Jordan Claire Robbins plays the lovable Grace in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy. While just the robot mom in season one, Robbins returned in season two as the “real” Grace. And really provided some background to the season one character. As well as providing a more “human” aspect to the hardened Sir Reginald Hargreeves.
We were lucky enough to speak with Robbins via email. Keep reading below for Robbins’ answers to our Umbrella Academy questions!
When you were filming season two, had you known that your character was based on a woman that Reginald Hargreeves had dated in the past?
JCR: During season one I had no idea the backstory of the character, and that Hargreeves had real-life motivation for building her in that particular image. It was very cool when I sat down with our showrunner Steve Blackman around the time season one premiered, and he told me where they were going for season two. Knowing AI Grace gave me some cool things to play with going into season two, because there were definite similarities between the characters but also a bunch of huge differences.
What was it like playing a character who was/is a robot, but also a mother to all these super-powered children?
JCR: So much fun! It is very complex because we see so many different sides to her throughout the first season. She’s nurturing, loving, everything the children needed because she was programmed to be that way – but we also start to see these sparks of something deeper that is her own, a consciousness that comes from her time with the children over the years.
In season one, do you think Grace evolved to have her own “human-like” emotions?
JCR: I definitely do feel that she developed her own sense of self and feelings. In some of the later episodes especially, Grace’s own voice starts breaking through to the surface especially once she is no longer under Hargreeves’ control. It was a beautiful thing to be able to play, her evolution from pure programming to a more unpredictable and free-thinking being who acted from a place of real love and care for her children.
What was it like coming back for season two and playing the “real” Grace?
JCR: It was a very cool experience. In many ways, I still felt the presence of season one Grace since their stories are so interconnected, but at the same time, it was an opportunity to play a very different version of the Grace we all knew from season one. I loved how human Grace brought out this softer, warmer version of Hargreeves which you don’t really see in season one. I was very excited to come back for another season and to get to show the audience a Grace who challenged Reggie and was his equal, not controlled or manipulated by him the way season one Grace was.
What are some of the differences you had to utilize in order to play 1960s Grace as opposed to “Robot Grace”?
JCR: The accent was a really fun one, playing AI Grace I used a mid-Atlantic way of speaking that many women spoke within that era, and human Grace has a Dallas accent, which I loved. Both characters have a warmth that exudes and are very loving and maternal towards their child figures (in human Grace’s case this was Pogo of course!). But human Grace has qualities that are unique to her – I loved that she was a strong woman working in a male-dominated field at a time when women were only just starting to be able to pursue careers and break out of their gender roles. 60’s Grace has a great sense of humor, and an intelligence that is why Reggie is so attracted to her in the first place. I enjoyed exploring their backstory and relationship built on mutual respect and shared love for Pogo.
I really loved the scenes with Grace and Baby Pogo. You captured the emotions during Pogo’s accident perfectly. Were there plans for more scenes between Grace and Pogo?
JCR: Thank you! I found those scenes so beautiful and to be honest it was very easy for me to tap into the emotion because of the way the story was already set up from season one. 60’s Grace is so compassionate and comes to really love him like a child, and the scenes they wrote were so powerful that they didn’t require a lot of screen time. There are obviously so many great storylines on the show and they did a great job of fitting the puzzle piece of Grace and Baby Pogo into the bigger picture.
What was it like crafting a relationship with Colm Feore?
JCR: Colm is so great. He’s been a dream to work with from day one, and truly is a master at his craft. Scenes with him flow so easily because his commitment to his character and story makes it so easy for everyone else in the scene to do the same. Not to mention that he has a great sense of humor and always has everyone laughing in between shots!
Does the Sparrow Academy have a Grace?
JCR; Your guess is as good as mine! I love being a part of the show so of course I secretly hope they do, but I know they will do what is best for the story which is what makes the show so good.
Do you have any upcoming projects we should keep an eye out for?
JCR: I am currently working on a thriller called Escape the Field. We will be shooting in a cornfield for the next month and I could not be more excited! I love the rest of the cast and our director Emerson Moore has such a clear vision and brings so much passion to everything he does.
A girl with too many fandoms to count.