Exclusive Interview: SurrealEstate’s Elena Juatco on Playing Lomax

Elena JuatcoTomorrow, SurrealEstate season two comes to a close with the episode "Letting Go." In the season finale, Susan (Sarah Levy) has returned to the agency, but something's not quite the same. Luke (Tim Rozon), who has regained his powers, and the team, must figure out what's going on. Is Susan safe or is the house still a danger?

Elena Juatco, who plays the new team member of the Roman Agency, Lomax, recently spoke to SciFi Vision about working on the series, including Lomax meeting with Susan, whether she thinks Lomax feels threatened, if she herself believes in ghosts, what Hogwarts house she and cast members belong to, and more.

Elena JuatcoRead the full trancript below, and be sure to catch the season two finale, Wednesday on Syfy.

SCIFI VISION:  To start off, how did you first become involved in the show?

ELENA JUATCO:   I auditioned for this role with a million other women. There were a lot of people auditioning for this role. Actually, Tim told me, he was like, “I got so many phone calls from people asking about Lomax and who was going to play Lomax,” because everyone wanted this role. And how could you not? She's just written so beautifully, and to get to work with all these incredible actors, it obviously was a dream role. So, I went on tape; I put myself on tape. My husband is my go-to reader. We filmed it, and I had a call back and got to meet George Olson, and we chatted, and then I got the part. Basically, I had told my team that I was pregnant, and then the following week, they told me I got the role, that I got Lomax, so it was the best baby shower gift I ever received.

For a part like this, did you at all research into real estate or anything like that? Or did you just go by script, and you really didn't need to? I was just curious.


I didn't really. I mean, I had life experience, because I did buy a house before the pandemic, [laughs] and it was a headache. But no, I didn't. I feel like I would be very good though. I do know a lot of actors that have become real estate agents. There is some sort of personality thing or knowledge, probably because you're selling a place, and you're personable. That's natural to us. So, luckily it worked out. I didn't have to learn any medical jargon, or for me, like my big “Oh, I can't do this” is like on Star Trek when you're sitting on the deck and you're looking at a screen and talking about like, velocity of engines and power noggin receptacles, my brain goes dead. It just fries, and I just go catatonic. I'm in a white room, and I'm singing that I don't know where I am, and then I wake up, and I'm like, “How did I get here? Did I get the part?” and I never do.

Let me ask you about the other side of it of the show, because obviously there's a lot about the paranormal: ghosts, demons, that type of thing in this. Is that something that you believe in? And have you ever had any kind of weird experience on a set working? Not necessarily on this show, just in general.

I 100% believe in the supernatural. I love it. Actually I am obsessed with like mediums as well, from a young age. I loved watching those TV shows where people would talk to the dead. I totally believe it. I do believe in ghosts. I believe in all of it. I've also worked in a lot of theaters that have been haunted by ghosts. If you just go to any theater, especially any old theater, there's always a ghost, and there's a name for the ghost, and there's always a weird superstition or something to do with the ghost in the theater. So, it's natural to me.

Have you've ever though been working on a TV show and had something like that happen? Or just in the theater?

On a TV show? No. I don't think ghosts would visit a TV show. But when I was a little girl they’d visit my bedroom.

Can you tell us a bit about Lomax meeting Susan and sort of how their dynamic is going to be?

Oh, yeah. Lomax has never met Susan. She has only heard of her. And when she appears out of the elevator, she's a little confused and has to ask Zooey (Savannah Basley), “Is that Susan?” because she wasn't quite sure. Their first meeting is an interesting. It'll be a nice complement to how Lomax met Zooey. I think George has written in such strong female characters, and it's interesting to see their dynamic with each other when like two fire elements meet together, how they can be abrasive, but they also can join forces and work as a team as well and grow brighter. So, it's interesting. It was also an honor to get to work with Sarah Levy, I have to say.
   
Obviously, for a while, Lomax was kind of the only female agent. I mean, Zooey was there, but isn’t an agent now…Having another another agent, Susan come in, do you think that she feels threatened at all by her?

No, I don't think Lomax is the kind of woman to be threatened. I don't think any of the women are characters that are ready to really be threatened. I think they're so strong in who they are. Yeah, I think actually the dynamic between them, it's more interesting when there's more of a “how do we work together?” kind of vibe. Yeah, no, I don't think so. I don't think she’s threatened. She doesn’t scare easy.

With Lomax, what part of her did you have the easiest time connecting with, and what did you find hard to connect with, if anything?
  
There's nothing difficult in terms of connecting to Lomax as the character. It actually felt very natural. When I got the sides and looked at it, I just kind of got that dry humor. I enjoy dry humor. I actually love looking at my life with a sense of humor. I always say that. Like, before my son was born, everyone was asking if I wanted a boy or a girl, and I said, “I don't care if it's a boy or girl. I just want them to have a sense of humor.” So, that's always been my easy foray into life, into a character, into a show. I always look at where that levity is in your heart…I think the only difficult thing was probably the different pant sizes they had to procure for me, because I was pregnant in my third trimester while on set like, and they had to like cut pants and add stretchy things and give me larger and larger jackets. So [I was] kind of set and wondering if I’d fit, and then realizing I didn't quite fit after lunch. That was probably the most difficult [thing], but handleable.

That’ sreally great that they were willing to work with you, because you hadn't already been on the show and really a part of it when you first found out.

Yeah, you know what, I worked all through my pregnancy. It was such a gift. Because now I kind of have a time capsule of nine incredible months, but you see me get bigger, or you can see the glow, and it's  such a gift, and I felt so strong too. People don't tell you that in pregnancy you can actually feel strong, because you're making another life. I felt so strong. But when I auditioned for Lomax, I wasn't pregnant. And then when I got the role, I was.

Do you have a favorite, favorite scene? I know I really liked the werewolf-type of stuff. What was your favorite scene out of the series? 

That’s funny you say that, because that's the first thing that popped in my head as well, was the werewolf scene when they put the raw meat in front of me, and then they all start chowing on the meat, and I have to throw the ball.

That was, I think, the most bizarre scene of the series. [laughs]

And I didn't have to memorize any lines for that, so that was great. LOL. But I love physical comedy so much. It was just such a fun day. It was just so incredibly weird. Like the whole situation was so weird. That scene was definitely I would say my favorite. It was one of the most fun days on set.
  
Obviously the show has a lot of humor. Does the cast fool around behind the scenes or play pranks or anything like that, or is it a more serious set between takes?

Yeah, I think there’s a really great camaraderie on set. We have no, you know, method actors that need to hide in a corner. It's like, think about the worst thing that's ever happened in their life. Like, there's none of that. I think when, especially in television, we spend as many hours together, there's got to be fun and that's how - there's going to be chemistry on camera, because there's chemistry behind the camera as well. We had a lot - I had a lot of fun. I mean, we did Secret Santa together. That was hilarious. And I will proudly say that I was the person who got Tim Rozon to take the Harry Potter test to find out what house he belongs in, because he incorrectly thought he was Hufflepuff. Eye roll. There's no way. And of course, he's a Ravenclaw. That was a really big day for him. He was very overwhelmed. He was excited. And then other people did the test as well, but it felt like a earth shattering moment for him, because he built himself up as a Hufflepuff, and I'm like, “I don't think you are.” And then all the pieces came together like it's the movie The Sixth Sense. Like of course [he’s] a Ravenclaw, and then it became accepted. That was a big moment. I was very proud of that one. I helped him grow as a man.

[laughs] I was going to say, I take it you're a big fan.
  
I am. I'm clearly, obviously Gryffindor, obviously.

Yeah, me too.

But I play a lot of characters who are Slytherin. It's very weird. My casting might be Slytherin, but I am Gryffindor in real life.

Well, you want to be able to do that if you're an actor. You need to be able to play all houses, all sides of it. So, if you do get a season three, who's somebody you'd like to get to have more scenes with that you didn't get to work a whole lot with?

Oh, I'd love to have more scenes with Sarah Levi and Savannah. I didn't get enough. I got just a short little scene with Savannah and a short one with Sarah. I'd love to work with them more, definitely.

Have you heard anything about a potential season three? 

I’m crossing fingers and toes like everyone else.

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