BSM alum to appear in Avatar film

Sam Thomas

Being involved in Journalism class at BSM may eventually get you a career in which you get to work with a stunt coordinator from the Bourne Ultimatum and James Bond.  At least, that’s how it worked for former editor-in-chief of the Knight Errant, Jessica Andres, who is to star in “Avatar the Last Airbender,” which is coming to theaters this summer.

Jessica graduated from BSM in 2003 and then went to New York University for a degree in economics.  “I hated NYU, and I had already spent all of my savings in about a month.  I transferred to another school in New York for business, and I decided to check off art school in the interests box,” said Andres.

Andres had the opportunity to be the small co-star in television shows such as Gossip Girl, Demitri Martin on Comedy Central, and on some students films.  “I did these small jobs, and then I got help to audition for ‘Avatar the Last Airbender,’  I was so nervous to go into that audition, I didn’t even know what a monologue was…but I was so thankful they let me audition because I don’t know what I would be doing with my life right now otherwise,” said Andres.

Andres received the news that she got the part of Suki in this movie trilogy, and immediately began to love New York.  “I’ve done a lot of small parts, but to get this, I still can’t believe it actually happened…I stayed in New york and loved it after that, because I felt like I had a purpose to be there,” said Andres.

The show “Avatar the Last Airbender has been around as an animated television series since 2005, but Andres was not particularly familiar with the show.  “I had heard of it, but never seen the show.  I was having a meeting with the director M. Night Shyamalan, and figured I should probably watch it, then I became obsessed,” said Andres, “I’m not just saying that because I’m in the movie, the show is actually incredibly good,” said Andres.

Andres will be playing the part of Suki, who is the Kyoshie leader of the earth kingdom, but her character will become much more prominent in the sequel.  “There are four nations: fire, earth, water, and air.  The main caracters from each of these nations is getting others out of dangerous situations, and my character will become a love interest of Sokka of the water nation. It really is an interesting concept,” said Andres.

The opportunity that Andres came upon is rare considering her lack of experience with acting, and she’s still trying to get used to the privileges that come with her job. “When I got to set and saw a chair with my name on it and I was like, ‘how is this happening, I called my mom and she wanted me to take a picture of the chair, but I was like, ‘No mom, I have to act like this is normal!'” said Andres.

The training and preparing for “Avatar the Last Airbender consisted of not only running through a script, but martial arts as well.  “I got to work with stunt coordinators from Bourne Ultimatum and James Bond.  I also got to do Cirque Du Soleil training and Tessenjusu, which is the fighting with fans that my character does.  It was so wild, and I got a stunt double, but didn’t even have to use her!” said Andres.

After all of the preparation and work Andres has put in to her new career, she will get to see her work pay off on July 2 when the movie shows in theaters, and then she will look into new acting opportunities.  “This is totally something I want to pursue.  It’s hard moving into Los Angeles, but I can’t see myself doing anything else.  As long as I’m here, and there’s jobs, this is what I want to be doing,” said Andres.