For actress and musician Hallea Jones, becoming an actor had always been in the cards. Taking part in school plays at an early age, it wasn't until she booked her first role in Toronto's very own Workin’ Moms, that she catapulted her career.
Today Jones is thriving, working on the second season of Netflix's acclaimed Locke and Key, in addition to releasing her debut “mini-muses” album.
In this interview, we had the opportunity to sit down with Hallea Jones of Locke and Key to discuss everything from staying grounded in the industry to the exciting announcement of a Locke and Key's second season.
Congratulations on the second season of Locke and Key! I have to admit, I was super obsessed with the show when it came out, so I’m really excited to see the sequel. How has life been since the release of the first season?
Thank you! I’m super obsessed with it too. I’m incredibly impressed with how well done it is, and still can't believe I’m a part of it! Life has been so so fantastic! The first wave of friends and family watching it was so exciting and to hear back such a positive response. I was in Los Angeles for a month after the release, so I saw a lot of the billboards every day when I was driving around, which was a totally surreal experience!
You mentioned that growing up, acting was always a part of your life, when did acting enter your life and what was it about the career that really reeled you in?
Yes, I always did school plays and was a little performer from an early age, but it wasn’t until I returned from my gap year in Australia in 2016 that I started taking classes and getting involved with it on a professional level.
Was there a specific moment or role where you realized that you wanted to seriously pursue acting as a career?
My first audition was for a Toronto show called Workin’ Moms, which I funnily enough booked. It was that day on set that really made me love the community and got me hooked on this as my career path.
So let's talk about one of your most recent roles as Eden Hawkins in Netflix’s Locke and Key. I think the show is such a great mix of fantasy and modern. What was it that drew you to this specific series?
I love how there's more than just the fantasy element. This show dives into so many real life elements regarding inner turmoil, family dynamics, and coming of age storylines. The heart-wrenching depth it explores keeps anyone who’s watching it feel incredibly connected with the characters.
Your character can be described as outspoken, brash and assertive. In some ways, I guess you could classify her as the “mean girl” in school. How was it tapping into that sort of character? What was the most challenging part of playing Eden?
I feel like Eden is the overdramatized mockery version of my high school self (unfortunately), so it was easy to tap into, but I definitely struggled with my own insecurities of diving back into who I used to be in certain ways - as I’ve worked very hard to expel that side from my being. I just always made sure that as soon as CUT was yelled, I wiped her out of my system and went back to creating a positive environment.
Going into Season 2, do you hope to see a different side to Eden? One that maybe shows the background of the character and how she came to be who she is today?
I would LOVE to know more about Eden. I have my ideas about her, but since the writers haven’t given much information to her backstory, I’ve been hesitant to dedicate myself to something that could potentially conflict with the writer's ideas. I am SO excited for next season though, I think it's really going to be Eden’s time to shine!
I have to ask, there was this one scene, in the school cafeteria, where Emilia Jones’s character, Kinsey, gets your character to act very erratically, dancing on tables and pouring syrup on herself. How was it filming that scene in particular in addition to the series?
It was a brilliant day on set - one of the most fun. I had two-movement coachings to choreograph and prepare that scene, and the day of filming was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on set. I love challenging myself to do new things and being an actor creates so many opportunities to learn new skills or do something I’d never do - like dance on a table and pour smoothies and ranch on my head; so this was definitely one of those that I’ll remember forever.
I know that you are a born and raised Torontonian, how was it having the series filmed on set in Canada?
It makes me happy to see more things being filmed in Canada and employing Canadian filmmakers. For some reason, there’s a stigma around Canadian film, and I think that’s ready to change. I loved filming in Toronto so much. It was so cool driving down a street I’ve known my whole life, to see the trailers and be able to get out of the car and taken to my own personal trailer room. It felt like a crazy dream sometimes. We also filmed in Lunenburg Nova Scotia which was incredibly beautiful and I can’t wait to get back filming there.
"For some reason, there’s a stigma around Canadian film, and I think that’s ready to change."
Since set days can get long, what are some essential items that you can’t survive a day on set without?
I would always bring a book and a phone charger. Some days when I knew that it would be a really long day, I would bring my computer, guitar, and mic, and produce some little songs in my trailer. I have one from a film day that I may release on my SoundCloud soon!
When you’re not filming or you have downtime, what are some things you do to keep yourself social or grounded?
I focus almost mainly on music. My whole social community in Toronto is within the music scene. I’ve developed some of the closest friendships over the two years of getting back into music. It’s sad to not be able to see them right now due to the lockdown... Luckily social media has made it easy to keep in touch, but it’s not the same. The hugs were always what kept me the most grounded!!!
I read that you are currently working on an album set to release in 2021! That’s really exciting, can you tell us a little bit about what audiences can expect and the inspiration behind the album?
Yes! I’m working on some self-produced “mini-muses” right now on my SoundCloud (soundcloud.com/halleajones) but I will be putting together a professionally produced album at some point in the future! Expect a lot of harmonies, and ambient active listening styled music. That doesn’t mean meditation music, but I love feeling like I’ve created a whole experience with sound, so I am working towards making an album that is a whole story that someone can get lost within. You can get a gist of it on my SoundCloud now!
The number of songs you’ve written and produced to date is pretty extensive. When did you first get into music and how has your taste evolved over the years?
I actually only got back into music in October 2018, so just under two years ago. It started as an open mic, writing two new songs every week to perform Monday nights, and then April 2019 I went to a producer friend's home studio and fell in love with production. My taste has evolved exponentially in the last 18 months. I started out trying to sound like a pop singer and ended up discovering this jazzy, soul undertone. I also learned that I have a knack for harmonies and self-producing - though always a work in progress!
Looking to the future, where do you see yourself in terms of career or personal life? How do you see yourself growing in the industry?
I want a decently slow growth, as I am here for a long time, not a short time. I really love acting and music and don’t know who I would be without them, so I would prefer to really focus on my craft, rather than the “celebrity” that comes with it. I don’t want to rush into anything and I want to make sure that with each thing, I’m doing it with love, not for money or status. It’s really easy to be a flash in the pan in this industry, so I want to take it slow and do it smart.
"I don’t want to rush into anything and I want to make sure that with each thing, I’m doing it with love"
Lastly, are there any upcoming projects that you are working on and can tell us more about?
My SoundCloud mini muse series is currently up and I will always be keeping my socials @halleajones updated on new projects and fun adventures!