Keegan Conor Tracy
From the moment Jake 2.0 premiered on UPN, fans whole-heartedly embraced Keegan Connor Tracy's character, the ditzy and adorable Dr. Diane Hughes. Over the course of the series, Diane became more than just a lab coat-wearing techie, but quickly evolved into Jake's best friend (with potential for more than friends), even getting out of the lab and into the field. In episodes such as Last Man Standing, Middleman andwhat most fans have dubbed the best episode of the seriesGet Foley, Tracy was given a chance to show audiences that in addition to her dead-on comedic timing, she possesses first rate acting chops.
Vancouver-based Tracy graciously took time out of her busy schedule to dish with j20fans about Diane's relationship with Jake, memories from the Jake 2.0 set, and what goodies she kept when the series wrapped in January.
J20fans: What is one of your very best memories from the Jake set?
Keegan Connor Tracy: God there are so many! We really gelled and had a great time together. I suppose one memorable moment was near Christmas when we were in the middle of our (on-going) fundraiser and we sang a series of personalised Christmas carols to our crewa true serenade. It was a really fun, silly and surprisingly moving experience. Tech TV even got a piece of it on their B cam.
Christopher Gorham and Keegan Connor Tracy from "Last Man Standing"
Who was your favourite person to work with on Jake, and whom would you have liked to work with more, had the opportunity presented itself?
Hate to play favourites...I suppose though that I really could say Chris Gorhamnot only because he is so fun and such an incredibly talented actor, but also because every time they appeared together, Diane's role was expanding and their relationship was developing. I just love to work and I'm happiest when doing so.
Over the course of the series, the tone of the show shifted somewhat, getting darker as the show's story arc was expanded and the premise evolved. Which did you enjoy more, as a performer? The humour and action, or the drama? Or was it the balance of all three?
Hmmm. I think I enjoy every aspect of the characterisation within a show, but I think that my heart lies in the 'dramedy'. One of the things I loved most about Diane was her innocent funniness. She really had a dorky side to her that if underplayed really could be good for a laugh and I really enjoy that. I loved it when the crew would crack up at something that on paper had no 'funny' in it.
What do you think it is about Jake 2.0 that makes it special, and really captured the hearts of the fans?
I think Jake was special because of Jake. Chris Gorham made a truly believable, loveable and a interesting character, and the relationships that surrounded him were really built well to support that. I think people could relate to Jake. I thought he was a very real hero.
What was a typical schedule for an episode? Considering for the first half of the season most of your scenes were on the same sets, were you only working a few days a week? And as the series continued, and Diane went more out into the field, what was the hardest part about shooting, and what was the best part?
Typical? Nothing was typical on Jake. We wereor rather they were working a lot of 17-8 hour days in the beginning. I was lucky to miss a lot of thosebut as Diane became more prevalent, I got to work moreand sometimes those horrible night shoots. They're hard because that's what stunt-driven shows use a lot of. It adds to the dramaboth on and off set!
Silvio Horta and Gina Matthews had mentioned at the UPN summer press tour last May that while Diane had not been intended to be Jake's love interest, the overwhelming reaction to your chemistry with Chris in the pilot lead to Diane's role being expanded when the show went to series. What was your reaction to the change, and which episode that showcased Jake and Diane's relationship was your favourite, as an actor?
Things heat up between Jake (Christopher Gorham) and Diane (Keegan Connor Tracy) in "Get Foley"
My reaction? "Yeah! I like the sounds of that!" I worked hard to create that relationshipand Chris and I obviously had good chemistry for those characters. We genuinely (I think...) liked each other and so their relationship was able to develop with that underlying friendship. As for my favourite episodeI think it would be Get Foley which was a great culmination for those two, and I'm really glad we at least got to do that.
I think of the things fans loved most about Diane was that while she may not have been as innocent and at times naļve as Jake, she wasn't nearly as cynical as, say, Kyle or Lou regarding the NSA and the work they did, and so she was an excellent buffer/balance among the ensemble.
I really enjoyed seeing Diane struggle with the balance between her feelings for Jake and her workand to balance those with her social ineptitudes. I would have loved to have seen her apply to work in the field as an agentgo through the training and all that. I think it would have been a laugh.
As the only member of the cast with a website, did you get inundated with fan mail?
Well, I don't know if 'inundated' would be quite accurate, but I did get a lot of mail. I hadn't really done anything that had a following like Jake. I think 'Dr Thora' was my first internet nickname. We really appreciated the fans' efforts to keep us goingwe all really wanted it to work. I think maybe UPN's vision was not as broad as ours was.
Did you get to keep any of Diane's funky wardrobe or jewellery after the show wrapped?
I did get a few cool pieces of Diane's. I kept her ring because I loved it and just felt like we should not be separated... I also was given the glasses and my ID. ! couldn't resist keeping those things, although I tend to save things from every character, so I have a little collection.
Of all of the characters you've played, which are furthest from Keegan, and which are most similar, in your mind?
Of course I search for roles which allow me to explore things I am not, and I like to play edgier, left-of-centre characters. No one is really 'furthest' from Keegan, since they all have elements of me, but I guess maybe ...hmmmm. I think I'd have to say that the differences are the most funAudrey's ditziness, Diane's social fumblings. I like exploring those things. I don't play girls-next-door. They're boring to me.
When you got your first paycheque from Jake, what was the first thing you bought for yourself that you didn't necessarily need, but wanted?
A digital camera in Toronto while still shooting the pilot. I don't think I'd even gotten paid yet!
What drew you to the craft of acting? What makes it your passion, and if you hadn't become an actor, what other careers could you see yourself in?
I was born to be an actorit is my dharma, I know it. I love to live inside the details. Love love love it. Other careers? Filmmaker, adventurer, philanthropist, wacky neighbourhood artist.
Having worked in both film and television, which is your favourite medium?
My favourite is working. I love films because you can move on, but TV is great because it's on-going, mutable. Films are also great because of the depth to which you can go and the time to really explore and do coverage. TV is more fast-paced and less forgiving in some ways.
Having lived in and travelled extensively Europe, is there any one thing that you think Europeans have a better handle on than their North American counterparts?
I think Europeans have a way better handle on sexuality than North Americans. Here sex is everywhere and everyone is so afraid of it. A nipple is a dirty thing herein Europe they are a little more grown-up and mature about it. They don't get riled up about nudity and sexuality the way we do. We have a very hypocritical system which pretends that sexuality is bad but then splashes is everywhere with little regard. "But violence is okay... Just no nipples!"
Keegan as Kat in Final Destination 2
You've quite a fan following from your work in "Final Destination 2". Do you see yourself working in the horror genre at all in the future?
Sureit's fun and kind of mindlessit's not Shakespeare, so there's less pressure and a lot of opportunity for fun. When you are standing at [the craft services table] with a pipe sticking out of your forehead, you're always good for a laugh.
Beggars & Choosers was a wicked satire of the entertainment industry that also managed to develop the Malones as a three-dimensional family, amidst the humour. And how well did you get along with your TV parents Isabella Hofmann and Brian Kerwin?
Loved my parents on that show, especially Brian who was so nice and kind and fun to work with. I think I had a daughter-crush on himhe's the kind of dad I wish I'd had.
Audrey was quite the sexpot. How comfortable were you with the nudity in "Beggars & Choosers"?
I had been re-North Americanised by then and it flipped me out. I knew it would be out there after that. But sometimes in this business you have to make hard choices and that was one of them. I'm not interested in T&A TV, but you do what you gotta do. I just gave money to breast cancer each time and challenged the production to match itI made it political and felt better about it. (PS. they declined to match my $)
Keegan as Audrey Malone and Paul Provenza as Parker Meridian, from the first season of "Beggars & Choosers"
Did you have a favourite storyline?
My favourite storyline? When Parker died and I didn't have to work with him anymore.
Due to the T&A aspect of Audrey's relationship with Parker?
I think it was a little of everything. Yes, I was sick of the whole T&A thing before it happenednot really my bag. But Paul and I just clashed as personalities. So I was happy it was through when it was.
When you're not busy working, what are your favourite ways of passing the time, in terms of hobbies?
I get outside, mostly in the mountains or in my kayak. I also work incessantly on something all the time.
What do you think of as your biggest vice and biggest virtue?
What are your three favourite words in the English language, and why?
Cashmerebecause it's as gorgeous as it sounds
bombastic rhetoricbecause it sums up this time on the world
What's the best adviceeither about acting, or just lifethat you've ever received?
Love nothing. (that way you can't get hurt when it goes...)
What are your three favourite books?
Only 3!? Hmmmm.
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and
Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald.
What projectsboth as an actor, and a producerdo you have on your plate for the future?
What don't I have, that's the question. I'm always working on a script, a pilot, a documentary, a 'cockamamie scheme' (another of my favourite phrases). Right now we have a spice line that will soon be available for sale on my website.
If you could chose any role from theatre that you'd kill to play, who would it be and why?
I'm a big fan of Ophelia. Love them crazy girls...