Jane Doe may have no memories of her past, but her introduction on NBC’s new action-thriller “Blindspot” is unforgettable: Played by Jaimie Alexander, she emerges nude, her body covered with intricate tattoos, from a canvas bag in the middle of Times Square.
That’s only the beginning of the mystery in the series, created by Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash”) and Martin Gero, as the FBI discovers each tattoo is a clue not only to a crime but also to Jane’s identity.
Since her breakthrough role on ABC Family’s "Kyle XY," Alexander – a former high school wrestler and a practicing martial artist – has specialized in physical roles, most notably that of Lady Sif in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With "Blindspot," she's found a character that plays to all of her strengths, not the least of which is an affinity for body ink.
"I have nine of my own that are strategically covered by Jane's tattoos," she recently told a group of journalists. And like Jane's, each comes with a story. "I have four brothers, and I have their initials on my right arm. Yes, Mom was OK with that one."
You look very real when you're performing in the fight scenes.
Jaimie Alexander: Yeah, I do my own stunts. I have an amazing double because we have to tag in and out because we get beaten up pretty bad. So we tag team on those. She's amazing. Her name is Ky Furneaux. She's literally, a female Bear Grylls. She's created a bunch of survival shows that are on TV right now, and she's written a book. She takes care of me. We've known each other for 10 years. She's doubled me forever.
What an entrance you make, appearing naked in that bag. TV trickery, or was that actually as uncomfortable as it looked?
Well, it was. When I was got into the bag, I was like, “I don't remember rehearsing that in this small of a bag, but maybe I grew.” But no, it was so cold. At that time, I was ready to get in the bag. I was like, "I will get in the bag, and I'll stay in the bag if you want." It was a little scary at first, but it was fun. It was in March, and when the Hudson had icebergs. Yeah, it was cold.
For a scene like that, was it easy to check your vanity at the door?
Oh, yeah, you can't be self-conscious. You've just got to go for it. Life is short.
The tattoos are insane. How long does it take to put them all on?
Well, full-body, seven hours. And then minimal body, like if I'm in three-fourths sleeve, maybe like an hour and a half, two hours.
Tell us about working with Sullivan Stapleton.
Oh, he's a talented guy. He's really talented with the action aspect of the show. And it's so great to have such a diverse cast from all other the world be a part of the show. We've got a kid from England, we've got Canadians, we've got Americans, we've got Aussies. The sky's the limit. My stuntwoman is Australian.
You've always been fearless about physical roles, but how did you have to up your physical game for this one?
Yeah, I definitely have been doing a lot of training for that. Like a bit of weight training, a lot of flexibility training. When I play Lady Sif in the "Thor" films, it's very fancy moves. It's very glitz and glam, in a way. This character is hand-to-hand combat, very realistic moves for my body weight and size against the opponent. And it's a lot more rough. I'm taking much more of a beating on this than I ever did in any "Thor" films.
Were there any movies or TV shows that you watched to find the right tone or style for the action scenes?
There's a great hallway fight sequence in "Daredevil," the TV show, that I really, really like. And we were real inspired by that on the show. And I think it's so well done. It's what you don't see that freaks you out.
This has had a few early comparisons to "The Blacklist."
Not a bad comparison at all, and I think that's typically what people do before they get a chance to see certain things, they want to liken it to something else they enjoy. So I'm all for that. But it definitely will have its own identity. It's a very interestingly shot show. The tone and the mood is like something you've never seen on network before. It's very dark. The lighting is very peculiar, very abstract. So it's very artistic all the way around.
Do you have 10 free seconds in your schedule to plan your wedding to Peter Facinelli, or is it down the line somewhere?
Oh, it's down the line. We're just enjoying, having a good time, and we take things slow. And we just enjoy each other. A piece of paper isn't going to change how much I love him, and how much he loves me. … He's the best. And he's actually doing another Berlanti show, "Supergirl.” He's the villain, Max Lord. The kids are super-excited about that. They can watch that show. They can't watch mine.
So superhero and supervillain in the same family?
Yeah, it's intense!
Do you know what Jane Doe going to turn out to be down the line?
No, I don't. I'm completely in the dark about it. I like that. Yeah, I'm all about the journey, not the destination…There's a lot that ends up happening, just actually in Episode 2, shit hits the fan pretty quick. There's, like I said, no filler episodes. Everything moves so fast paced. We learn fight sequences the day of, on the fly.
When do you start work on the third "Thor" film, "Ragnarok"?
So I think I've heard that it's next summer, which would be great because that's my hiatus.
What are you excited about with Sif, for her future?
I would love to just see more interaction with her and Thor. And just, like, dig a little deeper to each of those characters a little bit more. Like the Warriors Three, the comedy that ensues with those three would be good to explore. But I just enjoy being a part of those films, and I enjoy the cast so much, that, yeah, I'm looking forward to it.
Will this job keep you from making your now-annual Sif appearance on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."?
I actually don't know the truthful answer to that question, but if the situation arrived and presented itself, I would have a chat with them. I think it would be doable.
And you have some more film work coming up.
"London Fields" I did a cameo in, as kind of like a favor. It's a friend of mine who's like, "Do you want to do this? Play this super-eccentric Jackie O type of character?" And I said, "Sure, let's do it." So I flew to London and did that for a few days. And then, I don't know when that's going to be coming out, but we have a lot of interesting cameos in that one – we've got Johnny Depp.
The other one is "Broken Vows," which I did with a really good friend of mine, Wes Bentley, who I love. He's such a talented guy, and a really good person. And love him and his family. And it's a very bizarre twist on a stalker situation. I'm the stalk-ee. I know, I'm like, "That's a first." I usually play the killer or something. But when you get him and I together though, it's like, we both have a similar features and similar talent when it comes to certain characters we play. So it's kind of a funny dynamic. It was an interesting dynamic.
You've really marked out a special corner of Hollywood for yourself.
I know. I think I just found my niche. When I moved out here to start pursuing this career, all the castings were for "The O.C." and the blonde bombshell, and the bimbo and whatever it was. And I literally could not fit those characters, even if I tried. Even in a comedy, it didn't work. And then action became a new thing, and there was probably me and like maybe four other girls that were doing it at the time. And so I really got into it.
”Blindspot” premieres tonight at 9 ET/PT on NBC.