Quite like her character Jo, actress Maria Papadopoulou has a genuine brassy energy that demands your attention. Though there is something very modern about her appearance and fashion sense, her attitude and delivery recalls the titan actresses of the 1940’s and 1950’s American cinema. When she walks into a room, you notice.
When Jo first appears on screen, the feeling of the entire series changes. Up until this point we have seen Amy (Camilla Ståhl) and Death (Cynthia Cheston) tear up the scenery, but we don’t necessarily root for either of them. Poor Yosuke (Kintaro Aoyama) is simply batted around as Dark Amy’s plaything. Jo is every bit a match for Amy in the diva department, but is clearly wearing her heart on her sleeve as she battles. This brings us to the most dramatic difference between these two characters: Amy doesn’t have a heart that is yet available to the audience. You immediately find yourself on Team Jo and want to learn more about her.
In this episode, we really get the sense that Dark Amy is making trouble for the sake of trouble and I feel like the lowest point for her character up until this point is her stealing money from Jo. Especially seeing how reluctant Jo was to even let her into her house I feel like this betrayal defines Amy’s character more than anything else we’ve seen up until this point. Death rightfully pointed this out to Amy and once again we see these interesting characters clash. Cheers to Camilla and Maria for performing in Swedish and English!
“Ta Ra Ra Boom De-Ah” is the kind of song that makes you want to dance in your seat as you watch the cast shimmy and shake their way through the number. The song is repetitive in the catchiest of pop music ways and Maria’s singing style invites to you sing the chorus along with her. Maria stormed into the recording studio with her sunglasses on and attitude dialed up to one thousand and really nailed the recording of the song. The rest of the cast came in to sing back up and it was a smooth recording session. My only advice to other film makers wanting to take on a musical is to record during the spring or fall! Singing covered in sweat is no fun!
Behind the scenes- Once again we were filming on a rather sizzling summer day and the cast was constantly battling humidity and sweat. Asking poor Maria to dance in that heat was terrible, but she was a good sport. The bulk of the dancing was done on a separate day in a traditional studio, so the cast wasn’t over heated! Camilla once again had to work double duty as Amy and Dark Amy. By this point in the production the hair and makeup team had her transition down to about 30 minutes. We tried to organize the schedule so that she only had to change roles once but this scene needed three changes!