Orlando Jones: The Man, The Myth, The Fourteen Year Old Fangirl
Orlando Jones is best know for his iconic roles as Steve, the magazine salesman in Office Space, Magnus Olsdatter from Pushing Daisies, Clifford Franklin in The Replacements, and most recently Captain Frank Irving on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, now in it’s second season .
Before we began, Jones stopped to tie his shoe. I made a comment that Misha [Collins] should have taught him the magic knot. Jones laughed and said in jest that [Collins] was too busy pushing his snake oil. Jones and Collins are well known proponents of SuperSleepy (the much yearned crossover by fans of their respective shows: Supernatural and Sleepy Hollow, which was mentioned in the Sleepy Hollow panel earlier.
Jones was only able to speak briefly with me Sunday, as he had to start filming again on the Sleepy Hollow set for Monday. We stood in one of the back hallways off the Main Stage at the Javits Center, dodging golf carts and large trollies. “[NYCC is] awesome. It’s got a different feel and it’s fun. I think it’s just New York and then Comic Con drops… but I love San Diego and I never had a bad time at any con. This is kind of special to me. I don’t know why.”
Recently on Sleepy Hollow, Irving has been locked up by his replacement, Sherriff Leena Reyes (Sakina Jaffrey), who wants to restore order to Sleepy Hollow, but she doesn’t know what’s going on. Both characters have very different approaches to keeping the peace in town. “To some degree, he’s very different than her. She has a personal connection with Abbie and Jenny, I don’t. She knew their mother, I didn’t. I think she feels like she knows them, and I kind of got them and know them as who they are now, today. And I think she probably has a lot more baggage because she knew their mom. So, I got to know them, the adult versions of them, you know, she knows the side that I never saw. So, I think our relationships are very different with them,” Jones explained. “I think, our approach, however, is very, very similar. I think I saw them producing adult results and so I think I afford them more trust than she’s able to, as the second person into this horrific situation where people keep dying. When you think about it, I came to Sleepy Hollow because the priest and the Sherriff died and various others. At the end of last season, I killed my priest. So, I became guilty of the same thing that sort of started this whole madness, and these two other police officers. And now she comes on. She doesn’t have the luxury to trust in the way that I did. And I think that has made her character more by the book than Irving was. And Irving was really f***ing by the book.”
As Irving has signed his soul away to the Second Horseman of the Apocalypse (Henry Parrish), Jones’s character is definitely in a little bit of trouble and has a lot to deal with at the moment. So, what do TPTB have in store for Irving this season? During the Sleepy Hollow panel, the audience was given a sneak peak of tonight’s episode of Sleepy Hollow. In it, we saw a sick preview of Irving being a badass. “Yes! That’ll be there… plenty of badassary.” So not to reveal too much (what’s the fun in that?) he was able to tell some overarching stories coming our way this season. “What I will say to you is that, the big themes of Sleepy Hollow, which is redemption. Will Henry Parrish find redemption? Because I know Katrina wants that and Ichabod has to want that on some level for his child and how the families will continue to be torn about. And how we fight to keep them back together as we fight to try and keep the world better than we left it…better than we found it.”
Harkening back to Misha Collins, Jones was an unwitting participant (like most of us) in GISHWHES this year, and has lived to tell the tale. GISHWHES (the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) is the brainchild of Misha Collins in support of his charity Random Acts, which perpetuates random acts of kindness throughout the world. This year Jones was one of three celebrities (the others being Osric Chau and William Shatner), who participated in the week-long event. “I had an awesome time. Team BabySharks is way too nice to me. The entire GISHWHES family was insanely nice… all the teams. I had so much fun and I think it’s such a special event and I want to do it more often. [Overall it was] just a very beautiful experience.”
With nearly 200 tasks this year to attempt to complete, I asked Jones about his favourite one. “There was something hilarious to me about finding a horse, and getting a werewolf mask and then getting a jersey on. So, my Dad played on the Phillies, so I got a Philly Jersey….My Dad who knows nothing about this was like ‘Yeah! You got on a Philly Jersey’ and then ‘Why you wearing a werewolf mask?’ and just ‘Why you on a horse?’ It was hilarious. I just thought that was so stupid. A lot of them are fun and I played hopscotch with a professional athlete (Trot Nixon, who played for Boston). That was a lot of fun.” Jones is absolutely geared up to participate next year’s event.
In addition to acting and gishing, Jones is also a big presence on social media, most notably on Tumblr and Twitter. With his success on Sleepy Hollow, he has essentially exploded onto the fandom scene, but in reality, he has been here since the beginning.
“I was certainly active in the fandom. Vocal in fandom? Maybe not as much, but I think I got a little tired of this idea that I was a part of this community and have been really since MADtv. In the really early days of Fox, we used to come to Comic Con and nobody was there and we’d hang out at artist’s alley and took photos and stuff. So, I just got tired of people acting like this was a group of freaks that cosplay, and were weird and you didn’t know them in a way that was sort of normal. I always thought of them as friends, though. So, I’m a part of that group. …But I didn’t want to be in the closet anymore, and this is who I am and I’m good with it. So, I think when I did Time Machine and Evolution, the type of projects that blended themselves to this type of world really. The Internet wasn’t really what it is now. So Sleepy Hollow was really the first time in the digital landscape where I could sort of be like a…a fanboy. Or as I like to say more appropriately, a fourteen-year-old fangirl.”
Acceptance is a big thing in the fandom world. Mark A. Sheppard said recently in the Supernatural special that aired on October 6th that he was “very wary of people that aren’t fans of something”. Fandoms are very important in this day and age, regardless of their specific content, and Sleepy Hollow has a large following, I believe in some due part to Jones. Ultimately, though, when it comes to NYCC and getting the chance to talk to Orlando Jones, we are all fourteen-year-old fangirls.
Sleepy Hollow airs Mondays at 9PM EST on Fox. And the ever-enigmatic Orlando Jones can be found on twitter @theorlandojones and on tumblr at http://theorlandojones.tumblr.com.
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