Actress Jaimie Alexander is the geek-girl-next-door you’ve always dreamed about…if by “girl next door” we mean statuesque beauty who can likely take out a small legion of assassins with her pinky.
Though she is a stunning former wrestler currently engaged in an intimate relationship with a double-bladed long staff, Alexander is still in full possession of the down-to-Earth ease, charm, and humor we all associate with our favorite girls-guy girls.
What is a “girls-guy girl?” (You may be asking yourself). Allow us to illuminate you. A girls-guy girl is that rare and blessed breed that is as comfortable in the company of women as she is in the company of men. She is as likely to eat pizza and drink beer as she is to be in possession of Laura Mercier make-up. She is the type of woman who loves the brothers that taught her about comics so much that she has their initials tattooed on her inner arm. A tomboy, who grew into a beauty queen, who can still make other ladies feel immediately at ease with her natural warmth and sense of welcome.
In love yet? Just wait till you see Alexander’s turn as the Goddess of War, Sif, this weekend in Thor.
This geek-girl goddess takes to the role of Sif like X-23 to her adamantium claws, and embodies all of the qualities of a warrioress, while still maintaining an essential sense of genuine femininity. That femininity includes both strength, vulnerability, and, yes, a sex-appeal that is as graceful as her fighting, rather than that forcefully “put-on” brand of sex-appeal we so often see.
We began our conversation with Alexander by connecting via the Marvel character Jubilee. We wont give all the (gory?) details, but suffice to say that it led quite naturally to an investigation into the actress’ geek-girlyness and a question about any novelty merchandise she may possess.
Jaimie Alexander: I used to have a lightsaber, but it wasn’t the cool one. My freind Milo Ventimiglia is like a huge comic-book fan, he was on “Heroes” and stuff, and he actually has his own comic-book that he does called “Berserker” and I went to his office and, of course, he has the storm trooper helmet. So we went around and played with lightsabers — it was really awkward. I had some of that, and I always had a cape (leans in conspiratorially) but shhhh, it was a “Superman” cape, don’t say anything, I’m a fan of DC comics.
But yeah I always had stuff like that, but it was mainly my brothers’ stuff because that’s how I got started in comics, and it’s funny because I stopped reading them for awhile. I got into high school and then I came out here to be an actor and it was one of those things where I just didn’t follow them as much. I don’t even think I knew where to go to get them out here. This land was so foreign to me. And then a couple of years ago I started reading some more. They came out with Wolverine and Jubilee and it’s okay, it’s not like it used to be. It’s a little different and with the whole vampire thing I was like ‘what the f***!’ I mean it was still good, but then all of a sudden I start learning about X-23 from Craig Kyle when I got on “Thor.” I started reading X-23 and I was like ‘Holy Monkeys!’ It’s like everything I wanted, it’s like Wolverine and Jubilee together mixed into one person and then you still have Gambit who’s there, and that’s really awesome, and that’s my new obsession.
SR: How surreal is it that you’re on a coke can?
JA: (laughing) It’s weird.
SR: What’s the strangest piece of merchandise with your image on it that you’ve seen?
JA: It’s a toss up between the action figure because it’s a little mini-me, and then at 7-Eleven they have a straw of me with my arm up (sword and all) and it looks like I’m trying to kill something. It’s like, ‘You’re drinking out of me, that’s weird.’ But it’s just been so cool, my brothers have been so tickled by it and my mom loves it and I’m just thankful to have that, you know. As an actress you just think ‘wow, this is all only going to help me get more work.’ I’m totally living my dream.
SR: Did you hardcore pursue this? Did Kenneth Branagh sort of find you, or did you go to your agents saying ‘you have to get me in for this because I am perfect to play this role?’
JA: You know it’s funny because I had read about it months and months prior because I had actually tested for a film called “Red Dawn” with Chris (Hemsworth). And I never met Chris, but I really wanted that movie and I was like ‘man!’ You know I was so bummed when I didn’t get it. Then all of a sudden this “Thor” audition came up and I said ‘okay, I just know I’m supposed to work with this guy.’ It was so weird and I said ‘I can do this, I can play a Super Hero.’ You know I already sort of feel like I am, that’s like the geek side of me. When I’m out running I’m like ‘yeah, I’m Sif.’ Too much information.
SR: Hate to contradict, but it’s actually just the right amount.
JA: (laughing) But, yeah I went in and I read for the part, and I only read for the casting director. Kenneth Branagh was in Sweden at that time. So they sent in my tape and all of a sudden I get this phone call and my manager is like, ‘Sooo, Kenneth Branagh wants to have a Skype conversation with you.’ And I was like, ‘Holy mother!’ And yeah, he saw the tape and had a conversation with me and got to know my personality and told me to go in and do it so many different ways, do it angry, fun…Then I got the part a couple of days later, I didn’t have to screen test or anything.
She takes a minute to think and then corrects herself, saying:
JA: Actually, the guys at Marvel played a huge joke on me which I still need to get them back for. On a Friday they called me and said, ‘Okay you need to master a British accent, we’re going to send you a new script and you need to go over it and we want you to come in Monday and you’re going to have a screen test.’ They didn’t send me the script! I was freaking out the whole weekend! I was like, ‘Dude they didn’t send me the script! What am I supposed to do? I don’t know what I’m supposed to say.’ And I get there on Monday and I was like, ‘Something’s fishy.’ Because then I got a phone call from Ken saying, ‘We’re really proud of you…’ And I was like, ‘What? What is happening? Did I get this part?’ So I go in there and everyone starts cracking up! And they’re like, ‘Ah, we’re just kidding, now go to wardrobe.’ And I was like, ‘I’m gonna kill all of you! But thank you, I love you!’ And I went to wardrobe.
SR: So now that you’re part of the Marvel Universe are there more movies in store? I know you said that you would love to play X-23, but Sif has this relationship with Thor in the comics and I got the impression in the movie that there was a little something there on your part…
JA: Yeah, yeah we did it kind of subtly.
SR: Yeaaahh, but you were feeling it, you were into him.
JA: Oh, yeah I totally was. There were actually more scenes that were cut from the film because it was a little overkill. Which I think was a good decision. You know we wanted it to be subtle, and we wanted it to be there — it leaves the door open for more films. I’m optioned for two different franchises, which you obviously know what they are (“Thor,” “The Avengers“) and it just depends on where they want to stick me, and half the time we don’t know. Like I had no idea that Jeremy Renner was in our film until like maybe a month ago! Everything is so super top-secret that sometimes they film separately so that you don’t know, which helps me because then I don’t accidentally give anything away.
SR: Has anyone talked to you about developing that relationship at all?
JA: Yeah there’s been some talk about it, but it’s one of those things where I can’t say too much. But there is a reason that we sort of subtly hinted to it in the first film. Just so that there is a door. If we want to go through that door we can. They like to cover all their bases over at Marvel. I think they always sort of work on a sequel in preparation just in case. So I think they kind of already are working on something. I think they started that a long time ago. But it’s one of those things if we get the green light…nobody knows. And it’s one of those things, if we don’t, we don’t. If we do then we’re all gonna be there on the first day of work like, ‘Yes!’
SR: Is there any possibility that we will see Sif in The Avengers?
JA: That possibility is there, but I have heard nothing. I don’t think so on the first one, but, you never know. They may call in three weeks and be like, ‘Oh, by the way…’ and I would be like, ‘I have not worked out in like eight months!’
SR: Ah, that brings us to the training. Did being on your high school wrestling team help you with the training? And don’t half nelson me ’cause I saw you on Jimmy Kimmel and you would take me down past China town.
JA: (Laughing) That was such a puny half nelson too! I was like ‘I’m in a dress, and Jimmy is not moving.’ It did help yes. I think what it was, was that I started the female wrestling team at my school and I really had to take a lot of s**t from guys. And it was embarrassing a lot of times. So when I got into this they said, ‘Are you going to be okay training? Do you want us to get you a female trainer? How do you want to proceed?’ And I was like, ‘No, just do whatever, I don’t care — I can do this.’ And the guys were so nice, like Chris is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Everyone else as well. I mean Tadanobu Asano (Hogun) was amazing and Ray Stevenson (Volstagg) was like my little side kick, we had a good time together, and seeing him do yoga was fun.
SR: Wait, you guys did yoga together?
(We had no idea that The Punisher likes to give folks a gentle “Namaste” right before he drop kicks a world of pain on em’!)
JA: Oh we did everything. We did everything for hours. We stunt fought next to each other and I’d be like, ‘Get over there Josh!’ (Josh Dallas aka Fandral). Like he’d whip out his sword and I’d seriously be like, ‘get-over-there!’ We’d just mess with each other.
SR: Who was the whiniest?
JA: The whiniest? Oh man Loki for sure! (Both laughing) Nah, I’m just teasing. Well Ray was the biggest smart a**, so he’d make comments to us and then go smoke a cigarette. And we were like, ‘Ray, are you kidding me!’ And then he’d come in and actually start training again…in blue jeans, it was great.
(Now there’s The Punisher we know.)
JA: Yes, wrestling played a big part in this for me, and the fact that I have brothers.
SR: Did you guys become very close?
JA: We did, yes. Ken’s main thing with us training together was for us to form this bond. We had this whole opening sequence that you guys won’t see, but you might see on the DVD extra’s that we walk in an arrow where I protect the left side of Thor and Loki protects the right side and we do this crazy dive roll where each of us reach out and we protect him. And that’s our job, so we had to really know where the other ones were, and what we were thinking, and everybody had a strength and a weakness in training. Chris is probably the strongest human I’ve ever met. He lifted me up over his head at one point and I was like, ‘This is awesome.’
SR: Yeah…so how hard was it not to just touch what Kenneth Branagh aptly describes as that ‘awe inspiring” chest every so often?
JA: Oh no I would always go up to him like, ‘Hey what’s up how you doing?’ slapping him on the chest. Sometimes my hand would linger a little too long, or I would stare at him and they were like, ‘That’s okay, you’re just in character.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah…that’s why I’m doing it.’
SR: Is there one moment that you remember for Sir Anthony Hopkins and Kenneth Branagh that defines the experience of working with them?
JA: For me, when I was in rehearsal with Anthony and Ken, that was it. Anthony is a great man, you know he gives you a hug, he’s so funny. Every morning when we would work together he would come in about an hour after I got to work, about 6:30 in the morning and say, ‘Guess where I was this morning? I was at the gym!’ And he would flex his biceps and I would just think, ‘Man, I love you.’
Ken came up to me during one of the fight sequences that I was having a hard time with; it was hard to breathe in the corset, and I was nervous about my accent. And he said, ‘Look, take the lashes off your back, I’m going to put my hand there, and I’m going to guide you through this. Just hang on to me and it will be fine.’ He just said, ‘Trust me, I wont make you look bad. I’m going to help you.’ And from that day forward I just felt so comfortable. Really good people.
The hard work and effort that our “geek-guys-girl/girls-girl” Jaimie Alexander puts into her work shows up on the screen, and we feel certain that she will be winning countless new fans with her turn as Lady Sif in Thor, which opens this Friday May 6th, stay tuned for our continuing coverage.
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