Ava Louise Murchison can be seen starring as the title role of environmentalist Jane Garcia in Apple TV+’s new educational adventure series Jane, which was released on April 14th and is inspired by the work of Dr. Jane Goodall. Jane features both live-action and animation and also includes a documentary segment at the end of each episode, and Ava Louise works alongside a cast including Mason Blomberg as Jane’s best friend David, and Tamara Almeida as her on-screen mother. Also last month, Ava Louise had a guest role in an episode of Accused on FOX, and she has previously played Tally Hubble in Reacher, Luz in the the 2021 short film Luz (which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival virtually during the COVID pandemic), and she was part of Sago Mini Friends for her first animated series, voicing the role of Kiki. Recently, Ava Louise answered our questions about starring as Jane Garcia in Jane, filming for the Dr. Jane Goodall-inspired show and how it felt working on the new Apple TV+ series.
You play the title character of Jane in the new Apple TV+ series Jane, can you tell us about the series?
The series is about a nine-year-old environmentalist named Jane Garcia, who is passionate about saving the earth and animals. She goes on imaginative playtime missions with her best friend David and her toy chimpanzee Greybeard to help protect wild animals around the world. Each episode features a different endangered or at-risk animal – a polar bear, rhino, tiger, and golden-crowned flying fox to mention a few. It’s a very fun and educational show!
The show is inspired by the work of Dr. Jane Goodall, did you know anything about the Jane Goodall Institute before auditioning and what do you hope viewers will learn from the show?
I’d definitely heard about Dr. Jane Goodall before auditioning but it was after booking the show that I came to know more about The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) since they were instrumental to this series. I actually met Dr. Jane Goodall twice! The first time was over Zoom and the second time in person when she came to set. It was wonderful to learn about her life, where she’s been, and all her efforts through her organisation and its projects, especially the JGI’s Roots and Shoots youth program. What I would like viewers to take away from the show is that everyone can make a difference. My hope is that the show can empower people of all ages worldwide to become more compassionate towards animals.
How did you feel finding out you’d booked the role of Jane and what originally drew you to the character?
I was extremely grateful and thrilled because this was my first huge role! What drew me to the character was knowing that I would be bringing the good work of Dr. Jane Goodall to the next generation. She’s a hero and I love the fact that I was going to be this young explorer and be in a show where there were animals in it!
What is Jane like to play and how did you find the experience on set?
Playing Jane’s character was incredible because she is an adventurous girl who is always determined to make her world a better place so she is truly inspiring for me.
I found my experience on set rewarding and it has been absolutely amazing. In the studio, I got to drive the “flying vehicles” and a “submersible craft” that had all these realistic control panels and lights. I loved wearing my “Jane” outfits and hairstyles for the fantasy scenes that we had to shoot, especially the ones that were in remote locations. I had so much fun making this show!
How was it working alongside the rest of the cast, which includes Mason Blomberg as David?
I think my chemistry with the cast such as my set mom Tamara (Almeida), and my best friend, Mason, was great. And off-camera, we all got along and became good friends, and I’m thankful for that.
Did you have a favourite scene or episode to film and what are some of your favourite memories from working on this project?
One of my favourite memories is filming the flying fox episode, which is a type of a bat, and I was fortunate to be able to speak with a bat expert from the Philippines for the documentary segment! Because of the difference in time zones, I was on the Zoom call with her at 9pm and I was still lively and energetic because I like staying up late! These golden-crowned flying foxes can only be found in the Philippines and if you didn’t know, my mom is from the Philippines so, in a way, that allowed me to connect with my roots. Another favourite memory was when it was the last day of filming on set for me, Mason, and Tamara, we all cried and burst into tears because we spent so much time together filming the show and we developed a special bond and lifelong friendship.
Who do you think will enjoy watching Jane and what were you looking forward to for the release?
I was looking forward to seeing how great the CGI would be because I mostly filmed with a puppet or with completely nothing there so I had to use my imagination. I’m sure kids and families will enjoy watching this show!
You have recently been seen in an episode of FOX’s new crime anthology series Accused as Sunny, what was this like to film?
It was super fun even though it’s a serious show. I loved playing Sunny and doing the drama scenes I was in, and I got to meet a lot of lovely people on set. I also got to swim in the pool off-camera since we got lucky with the weather when we filmed it in Toronto during the fall.
Can you tell us about voicing Kiki in Sago Mini Friends and how was it working on an animated series?
It was my first animated series to work on so it was an incredible learning opportunity. They showed me sketches of my character and I played around with expressions. Seeing Kiki the racoon on screen come to life was fascinating.
How would you describe your character Tally in Reacher and what was the show like to film?
I would describe Tally in Reacher as kind, caring, and tough. I was a little nervous on set because this was my first ever TV show before Jane and there was a massive crew working on set but thankfully everyone was nice and fun to be around.
Do you have any stand-out highlights from playing Tally and how was it being in the cast?
I got to show off my drama acting skills through my portrayal of Tally Hubble. I loved being part of the Hubble family and my set parents and sister were all awesome. Some of the stand-out highlights were me running through the woods and having to fake a limp. The night shoots were not tiring for me and it was quite a scene when they created explosions and fire on set! I practically watched an entire building blow up!
We understand you have previously worked on short films, can you tell us about some of them?
I worked on a short film called Luz and I played the role of Luz, a ten-year old girl who was forced to grow up and protect her younger sister. It’s tragic because their mother suffered from drug addiction and died from an overdose. I had to prepare for some emotional moments but it was also fun doing them. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival virtually during the COVID pandemic and was one of the featured shorts by young emerging Canadian filmmakers (TIFF Next Wave 2021). Working on short films in the beginning of my career allowed me to gain knowledge on all the technical terms used on set and basically helped me get used to having cameras in front of me.
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
I’ve always been a performer since I was young. My mom and I met with an agent and it wasn’t long before I started to book commercials and TV shows. That’s how it all started! I also went to a talent convention in Toronto where I met my manager and won the Best Child Actor award. It was then I realised that I have a passion for acting and I’m grateful to have people believing in me.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch?
For comedy TV shows – Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Superstore. For drama – Wednesday, Stranger Things and Outer Banks (OBX).
For movies – Avatar (2009) and its sequel The Way of Water, Flipped (2010/rom-com), and Wakanda Forever.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I like to go shopping, hang out with my friends and make videos with them, swim (in the summer, obvi) and watch movies or TV shows.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about and what are you hoping 2023 brings you?
We’ll see! I am feeling optimistic about 2023 and I do hope that I get to go back on set soon! 😃 Right now, I just couldn’t be more excited for people to get to see Season 1 of Jane!
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