Owning an alpaca farm and playing an Asian spider-woman in Marvel are just some of Genevieve Kang’s goals, accompanying her already-owned talents of acting and being a certified scuba diver.
While some people live out their dreams on their own, Kang’s can be seen on people’s screens at home.
She made her grand return as Jackie Veda on season two of Netflix’s “Locke & Key” Oct. 22, where her character explored the complexities of magic, memory loss and love and eventually went out with a bang.
After their father is murdered under mysterious circumstances, the three Locke siblings and their mother move into their ancestral home, Keyhouse, which they discover is full of magical keys that may be connected to their father’s death. As the Locke children explore the different keys and their unique powers, a mysterious demon awakens — and will stop at nothing to steal them. From Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) and Meredith Averill (The Haunting of Hill House), “Locke & Key” on Netflix is the television adaption of the best-selling comic book series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez for IDW Entertainment.
I had the opportunity to (virtually) sit down with Kang to discuss season two, filming with the cast in Nova Scotia, saying goodbye to fan favorites and her future goals. Here’s what she had to say.
Brianna: Hi Genevieve! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. I’ve loved watching you play Jackie Veda on “Locke & Key.” She’s such a relatable character. Watching her felt like watching how I was in high school, which was really fun. What’s been your favorite part about playing her?
Genevieve: Wow, I mean it’s a testament to our writers, because — kind of what you were saying — I think they did a good job at writing all these teenage characters to be multidimensional and dynamic as opposed to just stereotypes even with the character of Eden, who obviously has a big transformation from season one to season two. In season one, she’s very much the popular, mean girl type, but even she had layers to her. Then with Jackie I guess, on the surface, one might say she’s the ‘girl next door’ but there’s more going on beneath the surface I think and as we get to see in season two just more of that comes out in terms of her vulnerability.
In terms of what I like most about her and playing her is that one, it felt very seamless stepping into her shoes to play her. I saw a lot of myself in her, but I think she also taught me things about myself, which is really interesting because I’m a lot older than high school age now. It’s interesting to reflect back and be like, ‘Was I like that in high school?’ Parts of me were but other parts not so much. So yeah, it’s really interesting to reflect back on that and see a character who’s technically a lot younger than me and how I can still learn things from her and how she’s handled things in her world.
I felt like your storyline was pretty intense to watch. You had a really interesting dynamic with magic this season with your 18th birthday coming up and you forgetting about magic and your big decision to ultimately not use the key to remember it. What was the most challenging aspect of that for you in terms of acting, because I felt like a lot of times you had to flip a switch with your character remembering things.
Yeah it’s interesting. One of the things I did upon learning what my arc for the season was going to be was I actually started researching memory loss and what somebody who may be experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s goes through. I mean we didn’t go fully there, but there were aspects like trying to understand what the experience would be like to slowly not remember things. So that was really interesting and definitely played a role in those moments where you’re watching a scene and I’ll have a moment as Jackie where I forget the magic.
Going back to your first point about Jackie being relatable, it’s a very real thing, the memory loss piece. It’s grounded in reality where it’s something people do experience in life, but for [these characters] it’s happening in regards to the specific piece of the magic.
Speaking of your character this season, I was so sad to see Jackie die. When did you find out that was going to happen to your character?
I found out probably a few months into filming season two. It was actually right when we got picked up for a third season. I got a call from our showrunner Meredith, and she was delivering the great news that we had been picked up for a third season, and along with that news, she also broke it to me that I would not be moving onto the third season unfortunately.
I wasn’t super surprised, because I just felt like with what I knew about my arc at the beginning of season two that I was going to be having this memory loss throughout. I kind of figured they would slowly transition me out. Jackie is going to go to college, and she’ll never interact with magic again or something. So, you know, in the end I’m thankful I got to go out with a bang to be honest. As I’m finding out from a lot of people who watched the second season, it’s a pretty shocking moment, especially in terms of how it all goes down. The audience thinks that Jackie’s been saved and happily ever after with Jackie and Tyler, and then it doesn’t turn out that way.
Do you think it was a fitting conclusion for Jackie?
Wow, I mean yes, in a sense, that from the beginning of the show Jackie is very much her own character, and in a lot of ways, she was there to also support Tyler’s storyline and his journey in figuring out who he is and what he wants. In the first season, I would also say it was pretty clear that Jackie was the moral compass of the story and I think she was in this second season too. And I think that now that she and Tyler were more solidified in their relationship in the second season, they became kind of the heart of the second season and we see throughout the entire season how their relationship has blossomed and they care about each other so much.
So I guess to answer your question, I do see Jackie dying at the end of the season is certainly serving the story. So I think again that’s where our writers did a really good job, and I can’t really complain as much as it would have been lovely to be in the third season. Yeah, I think it really — going back to what I said about it being a shocking ending to so many audience members — was the intent for people to really fall in love with Jackie and Jackie and Tyler together and to raise the stakes that ‘Oh, she’s now a demon and he’s going to save her and it’s going to be great’ to ultimately then kill off this pretty likeable character. I think it’s intelligent writing, because it’s showing the audience that the writers are willing to get rid of likeable, important characters to make the story and keep it interesting.
Going off of what you said about Jackie and Tyler, I know at the end he goes off on his winter break trip. How do you think Jackie’s death is going to propel the story forward in season three?
I mean certainly they learn what this key actually does, so I think they’ll be a bit more mindful around also creating other keys or encountering other keys. They might have a certain effect or that they might backfire with some side effects. So there might be some mindfulness there around the magic and the keys themselves.
Then in terms of Tyler, I feel Jackie from season one on was a bit of a guiding light for Tyler to figure out who he is. We saw in season one that he was struggling with the loss of his father and feeling like he needed to step forward into this fatherly role in his family and certainly be the male figure in the house. But what I really like at the end of season two, and him going off on his own, is that he’s kind of taking back that independence that he’s also his own person. It isn’t his responsibility to tend to everybody else in the way he maybe felt like he had to. It’s almost like that’s the impact Jackie has had on him.
I believe there’s a line before Jackie dies when she’s still a demon. It’s something about him following his own impulses, and she’s doing it in a more persuasive way to get him to become a demon too, but I think there’s a lot of other truth in that. You need to stop caring so much about what other people think and just do you, so it’s almost like we’ll see that message carry forward into the third season with where his journey takes him.
Okay, so this is a magical show, right?? We’ve seen characters we thought were dead come back to life like Lucas and Ellie. If given the opportunity for Jackie to come back, would you do it?
Yes, 100 percent, I would love to.
It looks like a fun cast. Do you have a favorite memory on set?
Our cast is pretty great. Everyone’s just super lovely. I spent most of my time with Connor, who is super wonderful. When it’s just the two of us, we’re both pretty grounded and keep to ourselves, so no crazy shenanigans between the two of us, I would say.
Did you have a favorite set that you liked to film on?
We didn’t do any filming in Nova Scotia in season two, but we did for season one, and that was really fun. I really like to film on location. I know some people don’t and they would prefer to be in the studio, but when we were on location in Nova Scotia doing some exterior shots of the caves, that was super fun. Connor was there and it was the squad. That’s a fun group to be with for sure, because they’re all joking around. It makes going to work super fun and it helps to balance out any of the more emotional stuff.
What are you going to miss most about being on “Locke & Key?”
Having a job (laughs). It’s nice to have a job and a paycheck, but it’s the people. That’s such a cliche answer, but we got really lucky. I think with this cast and crew just from our writing team to our producers, everyone’s just so lovely and it’s hard to find a group where the majority of everyone are people you want to work with.
What would your dream role be?
I’m kind of all over the map, because I’m an actor where I just want to do anything and everything in terms of genre and that sort of stuff. So on one end of the spectrum, I’ve been campaigning to be a Marvel superhero. Then on the other end of the spectrum, I’m drawn to just really honest, naturalistic, raw, gritty content. Anything HBO is very much my jam, because it’s just a lot of great writing and producing that passes through HBO. Then I’m reading a number of scripts for indie projects and films that are really interesting and are grabbing my attention.
On the superhero end of it, I would love to do anything kind of more physical where I get to do stunt work and stuff. I’m a really active, athletic individual so it would be fun to kind of get to bring that into more of my acting work as well. I have a lot of water sports experience. I grew up swimming competitively and then when I was 13, I got my first scuba diving license. This summer I started doing open-water swimming, which is basically just swimming laps in the ocean. So that’s really fun and I love surfing. It would be amazing to get on a show or project where I get to spend time in the water.
Oh, going back about your dream role, who is the ideal Marvel superhero you would want to play?
I know there’s a show being made. It’s a Marvel series I believe they’re doing. The character’s essentially an Asian spider-woman. There is a spider-woman, which I think they’re actually making a movie of. But that character, I’ve done my research, and she is British, caucasion I think in the comic books, but then there’s another spider-woman character, and I believe her name is Silk and she is specifically Asian. That’s a role I really want to play since I’m part Asian, but I don’t know maybe this is part of my pitch to play her.
Also, this is very random, but I have to ask. I heard that one of your dreams is to have an alpaca farm and I just think that’s so fun! What inspired that?
Oh my gosh, it is a pretty random thing. I just love alpacas. They’re one of my favorite animals, and I spent some time on an alpaca farm years ago. It was actually a birthday gift my then-partner got me, and it solidified it for me. I don’t just like alpacas, I think I want to raise them. So it’s a very in the future dream, but I genuinely at some point in my life down the road want to do it.
I’m very much into nature. I’m from a family of farmers, so it feels very second nature to me, but I would love to just have a home in the woods somewhere and raise alpacas. Then my whole plan would be to be in a smaller community and raise the alpacas and then use their wool and hire people to turn it into yarns and to make sweaters and hats out of it and that sort of thing and then sell them to the local community. Basically, I just want to clothe the local community and employ people in the local community.
What got you into acting?
I always loved performing growing up. It was just something I did for fun, but I grew up in a very academic household. I have three older siblings, all wildly intelligent, so school was kind of a priority. I’m also, in my family, the more artistic one, so all my siblings were into school and athletics, and so growing up my parents — other than encouraging me and my hobbies to be artistic and creative — didn’t really know where to put that focus for me. So it really wasn’t until high school when I was exposed to auditions for a play, and this was the first time I was able to do this.
I was in a play when I was 14 for the first time, and I just fell in love with being on stage and working with an ensemble cast and getting to sing and dance and do all these things. From there, shortly after, I got my first TV and film agent and then started pursuing it professionally technically, but it was very much a hobby for many years. I kept it on the side honestly until not very long ago. It’s been maybe five years that I’ve just been doing it full time.
Where can fans see you next? What are some upcoming projects?
I’m actually right now really in the process of working with my team to figure out what the next thing is, because my schedule is pretty wide open right now. Truth be told, it’s taking lots of meetings with producers and directors to figure out the next best move for me. I’m definitely in the position where I am more strategic and picky about the projects I want to take on and make sure that I do have some kind of connection to it, and that it’s going to be meaningful for me.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story featured the wrong attribution for photographs. We have corrected this mistake.