Interview: Jasmine Cephas Jones Talks Playing Dual Parts in ‘Hamilton’, Being Selective With Her Roles, Upcoming Projects & More
Jasmine Cephas Jones is a star! Whether performing on stage (on and off-Broadway), dropping her EP titled Blue Bird, or tackling important subject matter in films such as Blindspotting and Monsters and Men, Cephas Jones is a force to be reckoned with.
Having recently starred in the hit musical, Hamilton (which has its in-home debut via Disney+), I had the pleasure of chatting with Cephas Jones about playing two roles in one show, the on-set dynamic, which roles she gravitates toward, the importance of being selective when choosing projects, starring in Regina King’s directorial debut and more!
Check out the full interview below:
In Hamilton, you play duel roles – one as Peggy Schuyler and the other as Maria Reynolds. What was it like to take on both characters and how did you step into the role of each?
Jasmine Cephas Jones: Well, both of them are, you know, very different. For Peggy, my goal was to show the love between all of the sisters. And that wasn’t really that hard for me because, you know, I shared a dressing room with Philippa and Renee for six months off-Broadway. And we got super, super, super, super close! Those girls really have become my sisters. And, you know, I think my goal in the first act was to really show love and support and how important it is for women to have that support system from other women.
And with Maria Reynolds, you know, I loved it because I really got to sing an awesome song and belt! I really got to sing a dope R&B song almost every night, eight times a week. And for her, my goal, when I was playing her, my thought was survival mode, you know? Anything she had to do to survive. And really with Peggy, it was really like using a younger voice, you know? With less vibrato. And with Maria, it was playing an older woman with more of an R&B kind of sultry voice.
What would you describe your daily on-set life like for Hamilton? Do you have any memorable moments that stick out to you?
Cephas Jones: Oh, my god, there’s so many! [laughs] I think it was just honestly laughing with the whole cast. We would all find our moments in the backstage traffic and stuff. One of them was with Pippa and Renee, before we went on as the Schuyler Sisters, we did this thing – a different dance every night and we would give each other a huge hug and just connect on stage left right before we got on. And that was also really nice because we just, you know, had a moment of connection before going out on stage, you know?
You’ve done Broadway, off-Broadway, television, film and of course stage productions where you’ve played so many different characters. Do you have a particular one that you relate to more or gravitate toward?
Cephas Jones: Interesting! Um, I don’t know…I think all of them. I kind of gravitated to all of them in a way. I think every role that I try to play, I hope there’s some inspiration in them. And you know, that these women have something to say, you know? I kind of like to play into their truth and I try to do that as much as I can, in my everyday life as a woman. And so, I’m very picky with the roles that I get, and there’s got to be some meaning behind it you know? And I think kind of all the roles that I played, they all kind of have that common denominator.
You’ve had the opportunity to work with your fiance, Anthony Ramos Jr. multiple times now, most recently in a music video you shot together. What do you enjoy most about collaborating together?
Cephas Jones: I think like, not only do we love each other and we are a couple, but we’re also huge fans of each other. And I think we can be silly, but we can also be very, very serious. We both love what we do. And if we can just get the opportunity to be together and do it, it’s so much fun! You know, we worked on Hamilton for two years together, we did Monsters and Men together and we write songs together. So it’s just, it’s really fun to work with somebody who really understands you. Also, kind of gives you your space to do what you need to do. But you know, we can also connect and just be together. There are so many jobs where we’re not together, or we’re distant. And, you know, a job takes you to another state or away from home. So if we’re able to get a job where we can be together, it’s such a bonus!
In terms of the future for you, is there anything that you haven’t done yet that you would like to do or a project you’re excited about that’s coming down the pipeline?
Cephas Jones: Yeah, I mean, literally right now, we’re talking about a Blindspotting the series. And the character that I played Ashley, in the movie Blindspotting, she’s going to lead it and we’re going to follow her story. And my friends Rafael [Casal] and Daveed [Diggs] they’re writing it and we’re in the process of developing it at the moment. I’m so excited to lead a show and play this role. I’m so excited for the project, so that is something I’m very, very looking forward to!
That’s amazing! I know most productions are at a standstill right now, but you’re going to be in an upcoming project called One Night in Miami, directed by Regina King and you’ll be reuniting with your Hamilton co-star, Leslie Odom Jr.! Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Cephas Jones: Yeah, we are! It’s not done shooting obviously because COVID happened and I only shot basically one scene. But, you know, it’s always amazing to work with people that you love, you know what I mean? And to work with your friends. And you know, Regina, she’s absolutely amazing and I’ve always been a huge fan of her! So, to be directed by her is a dream. It really is!
Thank you so much for your time. Have a good day and stay safe!
Cephas Jones: Thank you. You too!