Cinema Confidential Interview
by Thomas Chau.
actress since she was 13, Jessica is best known for her TV work on
the German soap opera, "Marienhof." But what is perhaps
her bigger claim to fame is being the lead singer of Novaspace,
where she has sung numerous top 10 hits in Germany. Many of her hit
song titles are covers of 1980s songs in the United States,
including remakes of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time,"
Midnight Oil's "Beds are Burning," and Bryan Adams'
"Run to You."
"Euro Trip," Jessica plays Mieche, a German internet pen
pal who helps Scotty (Scott Mechlowicz) with his German in high
school. Scotty, who thinks Mieche is pronounced "Mike,"
doesn't realize his Internet friend is actually a beautiful blonde
girl. When Scotty e-mails Miche to tell her he no longer wishes to
speak to her, he realizes he has made the mistake of a lifetime.
Desperate and lonely after a breakup from his girlfriend (Kristin
Kreuk), Scotty and his best friend Cooper (Jacob Pitts) embark on a
trip to Germany with two other friends (Travis Wester and Michelle
Trachtenberg) that will lead them through a series of hijinx and
mishaps in the strange land that is called Europe.
Hey, how’s it going?
JB: Pretty good. I
just have to get back into this English talking because it’s
pretty difficult (giggles).
TOM: So is it
true Germans love David Hasselhoff?
JB: Oh my God!
(Laughs) How come everyone’s asking me that?
TOM: It’s an
old Saturday Night Live joke...
JB: That’s so
weird. Everyone on the set asked me, (in a low voice) “Is it true
you Germans love David Hasselhoff?” That is so weird! You know
what? Just last Wednesday, I was sitting next to him on a German
show. It’s the MacDonald’s chart show. He is starting a comeback
and he’s starting in Germany and we haven’t heard of him in the
last ten years! Except for the Baywatch thing but he’s back with a
new single called “California Girls” or something. This is just
fun though. I always have to think about this question.
Did you start out acting or singing?
JB: I started with
acting professionally when I was 13. It was my first job. When I was
16, I had my first record deal.
been involved with show business for a long time now. Was it ever
tough for you as a child?
JB: I would say no
because I always loved to entertain people. My parents told me that
whenever we had guests at home, I would just stand there, in the
middle of the house, and tell a story or something. But I think
I’ve just always enjoyed entertaining people. This is what I’ve
wanted to do! It’s not really that tough or hard.
TOM: Which do
you prefer more? Do you consider yourself more of an actor or
JB: I think people
always ask me that and if I had to choose, I think I would
definitely choose both because there is a connection between these
two things, but still, it’s two different techniques. As a singer,
I love standing on stage and entertaining people because you get
their response immediately. As an actor, you can try to make
different versions of one scene and you talk to the director, and
you choose the best of them. But I think these two things are
Who are some of your favorite American music artists?
JB: There are so
many of them. I don’t really have an idol or something but there
are so many people that I love for what they’re doing. I love the
music of Erykah Badu and Robbie Williams. I love him when he does
live concerts. I like old stuff, like Aretha Franklin and Al Green.
I like anything. I was into Limp Bizkit once in my car. I also like
the new Alicia Keyes album.
TOM: What about
some of the blonde pop singers in America like Britney Spears and
Christina Aguilera? What do you think about them?
JB: Well Christina
changed her hair color, right? (Laughs) I just think they are doing
a perfect job. If you see them on stage, it’s just perfect from
beginning to end. I know that there’s a lot of work behind that
and people on stage should get more involved with the audience, like
talk to them and keep them into it. That’s just the perfect show.
I admire them because they treat their audience as if they were
talking to them.
your favorite part about performing?
JB: I would
definitely say just making people happy. Whenever I see people in
the audience just grinning or laughing because they are enjoying
themselves, then it is the best thing that can happen. Or when
people come up to me in the streets and they ask for an autograph
and they say, “I like your work,” this is great.
TOM: Do a lot of
people recognize you when you’re walking down the street?
Sometimes I just wear a baseball cap or something and people don’t
really recognize me because in all my videos, I have a special kind
of style that I normally don’t have when I’m walking down the
streets or going to the supermarket.
Do you have any strange or weird fan experiences?
JB: Sometimes there
are people who are just crazy. I always try to calm them down or
just talk to them and tell them I’m a normal person and that
there’s no reason to freak out.
I have this one
special fan and he’s almost at like, every concert. He’s always
finding out where my hotel is and he follows me. The last time I saw
him was two or three weeks ago and I was just stepping into an
elevator, and he asked me if he could come in. I said, “No, of
course not.” He kept on trying and asking me again and again and I
said, “No, can you please respect me?” And then he let go.
TOM: You know,
in America, we have laws against that…
JB: Well, I’m
never alone when I’m doing shows so I always have somebody to keep
an eye out for me. But you know, for my job, I always have to be
friendly and sometimes, they just step over the border. I just
A lot of your songs are 80s covers. Why did you choose to sing them?
JB: I was born in
1980 and I’ve always listened to all these old songs because my
dad used to be in a band since he was a student. He always played me
these old songs from The Pretenders, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, and
Eric Clapton. I just wanted to show people the decade I was brought
up in. I think it’s time now to bring this music [out again]. The
greatest songs were written in the 70s and 80s. Teenagers, who are
like 12-13 years old, don’t even know these songs. I thought it
would be good to bring them back but in a new style. It’s better
to sing these songs to these people in a new style in a 2003 style.
Right. I think it’s interesting you mention that because that's
the trend over here now. If you were to turn on the radio right now,
you’d hear that No Doubt has their cover of “It’s My Life,”
The Ataris redid Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” and 311 just
came out with a cover of The Cure’s “Love Song” for Adam
Sandler’s new movie…
JB: I think
teenagers, when they listen to these songs, sometimes think that
they’re brand new and then they find out that they’re 20-30-40
years old, and this is amazing I think. I think this is one of the
advantages in covering songs, in that you can make really young
people buy these old records again. I think that’s a good thing.
TOM: I really
like your cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time after Time,” because
when I hear it, I picture myself in a nightclub dancing, you know?
The lyrics to the original song are so great but then you put them
to a music beat and it works out well…
JB: This is what I
want to reach, you know? This is my goal: for people to dance and
TOM: Almost all
of your songs are about love. What’s love to you?
JB: What’s love?
Love is a big word. Love is I think being able to have the
confidence to trust somebody. Whenever this happens, this is love.
Likewise, your videos are pretty sexy and you dress sexy in “Euro
Trip.” How do you define sexy?
JB: I think it’s
not necessary to just wear underwear to be sexy. I think sexiness
comes from the innerself. But it’s no need to wear less, you know,
when you can just show it.
TOM: You show a
lot of skin in “Euro Trip.” Are you ever uncomfortable with
JB: No, not really.
I knew it was part of the character. I liked the thought about these
dream sequences. The part I get topless is a dream that Scotty has
on the way to finding me. It’s just a dream. It wasn’t real.
TOM: Do you
think Americans make a big deal out of nudity? Like over here,
people still talk about Janet Jackson and the Superbowl…
JB: Oh God, yeah. I
became really, really close friends with one of the girls in the
movie, who’s also topless, Molly Schade. And she told me that
Americans make a really big deal about it. Germans would look at it
and say “Nice boobs” or something and that’s it. But they
wouldn’t even think about it like “Oh my God, what did this girl
do? Is she out of her mind?” (Laughs) I think it’s an American
thing. I have no problem with it.
TOM: How was it
working on an American project like “Euro Trip”? Do you want to
do more American projects?
hopefully. It’s a different kind of working to be honest. I once
did a short movie in New York with Herbie Hancock in 1996 and even
then, it was so different and so interesting.
How is it different?
JB: Small things.
At noon, whatever you do, it’s lunch. Whatever it is, even if
you’re in the middle of a scene. Everyone just stops and goes to
have lunch. They’re more into details than the Germans are. And
they treat you well! I tell you, when I came back to a German
production, I was like, “Whoa, what the hell is going on here?”
They don’t even have proper catering sometimes! On the “Euro
Trip” set, they had these huge trailers so we could just sit and
wait. But when you come on a German production, maybe if it’s bad
weather, they’ll have a tent where it’s overcrowded (Laughs)
TOM: Are there
any actors here in America you want to work with?
JB: I’ve always
liked Al Pacino’s work but I’m sure I could never play his
daughter because we just don’t look alike.
“Euro Trip” shows some things Americans find weird or funny
about Europe. Do you find anything weird about America when you come
over here to visit?
JB: Of course!
It’s so different. What I love about America is that grocery
stores are open 24 hours. (Laughs) And you find anything! It’s so
huge! Everything’s so huge! I like the mentality, especially on
the West Coast. It’s understandable because the sun is shining all
year too. People are so much happier. It’s easier to talk to
people because they are more open, even if it’s something
superficial, like if they just want to exchange business cards or
something. Even if you go into a club, it’s so easy to talk to
people. You can go up to stars and celebrities and just talk to
them. Here in Germany, everyone’s so scared about people,
especially when you’re a celebrity.
TOM: Was working
on “Euro Trip” a fun atmosphere?
They were all so nice and they made it so easy to make the actors
work. I got along so well with the actors. Sometimes we would go to
a club when we had some leisure time the next day. It was a lot of
TOM: Did you
make fun of anybody in German so that they wouldn’t hear you?
JB: No, but Molly
Schade, the girl I mentioned before…she used to have four years of
German in her high school and so she knows bits and pieces of
German. So we’d sometimes walk up to the other actors and pretend
we could talk German to one another, which was pretty funny, but
actually there was no sense in it.
character is the main character’s Internet pen pal. Do you spend
any time on the Internet on your own homepage?
JB: I don’t
really like chatrooms because it’s a lot of stress. You can never
decide to read or to write! Sometimes, I have chats with my fans
which is once every two or three months. But I keep writing a diary
on the homepage so my fans know where I am, what I do right now, and
maybe have new tour dates.
TOM: Also in the
movie, we have this guy that’s looking to travel from America to
Germany just to ask you out. What would be the perfect date for you?
JB: I think I’m
very romantic so I like the usual things. Dinner, movies, a long
walk on the beach maybe, counting the stars. (Laughs) Something
TOM: Do you have
plans for Valentine’s Day this weekend?
JB: See, I’m
going to have a show that night. It’s Saturday night, right? I’m
going to be in the middle of Germany, having a show, and I’m going
to have LOTS of valentines. (Laughs)
TOM: Are you
coming over to America for the premiere?
JB: In three days,
I’m going to Los Angeles for the premiere and I’m so excited!
Is this your first American premiere?
JB: Yes, it is.
TOM: Have you
picked out what you’re going to wear?
JB: I have no idea!
I just hope I will find something over there. I’m going to take a
red dress with me which I really like. Maybe I’ll find something
better when I’m over there. I’m going to have two more days of
TOM: What else
do you plan on doing in Los Angeles?
JB: I want to see
my friends first of all! I can’t wait to see the sun again. In
Germany, it’s really cold and it’s snowing everyday…
TOM: Yeah, same
here in New York City…
JB: Is it? Ugh. I
really don’t like it. I like the beach and the sun. I’m going to
go shopping a lot and maybe go to the movies to see all the new
movies, because in Germany, you always have to wait three or four
TOM: Finally, if
you could have one superhero power, what would you choose and why?
JB: Wow, that’s a
tough question. You know what? I would like to sometimes read
somebody’s mind. That’s a good thing I guess.
Trip" opens in theaters February 20.