Q&A: Penny Johnson Jerald

I chatted with Baltimore native Penny Johnson Jerald about her hit show “The Orville” and what it’s like returning home for fan conventions.

Is it a coincidence your character, Dr. Claire Finn, is also from Baltimore?

::laughs:: It’s so good in trying and creating a reality. Seth has been very kind in that regard with my character. She’s just like me..she loves the favorite food from the city. We didn’t say crab cakes because in the show we eat only plant based foods. So I chose potato cakes! ::laughs::

What is it like working with such an awesome ensemble cast?

It really begins with the table read. At the table reads, you get the true understanding of what this thing is all about. It’s not a one man show..everyone contributes with their different voices. We have such a love and respect for each other. We cut up a lot, but we get a lot done. It’s fabulous working with a Genius. That’s how I regard Seth. He’s very kind, generous, and talented.

I saw on your Twitter feed you posted a video pf when you received your parking space at Hulu. What was that like?

I had mixed feelings when it was announced honestly. My first thought was about the fans. At the time, I didn’t speak fluent streaming. Now I do. I was informed of the advantages, like longer episodes and we can shoot them like a movie. I think the fans are going to love it.

Is there one cast member you wished you had more screen time?

I’d love to see more Claire and Gordon screen time. I have a great repor with Scott Grimes. To be on screen with him is just a pleasant thing.

You were both on “ER” as well.

Six degrees of separation !

What is it like getting to go to these conventions and speaking with fans?

I didn’t understand how big the science fiction world was and how dedicated the fans are. It was intimidating at first because they know more about your character than you do. So it’s like you have to study for a test almost. ::laughs:: They REALLY know things. They don’t miss the small details. The fans really made me fall in love with it. The ability to look into someone eyes and shake their hands.

Are you excited about appearing at Farpoint Con in Baltimore this weekend?

Now I know you are NOT asking me that question ::both laugh:: I’m going back home to Baltimore! The only bad part is that I’ll have less family time but I’m going to have find time for it.

My beginnings was in Baltimore. I was in the local theater and my schooling was there. It’s important to touch my home base. I feel like I’m gaining strength by standing up on others shoulders, and at the same time, carrying others. This is one event I couldn’t turn down. It’s home.

Penny appears at Farpoint Con this weekend in Hunt Valley!

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