Image Credit: Patrick Ecclesine/FoxAsk Jayma Mays about John Stamos playing Emma’s dentist/love interest in Glee‘s upcoming second season and she turns as giddy as we were when we first heard the news. We caught up with Mays yesterday to chat about Stamos, the Smurfs movie she just wrapped last week opposite Neil Patrick Harris, and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a charity for which she’s helping to raise awareness and funds. (So Emma, right?)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s talk about John Stamos, because that would excite me to no end.
JAYMA MAYS: [Sings “Ah” as though heaven’s gates have just opened] Ohmygosh, I was so excited when I found out. I feel like I’m actually the last person to know these things. [Laughs] I found out via a text. Someone was like, “Uncle Jesse?” And I was like, “Sorry, I don’t know what that means.” I was actually working on Smurfs at the time, so I got really excited because I’m like, I am living my 10-year-old fantasy. I was kissing Doogie Howser one minute, and then I found out that I’m going to kiss Uncle Jesse the next. I just need Punky Brewster to be my best friend now, and my childhood fantasy will be complete. I’m really, really, really excited. I think he’s amazing. What a wonderful addition to the cast.
Have you talked with him at all?
We’ve never met before.
How do you anticipate bonding with him?
I definitely won’t bring up the whole Uncle Jesse thing. I probably shouldn’t have even said that now.
He’s got a great sense of humor about that.
Okay, good, good, good. We really have had no contact. I have no idea how this is gonna work. Are we gonna meet before and then have some rehearsals? I’m assuming I’ll find out via text again. [Laughs] I’m assuming someone will let me know where to be and what time. But I am so excited, and a little nervous. Like, I’m getting all jittery thinking about it… I think we should have a lot of intimate scenes together. That’s what I think. I need to talk to the writers. He’s a dentist, so maybe Emma needs braces, or she’s got lots of cavities. I feel like they need to prolong this idea for a while.
Do you know anything about the story line at this point? I’m assuming you go back into production next month?
I wish I could even tease you, but all I know is that he’s my dentist and we’re having some sort of affair. I don’t foresee it going away within an episode. I see there’ll be something there, but what that will be, I absolutely have no clue. I wish I knew.
Tell me about your character in the Smurfs movie.
I play Grace Winslow and Neil Patrick Harris is my husband, Patrick Winslow. We are pregnant, I guess that’s how they say it now, “we are pregnant,” with our first child. His character is a little bit apprehensive about that, and my character’s motherly instincts are kicking in. So when the Smurfs come into our world, it’s almost like practice in a way. [Laughs] They get sucked through this vortex and pushed out into New York City and cause mayhem and excitement and all the rest of it. It’s loosely based on a true story, obviously. New York was a great place to shoot a movie like that. Lots of scenes in Central Park and FAO Schwarz, and you’ve got the Empire State Building in the background.
What was your reaction when you were first approached about the film? Did you have any reservations?
No. I heard the idea, Smurf movie, and I was like, “Yes. Totally. Let me read the script.” And then I read the script, and I was like, “Actually, yes. Even more yes.” So I didn’t really have any apprehension about it. I mean, I grew up with the Smurfs. I was telling the people in production this: My mom actually used to make me watch The Smurfs because she liked the Smurfs. So just to spite her, I would say that Gargamel was my favorite. It was just such a big thing growing up, so I immediately thought I wanted to be a part of it. And I love movies like this. It’s 3-D. It’s live-action. It was a challenge talking to the dots.
There are so many great people voicing the Smurfs, and you didn’t get to work with any of them.
I know, it’s kind of heartbreaking. But they had lovely actors reading the lines of the Smurfs while we were doing our scenes, and that at least gave them some life and some personality, which was really helpful. But it’s strange, their voices are coming from behind you and you’re looking at a dot in front of you. It’s a very bizarre situation to be in.
Did you learn anything new about Neil Patrick Harris during shooting?
Apparently a lot of people know this about him, but I didn’t know that he was into magic, which I just found fascinating. I noticed on set that he’s pretty addicted to his iPhone. I actually think he’s got a problem. It’s actually very lovely to watch him playing games and things, but I think he needs to join a group. I’m pretty sure someone needs to intervene.
This summer, you’ve also been working with the charity Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, which raises funds for pediatric cancer research. How did you become involved?
Glad [which has partnered with the organization, visit GladtoGive.com] actually approached me with the idea. I hadn’t heard of Cookies For Kids’ Cancer before that, but I started doing research and some of the statistics were just so shocking. For children in the USA under the age of 18, the leading cause of death by disease is cancer. I love cookies, and I love kids, and I hate cancer [Laughs] so it seems logical. I’m going to be having an online bake sale competing against Joan Cusack and Peter Facinelli to see who can raise the most funds in November, but we’re also trying to raise awareness and get other people to have bake sales of their own. Glad is matching the money raised by bake sales from September through December, up to $200,000, which is great. There are other ways that people can get money to the organization right away by buying specially-marked products of Glad’s that are on the shelves. This organization is just wonderful, because 100 percent of the profits are going to raise money for research for pediatric cancer. The science is there, it’s just the funding is not.
And how will that online cookie sale work?
I don’t think they exactly know how that’s gonna work just yet. I don’t think I’ll actually be baking the cookies, but what they don’t know is I’ve already started baking cookies just in case. The garage is full, the bathtubs are full. I’m gonna be smelly come November, but I’m gonna win. I feel like any excuse to bake cookies. That’s all my husband needs to know, “Look, I’m helping a charity. That’s why I’m baking a thousand chocolate chip cookies.”
And you are going up against Peter Facinelli, who will have the Twihards behind him, and Joan Cusack, who’s just beloved. Have you already thought about how you’ll motivate the Gleeks?
I’m hoping the Gleeks will unite. I’m thinking maybe I should write a song about cookies, and if I could sing that and get people to sing along, they’ll want to bake cookies and donate money. I’ve got to come up with something clever, you’re right. Maybe you and I could come up with a ditty later…. Maybe I should write my cookie song as a duet with John Stamos.
He is the national spokesman for Project Cuddle, a non-profit organization for babies [it rescues abandoned babies and coordinates adoptions for troubled pregnant women]. So he might be sympathetic.
Oh, good. I like babies, too. We’re gonna get along so well, he and I. [Laughs] I like babies, and kids… and cookies. He and I are gonna hit it off.