The opportunity to join the cast of CSI: New York came at just the right time for Sela Ward (Jo Danville), but her quick addition means the character is being fleshed out as they go along. Minor spoilers after the jump!
Ward thought she was done acting when the roles that were available to her no longer seemed gratifying. “I went back to my painting studio and totally immersed myself again in that and my kids for the longest time,” the actress explained to the Los Angeles Times. “Then when I got this call, I thought maybe this is really a good time. My kids are now older. And now I’m going, OK, I miss being in front of the camera, and I feel like I now am much more interesting as an actor than I ever was.”
That phone call led to Ward being cast as former FBI agent Jo Danville on New York for the show’s seventh season. The new job reaffirmed her desire to be an actress. “[A]s I look at the dailies, I go, I’m so not done,” she revealed. “I have a lot more to give and to enjoy for myself.”
“I love her,” Ward said of her character. “She’s smart and she’s a little artsy and edgy. To me, she’s a character very different from the FBI crime investigator world. Our background is that she has come from Virginia—the FBI in [Washington,] DC—and her field of expertise is DNA evidence and her philosophical point of view is everyone is innocent until the science proves otherwise. She also has background in criminal psychology, so that’s very interesting to me and fun to play.”
Ward was added to the cast so quickly that the character is being fleshed out along the way. “Basically, this was such a fast-track opportunity,” the actress explained. “I was on the porch swing at the farm in Mississippi and I got this call when Melina [Kanakaredes, Stella Bonasera] decided not to renew her contract and they were scrambling, asking will you do this part? So I hopped on a plane and they hadn’t even written her yet. So we had conversations about who is she. It was a mad scramble, and we probably don’t even have her totally fleshed out yet. I got a script three days before we started shooting.”
“We started filming right away and are still in conversations about where we want her to go, what would be interesting to play,” Ward continued. “She has a daughter that she adopted from a woman that she helped put away, so that’s going to be very interesting. And she has a biological son who’s 19. She’s divorced, and there’s a lot of fun material there, maybe a chance in a procedural show to have a little more depth in the character’s personal life moving forward.”
Source: The Los Angeles Times