I attended the #InfinityWarEvent on behalf of Disney and ABC in Los Angeles 4/22-4/24. This post is part of the required content series, all opinions and experiences are my own.
Season 3, Episode 2 of Quantico airs tonight 10|9 PM on ABC. Check out our interview with Marlee Matlin (Jocelyn Turner) and Executive Producer Michael Seitzman.
This is the third season of Quantico and I admit, I have never heard of the show before I was scheduled to interview Showrunner/Executive Producer Michael Seitzman and Marlee Matlin, who plays Jocelyn Turner. While I have never heard of the show, I have heard of Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin and I was super excited to meet and interview her! Both Marlee and Michael were a pleasure to chat with. Admittedly, it did take a bit of getting use to speaking with Marlee through an interpretor but everyone eased into the conversation naturally and became lost in the discussion. Here are some highlights from the interview that day.
On Marlee Matlin Joining Quantico
Marlee Matlin: Michael asked, and I said okay. Well, we met at a party and Marcia Gay Harden introduced us to each other and said Mr. Seitzman would like to meet you. I went up to Michael and knowing Code Black and knowing that I was a fan of Code Black, I said, sure, why not? I wanted to meet him as well. We chatted and it so happened that Michael is a guy who is true to his word. No screwing around when he says, ‘Oh, I love you. Let’s put you on a show.’ He really honored his promise of putting me on a show, sure enough I heard from him just a few weeks later about making an appearance on Code Black. Fast forward, I appeared in one episode of Code Black and we had so much fun together.
Two months later he texts me and says I have a great idea for you. I said, “Sure, what is it? Tell me what it is.’ I want to write you into Quantico. He told me what the character was and I said, “Oh, my gosh, I’m so interested. Let’s go for it.” And then before I knew it I was on the set in New York City playing Jocelyn Turner for him.
On Bringing ASL Into The Show
Michael Seitzman: We started out by making it clear that they also learned ASL as a language when they worked for the CIA and that gave us a certain license. Once you jump over that, it gives us license that they can communicate with her. The other thing that we did was how we handled subtitles and this also goes to where you look. Subtitles traditionally are called lower third, they’re in the lower third center of the frame. I didn’t want to do that because I don’t want to be watching. I don’t want to be reading. I want to be watching Marlee, so we started to put the subtitles up near her shoulder. They also jump out, we did them in blue most of the time. There was something about the blue that I can’t put my finger on why. We tried a lot of colors but there was something about that color that made it less obtrusive and I can’t articulate why it was. We just sat there. We tried them all, and that one felt like we would become immune to it very quickly, which I’m sure happened to you. You stopped feeling like you were reading. Your eyes weren’t going constantly down, right? So we kept it next to her and next to Blair and their conversation.
On Mixing Talking and Signing
Michael Seitzman: My original pitch for the character was that we would have a combination of ways that the audience would communicate with Jocelyn, right, whether she’s communicating or other people are communicating to her the net result is that the audience is communicating with the character. So, you have to give them a lot of ways to do that so that it starts to feel seamless. You’ll notice where we started was that Blair’s character Owen speaks as he signs. Just by doing that it immediately made you feel like you were also in the conversation and you weren’t, you didn’t feel like you had a lot of homework to do right away. Sometimes a lot of subtitles feels like homework. So, you didn’t have too much to do. We sort of eased the audience into it a little bit and then we added other things. Sometimes people sign. Sometimes she’s reading lips. Sometimes it’s subtitles. But all a deliberate attempt to get the audience used to you can communicate with a deaf person in a whole lot of different ways without feeling like there’s some thing you have to do that there’s some homework.
Stick Aound For Episode 6
Marlee Matlin: It is something that I have never done in my career. I was so excited about it when Michael told me initially because he gave me the option to play and to do stuff in 306 that I really was excited for everybody to see. Jocelyn Turner, is deaf and an FBI agent but what we’re seeing is her back story, how she got to where she got to.