happen, I would do anything in my power to stop it. And I think this show shining a light on that [foster case system] is also going to be giving a voice to people who haven’t had one, and that is meaningful. So that really helped.
How did you prepare for the role?
Jordan Alexander: I watched foster kids who have YouTube channels. I spoke to a couple of people in my personal life who have experienced the foster care system, although it is different in Canada [where Alexander is from].
I wanted to do a lot of research into the way it actually makes people feel, and how they react to those situations, so I could portray it in the most authentic way possible, and do justice to those people’s experiences. Because when you go through something difficult, the worst thing is to have it be misunderstood.
Was there a scene that was particularly difficult to shoot?
Jordan Alexander: Trashing the kitchen was a lot of energy, and actually, Ryan [Kwanten] helped me understand that when you’re doing a really physical or even emotionally demanding scene, which, that was both, you have to pace yourself.
You don’t go crazy from jump, so that was definitely a little actor 101… I had to adjust to that, because when the passion was within me, I was freaking out and genuinely upset with what was happening, and the injustice of it all. It was hard to scale it back. I did end up with a couple of little self-inflicted bruises, but worth it for the art.
Harper (Juliette Lewis) and Elsie become somewhat of a team. What was it like working with such a Hollywood legend?
Jordan Alexander: It was fantastic. She is such an incredible and unique person. Even without being Juliette Lewis, she’s just fascinating. You will be drawn to her.
I learned a lot from her process, and I learned a lot about how humble and gracious she is to everyone on set… It didn’t matter who you were, she wanted to make sure that everyone was comfortable. That’s just her nature. So I thought that was really cool, given her wild success.
Is there anything else you can tease for us about Elsie?
Jordan Alexander: Nothing is as it seems. You’ll get your bearings in one truth, and then realize out of left field, that it’s not. That’s the most exciting part, guessing your way through, and then having the rug pulled out from under you.
New episodes of SACRED LIES: THE SINGING BONES premiere Thursdays at 12pm on Facebook Watch.
Photos provided by Blumhouse Television / Facebook Watch