*Tamala Jones is a face that has been familiar to Film and TV lovers for years. From roles in films like “The Wood,” to her seven-year run on the series “Castle,” Jones steps into both comedic and dramatic roles with ease.
Next up for the actress, the new ABC drama, “Rebel” which is based on environmental activist Erin Brockovich’s life. The series stars Katey Sagal (“Married with Children,” “Sons of Anarchy”) as Annie “Rebel” Belo. Rebel is a blue-collar legal advocate without a law degree. Although she can be a mess, she’s also a smart and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves.
Jill: Introduce us to Lana and this interesting family dynamic:
TAMALA JONES: My character Lana is human. I’m going to say that to start. She’s wonderful with being a kick-ass investigator. She and Rebel are like sisters from another mister. They go out there and handle whatever issue is going on. Lana is her muscle, so if someone needs to get their butt kicked, Lana is there to do that. But she has layers, and just like anyone else, she has issues that she’s dealing with, along with the day-to-day things she has to deal with as well. That’s the one thing I do appreciate about Lana. She’s not all fluff and glamour. She’s like, I got stuff, but I have to do this. And it’s great to have that in a character.
Jill: She seems to be the centerpiece of the family. Walk us through the journey that she’s going to go through in season 1.
TAMALA JONES: You’re going to see a lot with her, to be honest. She’s had some issues that she’s having to deal with. And that she will always have to deal with for the rest of her life. On top of that, she’s got a niece that is going through the same thing. I have to be auntie and stay on top of it because I know what it did to me. And then, we have investigating to do. We have family issues within that. She’s also got the loudness within herself. It’s peace with everyone else, but it’s a mess over there with her. I love that she has all of those different layers.
Jill: You mentioned her being the muscle, and we get to see a little bit of that in the first episode. Did you do your stunts? Will you be out there roughing up the bad guys?
TAMALA JONES: Listen, I did a lot of stunts but, ABC is very protective. They wouldn’t let me do all of them. They said no Tom Cruising over here. You can do this much, but we’re going to have to get a stunt double. (Te stunt double is) amazing. Once I saw how everything was cut together, I said, all right guys, I get it. I really liked her (the stunt double). And you couldn’t see the difference between us.
Jill: Lana and Benji are brother and sister, you and James (Lesure) were on a sitcom in the 90s called “For Your Love” together. What’s that been like working together again?
TAMALA JONES: I was dating first, then married to his brother on that show. But then he messed it up! When I saw James was joining the cast, I was like, no way. That has been my soul brother since then. I love James. We kept in touch after “For Your Love” throughout the years… it was so weird, right before this project, right before this audition – we didn’t mention anything about this – we hung out. I always cook for James. Anytime we hang out, we cook, we sip, and we catch up. We play old-school music. This time I had a record player, so I thought I was grown. And then, what do you know, a couple of months later, we are cast as brother and sister. I told him, you’ve always been my brother. This is God’s way of saying this. For the rest of your life.
Created by three-time Emmy nominee Krista Vernoff (“Grey’s Anatomy”) besides Sagal and Jones, “Rebel” also stars Lesure (“Good Girls”), Lex Scott Davis (“The First Purge,” “Super Fly”) Ariela Barer (“Runaways”), Kevin Zegers (“Transamerica”), Sam Palladio (“Nashville”) and Andy Garcia.
“Rebel” comes to ABC Thursday, April 8 at 10/9c.