Interview: Jessica Lowe chats about Blended
The feature film debut for actress Jessica Lowe saw her go up against an ‘SNL’ veteran and journeyman comedian, and cast in a film led by a pair of major stars who have already toplined comedies together twice before. She is within an ensemble cast with a variety of big names, and much of the movie takes place in South Africa, where you can’t help but also feel on vacation.
For Lowe, it was no sweat.
She can be seen starting this weekend in Blended, a comedy from Warner Bros. that sees Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore team up for the third time on screen. After an awkward first date and a couple more chance encounters, their characters jump at an opportunity to take their kids on a cheap trip to South Africa that won’t be used by another couple; they just don’t know the other is going.
It turns out to be a “blended family” weekend, and while Sandler and Barrymore navigate parenthood and dating after divorce (in comedic fashion), we meet other couples on vacation, including Kevin Nealon and his young, buxom, cheerful girlfriend Ginger, played by Lowe.
“I did that a lot,” said Lowe in reference to the myriad of times her character would have to, let’s call it, jiggle her chest. “The costume designers are geniuses. The role was written for a busty Asian, and they opened it up to barrel-chested white ladies,” said an infesctious Lowe to much laughter during an interview with reporters in Toronto. “They made this push-up bra to the extreme, it was ridiculous. It was like a flotation device.”
So while her character is on the surface seen as this sort of gorgeous airhead, an always-smiling blonde beauty just so in love with her man, Lowe’s character also offers plenty of laughter, as is expected of all the supporting cast in a Sandler comedy.
“They kept a lot of our improv,” she said of her scenes with Nealon. With an extensive sketch comedy background, working with Second City and finding herself on stage in Amsterdam for two years with Boom Chicago, (while also performing on cruise ships and dabbling in Drunk Yoga on YouTube) Lowe felt comfortable right from the start.
“I would insult him, sort of like negging,” she continued. “I would say something about how he looks ugly or smells like a salmon mouth wash, and he would say, ‘I just want to count your teeth with my tongue.’ We’re the most disgusting love birds in the world.”
There are sure to be plenty of hysterical deleted scenes, Lowe insists, but there was one most memorable extended bit that to the director’s surprised, worked and stayed in. A scene was written where Nealon’s character pantomimes shooting Ginger in the chest with Cupid’s arrow. Lowe had to respond. “I improvised taking the arrow out, stabbing him a bunch of times with it, and then he vomits from the stab, and then I eat it off the table.”
“Improvising with Kevin is a treat,” she continued. “We just ended up being super gross, all the time. He’s so nice, genuinely a really nice family man, had me totally at ease. The first time [we kissed] was awkward, then after that it was fine. He is patient and friendly and hilarious.” Lowe and Nealon do kiss a lot, and often try to be as gross as possible.
For a first feature film, it was quite a treat for Lowe to film on location in South Africa, staying at an immaculate five-star hotel. Across a month and a half, she would work four or five days a week, with weekends off, taking to Johannesburg for example to take in the Apartheid Museum.
The locals also got a good laugh from her, as she was speaking Dutch to those who spoke Afrikaans, an offshoot of Dutch, and not quite the same thing.
It’s definitely better than some opportunities in the past. “I’m working as a Red Bull girl!” joked Lowe, incredulously reminiscing of a time years ago. “As a college graduate from Northwestern University!”
Having proven her comedic abilities on stage and now in a major motion picture on screen alongside a star in Sandler who tends to work again and again with those actors he finds funny, Lowe doesn’t look to be taking a step back too soon. Though that didn’t stop Lowe from joking about it.
“What if this is my only thing you guys?!” said Lowe jokingly. “I’m going to be haunting the Hollywood Forever cemetery,” adding, in an old woman’s voice, “‘Back in 2014, I was a young star shaking my titties! This is my house now, I live in the cemetery!’”
After the laughter died down, she continued. “Somebody talk to me! I’m too old to be a Red Bull girl!”