Exclusive: Amber Stevens Talks ’22 Jump Street’Posted by Wilson Morales
June 16, 2014
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the the sequel to ’21 Jump Street,’ also stars Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, Jillian Bell, Peter Stomare, Craig Roberts, The Lucas Brothers, and Caroline Aaron.
After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don’t have to just crack the case – they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.
One of the new faces in the film and on the big screen is newcomer Amber Stevens, who plays Maya, Schmidt’s love interest. Best known for her role as Ashleigh Howard in the ABC Family series Greek, the Los Angeles native has grown up in the media world through her father, actor and radio announcer Shadoe Stevens. She’s worked her way up the acting world from bit roles to guest spots in films (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, The Amazing Spider-Man) and television (The Bold and the Beautiful, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, How I Met Your Mother, 90210). After this film, the future looks bright for bigger roles.
In speaking with Blackfilm.com, Stevens talks about her time on ’22 Jump Street’ and learning the business through her family and work experiences.
How would you best describe Maya?
Amber Stevens: Maya is an art student at the college that the boys are going undercover and I live down the hall from the girl whose death they’re investigating. Jonah’s character has to follow me and see if I can get him more information for the case and a romance unfolds.
AS: I had seen the first film and loved it. I thought it was so funny and so much and really unexpectedly wonderful that I was so excited that they were making another one. When I got the chance to audition and now to be a part of it, it’s just so incredible. I’m excited about it.
The first film was adapted from the TV series of the 80s, in which you were very young at the time. Had anyone told you about it or were you able to catch it as reruns on a cable channel?
AS: No. I knew about it only because Johnny Depp is so well known for being a part of it and Holly Robinson, but I never got to see the series before.
AS: Yes. I always wanted to work in comedy and this is such an huge opportunity. To play opposite was such a privilege and a learning experience. I got so much more out of it.
Having worked on other projects prior to this, where do you think you best fit, comedy or drama?
AS: Comedy. That’s what I always wanted to do and that’s what I love to do. Who knows if I’m better at it than drama. That’s up to the audience to decide but I really, really love comedy and I’m going to continue to go for it. What I love most is television and I would love to work on a sitcom. I think the idea of doing a live audience taped show every week and just the rush of that would be a dream. I would love to do that.
Was there any particular scene or part that you’re most fond from doing the film?
AS: We were out of town, and I had never traveled for quite so long and we were in New Orleans and I live in Los Angeles. To be out of town and work and just that in itself was so much; and getting to know the other cast that were there and going out to dinners and getting to know each other was a blast. We also got to spend a week in Puerto Rico and on one of our last nights shooting there, we all met up and just had a big night of dancing. Those were some of the best memories that I got as a personal experience and getting to be a part of something like this.
Did you get a chance to connect with Ice Cube and the directors?
AS: Oh yeah. We got to know each other. I did work with Jonah the most. The directors are incredibly awesome and cool guys and super down-to-earth and really hard working. I worked a lot with Jillian Bell, who basically the other girl in the movie, and she and I totally bonded and she’s hilarious. I can’t wait to see her career unfold because she’s so brilliant and such a good person.
With this film probably the biggest in your career, in terms of exposure, have you started thinking about what’s next?
AS: I just hope the film opens more doors for me. Even if it doesn’t, I just going to enjoy this moment for what it is.
With your father in the media world, did that help guide you to be in this business?
AS: Absolutely. Watching my dad go through all of the different career paths in the entertainment industry that he has, has absolutely influenced me. My parents are also encouraging. My mom always likes to joke that I came out top dancing. I’ve been a performer since I was a little kid and I loved to entertain people. It was a natural place for me. I think having my parents’ support and watching my dad do it himself. My dad was a theater major and he’s acted and he’s done so much television and radio and film, and seeing how much fun he had doing that totally made me want to try. At the same time, I think I have a realistic grasp on what success can be like in this industry because there are so many ups and downs. I think the biggest lesson that I’ve taken from my dad so far is to just enjoy the moment and don’t forget about it and don’t be worried about the next thing because you just never know what the future holds.
Looking at your credits from IMDB, many will be surprised that you had already appeared in some big films like ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’.
AS: Those roles were very, very small ones. In ‘Tokyo Drift,’ I just had a couple of lines but my scene from ‘Spider-Man’ was cut from the movie. I ended up being a featured extra. The fact that I had the opportunity to be on that set with those people and meet them was great. The audience doesn’t know that I was a part of that film unless they read it on IMDB like you did but I got the experience and opportunity and I’m grateful for every little job I ever had. I’m going to keep my fingers cross because I think this will be an exciting time for me.
AS: I have a horror movie that comes out at the end of the summer. It’s called ‘Jessabelle’ and it’s your traditional ghost story and it’s very spooky and I think people will enjoy themselves.