‘Legends of Tomorrow’: Jes Macallan on Directing, Her Special Guest Star & the Avalance Wedding

'Legends of Tomorrow' Star and Director Jes Macallan
Q&A
The CW

Legends of Tomorrow star Jes Macallan goes from co-captain of the Waverider to director for the August 8 episode, “The Final Frame,” in which the Legends find themselves in a cosmic bowling alley.

“It wasn’t the most normal kind of square script you could have,” Macallan tells TV Insider with a laugh. “So we had a blast, to say the least.”

But while Macallan is on screen a little less than usual, fans will still get to see her as Ava — and she’s getting ready for her and Sara’s (Caity Lotz) upcoming wedding. With things going awry, however, Gary (Adam Tsekham) tries to distract her, with hilarious results.

Macallan discusses directing this wild episode (and her “better half” Nic Bishop guest starring), the upcoming Avalance wedding, and more.

Legends of Tomorrow has some crazy stuff, but did you ever think your Legends directorial debut would feature a floating bowling alley, hiking, and wedding planning?

Jes Macallan: No, and I didn’t expect to be acting in it as much as I was. And I love that they wrote that super meta line that’s like, “Thank you, everyone here, for making my day about a floating bowling alley!” It was like my favorite line in the whole episode, because yeah, 26 pages of that script, we were in a bowling alley in space. Try pitching that to people and try having a meeting with department heads talking about [that]. We have some crazy, crazy conversations on Legends, but [the ones around this episode] took the cake for me, for sure.

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There's also a change coming for Amy Louise Pemberton in Season 7.

You mentioned how much you were in the episode. It wasn’t as much as in others.

That’s a huge part of it [being the right episode to direct]. And luckily, our EPs and [co-showrunner] Phil Klemmer and Chad Kennedy at Warner Brothers and everybody at CW are just champions of actors that want to direct and do the work and are really, really passionate about it and want to shift into that part of their career. So I felt so supported by everyone. It’s been a long journey for me wanting to get into the director’s chair since even the last show I was on. I’ve just felt the draw of that probably equally, certainly as much as acting, if not, maybe more, and to be supported by the writers, the EPs, the network, and the studio to lower my workload as an actor just for my first time was amazing. They don’t have to do that, and it was a luxury to have that. I was very light in the episode beforehand as well because there’s a ton of prep and it’s not an easy thing and to have the support of everybody was such a blessing.

What can you preview about what the Legends are going to be facing at this cosmic bowling alley?

There is a pretty nasty, pretty obnoxious, Jersey Shore-esque kind of villain that isn’t your average vampire or whatever the heck else, Beebo — well, I guess Beebo was pretty damn out there — played by the one and only Nic Bishop, who is also my better half. And it’s pretty whacked. The stakes are super high even though we’re in a bowling alley. It’s kind of a bowling alley homage to the restaurant at the end of the galaxy, and this villain is taking over worlds and planets beating their occupants at bowling. As comedic and ridiculous as that sounded, the stakes are super high, and telling that story and making people understand and follow and making it a fun journey for the audience to watch and not be bored and not switch off and not be confused was certainly a hurdle. And I think, I hope we achieved it. I think it’s a pretty fun episode.

 

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Talk about directing Nic.

I love working with him. I love that he’s my other half and that we both get to go on this journey together. We’re both in the same industry, which can be really, really hard for relationships, and I just love that it’s been an asset instead of a detriment for us. We really love working together. We love developing together. We love writing together. We love acting together. We love all of it. So it was really, really magical that that even came up and I said, “Just put a tape down, please,” and he did because he’s wonderful. We auditioned and I truly, without any sort of wanting him to play it, just couldn’t find the Mike that I wanted. And I knew that he had it in him to do this kind of outlandish, crazy high hair, flat top villain that I wanted Mike to be, this kind of guy that you loathe, but you want to keep watching him because he’s entertaining, and he just smashed it. I’m so grateful.

Meanwhile, Ava’s trying to find her wedding dress, and while Gary is trying to distract her from everything going on, is he at all helpful in helping her figure out what she wants?

When is Gary ever helpful? Let’s be perfectly honest. No, I love that montage with all my heart. It was such an homage to every ’80s movie that we all know and love and every kind of fun “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” moment of them playing dress-up in the bridal suite situation on the Waverider. Gary and Ava have a love-hate relationship, but I do feel that deep down it’s more love-love, and it’ll only grow as we near the end of the season. There are some really touching moments with good ol’ Gar-bear that I think the audience is really gonna enjoy.

'Legends of Tomorrow' Star Caity Lotz

The CW

Ava and Sara’s relationship has seemed very steady lately after the half-alien reveal. Are we going to continue to see that?

Yeah, I don’t think that’s an easy thing, to be in a half-alien, half-human situation and certainly Sara and Ava have had a long-winded relationship of just trying to be together. And then it finally happens, and look, we’ve got an alien situation, but it wouldn’t be Legends without the whack of that, right? They are together and we have teased the wedding, so we know that that could possibly happen. Look forward to Sara and Ava, they have a good journey for the rest of the season.

Speaking of that wedding in the trailer, I love the “co-captains forever” moment. What can you tease about the wedding up until probably the worst objection ever?

Yeah, exactly. What I will say is obviously the cat’s out of the bag. I wish it was a little hidden, but it’s out of the bag, but certainly tune in because as we all know, nothing’s ever easy for the Legends and clearly nothing’s ever easy for Sara and Ava trying to be together and just be happy and “normal,” even though they don’t want to be normal. It’s not going to be an easy “I do.” It’s not going to be just, “OK, and we’re married,” so definitely tune in. Because you don’t want to miss all the stuff that goes down in that finale. Oh my God.

Legends of Tomorrow, Sundays, 8/7c, The CW