In ABC Family Channel’s new series The Nine Lives of Chloe King, Alyssa Diaz portrays Jasmine, a descendent of the Mai race who discovers that her fellow high school student, Chloe King (Skyler Samuels), is the Uniter of the Mai people. Just sixteen-years-old, Chloe needs to learn quickly about her background and how to handle the group of assassins that are hunting for her.
Jasmine, her mother, Valentina (Alicia Coppola) and her cousin Alek (Benjamin Stone) are determined to protect Chloe from all harm until she can uncover her new found abilities.
I spoke with Alyssa on the set of the series about her physically challenging role.
Had you learned martial arts before this series, because you really kick some butt in this?
I’ve done a couple of film projects that involved martial arts and action but I’ve actually been trained for almost a decade. I started with boxing and then moved to kick boxing then Whushu which is a Chinese martial art.
Did that ability help you get the role?
Definitely. I was so excited when I read the pilot. I was like, ‘Jasmine is cool. She kicks butt. I can do this!’ I do have a stunt double to do the crazy things like flying in the air. We work one-on-one a lot. I love her.
How much more outrageous action is in the rest of the season?
Lots! The fights just get better as the show goes on. It gets really intense. You’re like ‘Whoaaa. They didn’t just go there.’ Our stunt coordinator is awesome.
How long do you have to learn the action sequences?
We just learn them the day of (shooting). We do it two or three times with our stunt double, then go. Sky (Skyler Samuels) has to (do that too) and just trust.
Jasmine has kind of a cold, distant relationship with her mom, Valentina. She keeps trying to prove herself. Is that going to continue?
The layers of the relationship keep unraveling. It gets deeper and deeper. Valentina is so harsh to Jasmine, but Jasmine does step up and confront her.
Are your cat claws prosthetics or all done with CGI?
A lot of it is CGI but the prosthetics are fun. I feel like I’m a girl from Jersey (She holds her hands up in claw position). Like, ‘No you di-ent (in Jersey accent)’. I think they look better in CGI. It’s a little sleeker.
Does Jasmine have anything romantic going on later?
Yes, finally! Later on in the season, you’ll see Jasmine get a love interest. I was like “Is anybody gonna give me some love around here? Jasmine needs some love!” Could be new or someone she knows. He has to be Mai though, because if she (kisses a human, they die).
What’s Jasmine’s relationship with Alek like?
He’s a cousin. I feel Jasmine and Alek are like brother and sister because they grew up together. There’s stuff coming up where Jasmine becomes very protective of Alek. He’s like her little brother and we’re like that in real life; very playful and give each other a hard time but it’s all love.
Will there be many villains in this?
There are a lot of different villains that come through and they up the ante. The Rouge was really intense and he worked for The Order, but there are definitely some other villains coming in where you are like, ‘Whoa! How are they gonna beat this?’
There are some supernatural villains. We really don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m excited getting a script each week.
Were you a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan?
Oh, I loved that show. I would watch it religiously as a kid. There are some similar parallels but what’s cool about this show is we get into the Egyptian mythology of it which is really neat; the different gods and deities and artifacts. I think you can do a lot more with that than just vampires.
Do you have a favorite comic book?
Anything that has to do with Wonder Woman. I’m a huge fan and Fables, a graphic novel. I like the mythology of that.
What do you hope they’ll write for Jasmine to do if the show goes for more seasons?
I want her to go back to Egyptian time and deal with her ancestors, and I can play my own ancestor. That would be so much fun to do something period on the show.
How does the end of the season leave her?
The way they left the show I’m really interested to see what happens because I think what happens at the end of the season will really change who Jasmine is. It’s such a major event.
What do you have coming up?
I did a film coming out September 2nd called Shark Night: 3-D. I was shooting that film and about to get in the water. Ten feet from my boat I see this huge thing floating in the water. They’re saying, “It’s a log”. I look back and ‘the log’ is gone!
It was a 14 foot alligator! My crazy butt jumped in the water so I didn’t have to act. Pure terror!!