‘The Stranger’: Avan Jogia Details Why JJ Becomes the Believer Clare Needs

     August 25, 2020

Maika Monroe leads The Stranger on Quibi as Clare, an aspiring writer who moves to Los Angeles ready to live her dream. Trouble is, while working as a ride share driver, she winds up picking up Carl E. (Dane DeHaan), someone with a far more sinister agenda than catching a ride to LAX. When Clare turns to the cops for help, they don’t believe her. And not being believed is an issue that pops up quiet a few times through The Stranger’s 13-episode run. But, that’s where Avan Jogia’s character JJ comes in because, even though JJ and Clare complete strangers at the start of the series, he’s the only one willing to help her.

While chatting with Jogia and writer-director Veena Sud about developing the character of JJ, Jogia spoke a bit about his backstory and what might make him the type of person who believes Clare when no one else will. Here’s what he said:

“I think there’s a stilted sort of development that he’s gone through. I think that JJ, through maybe his family situation, hasn’t really grown or developed into the person he’s meant to be. He’s sort of in a limbo stage in his life. We played around with some backstory ideas about the idea of him not being able to really afford to live outside of his home. Maybe he’s still sort of under the larger umbrella of his parents and that’s sort of stunted his growth. And then, I think somebody walks through the door who needs help and needs to be believed and needs to be believed in, and I think that something about that resonates with JJ and his needs to be believed in as a person in his own private life, in his movie.”

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Image via Quibi

That led to Jogia bringing up an interesting point about his approach to playing supporting characters:

“I think good supporting characters are in their movie, and then in the middle of their movie they get distracted by someone else’s movie. And that’s how I like to think when I’m playing supporting characters because it gains them a strength, independence and they’re not just ancillary to progressing a story. It builds a bit of the foundation of a person.” 

If you’d like to hear more from Jogia and Sud about their experience making The Stranger, what key moment in the story actually involves in a little ADR, and if Jogia’s recently release book of poems and stories, Mixed Feelings, has impacted the roles he gravitates towards, be sure to check out the full conversation at the top of this article! 

Veena Sud and Avan Jogia:

  • Sud talks about how much the role of JJ changed from draft to draft, and then when Jogia was cast.
  • Jogia discusses what it is about JJ that makes him a believer when no one else will listen to Clare, and his approach to playing supporting characters.
  • Jogia details how Sud lets her cast know that they’re on the right track while filming. 
  • Sud reveals that some of the name exchange scene was actually done with ADR.
  • Jogia talks about his book of poems and stories, Mixed Feelings, and if working on that has changed the roles he gravitates towards today.

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