Ashley Jones has nailed every role she's ever played, from The Bold and the Beautiful's Bridget Forrester to True Blood's Daphne Landry. But could she have pulled off the role of feisty Phyllis Summers on The Young and the Restless? Casting directors at the CBS Daytime series certainly thought so, as Jones was in the mix to play the headstrong redhead before Gina Tognoni landed the role in 2014. But that's not the only juicy information Soap Central unearthed during a recent chat with Jones, who is currently promoting a new film called We Die Alone, a Hitchcockian-inspired, character-driven thriller.
The short, directed by Marc Cartwright, follows Aidan (Baker Chase Powell), a young man crippled by loneliness and insecurity, who wants nothing more than to experience love but compulsively ghosts any connections he makes through dating sites. His generous and kind coworker Elaine (Jones) encourages Aidan to put himself out there -- although, in her heart of hearts, she wishes he would pick up on her feelings for him.
Everything changes when a beautiful, distant woman named Chelsea (Samantha Boscarino) moves into an apartment across the hall from Aidan's. The two feel an instant connection based on their refusal to engage in social norms and bond over an unusual hobby. This chance encounter throws Aidan into a spiral of dangerous infatuation that will alter all three of their lives.
Soap Central spoke with Jones about We Die Alone, so keep reading to find out why the project is so special, when viewers can expect her back at B&B, and which soap opera role she's dying to land.
Soap Central: Congratulations on your new short film We Die Alone! How did this role come about for you?
Ashley Jones: The casting director worked for the company that cast me in True Blood, and some of the assistants there moved into a different division and started their own casting office, so when she got ahold of this short film, she thought of me, and that's how it got in my hands. I chatted with [the director] Marc and really enjoyed him and thought the script was interesting and different. It's a really fun suspense thriller that is kind of film noir-ish and a little Hitchcocky. I'm someone who enjoys working when I can, especially if it's interesting work, and it all just kind of made sense.
Soap Central: It's a short film, but from what we see in the teaser trailer, it looks like there is a lot of drama squeezed in!
Jones: There is, but the interesting thing about it is that it moves at the type of pace that you would expect when you're watching a Hitchcock film. It definitely sets everything up in a very specific way, but you get a real insight into [Aidan's] mind and how he's very set in his ways and his mind is stuck in a very specific point in time. It's interesting.
Soap Central: Elaine secretly likes his character, Aidan, and wishes that he would notice that. Have you ever been in that situation yourself, hoping a guy would notice that you like him?
Jones: Oh, God, yes, like a million times! My husband [Joel Henricks] is a good example. We actually went out on a date, and we were both hoping that the other would like us, but you don't necessarily have all the clues all right up front; people kind of keep their emotions to themselves at the beginning. But this particular situation in the film, it's more about her trying to get her coworker's attention, and she misreads some of his cues and reads between the lines when there's really nothing to read between the lines [laughs]. But she puts her best college effort at it.
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We may have different reactions to events in life (see exhibit B: swipe left for concert above), but that's what makes our life adventures complete and balanced. Here's to many, many more adventures together. Till we're old and grey... I'm so grateful God brought us together. I'm proud of our family. And so proud of you. Happy Anniversary! I LOVE you😘😘 @joelhenricks
Soap Central: Was the character a challenge for you in any way?
Jones: It wasn't really a challenge because there's a part of me in this character. She's a good girl who is trying to find her way in life, and she still believes in love, even though it really hasn't happened to her yet. It's later in her life, but she still has a lot of hope. And there's a lot of that inside of me. I see the good in people, I have a lot of hope, I'm pretty positive and always think the best will happen. So, I had that in common with her, which I think made it easier to play her. But the challenging part is when you're doing a short film, you're working with new people and don't have a ton of time to all meld together, so you really have to form a connection as quickly as possible -- with the crew, the DPs, and especially with the director and the other actors. You have to relax and trust the process and trust your director and know the other actors are going to give you what you need. And that part of it sometimes is challenging because you have to let go of a lot of your own controlling issues and let everyone else do their jobs so the project can happen naturally and beautifully.
Soap Central: I feel like making instant connections with strangers would be one of the hardest parts about acting -- besides the auditions, of course!
Jones: Ugh, the auditions! I call that the business side of it, and that is the most brutal, awful part. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. And I can't believe that somehow it hasn't really chipped away at me that much, because you just go on so many. People say, "Well, you book a lot." And I'm like, "Yes, but for every job I get, there's like 50 others that I don't get." So, you have to really be persistent and persevere and just know that the right role for you will come along. But that's the hardest part, for sure. Auditioning is the biggest challenge of doing what we all do.
Soap Central: Marc said he was inspired to write the script for We Die Alone while he was hiking in L.A. and noticed that many of the hikers he passed were in their own worlds and barely acknowledged each other. Is that something you find that you do, as well, or are you always observing other people as a way to study human behavior?
Jones: Gosh, I think I go through phases. I will say, since having children, you're a little bit more focused on your own little herd. But also, it gives me a weird sense of what's around me. I'm more protective, and I'm looking out more in a defensive way. I'm not assuming that anything bad is going to happen, and I'm not trying to be defensive, but you're just always looking to make sure your kids are safe. So, in that sense, I probably pay more attention to other people. As far as just paying attention to human behavior, I love doing that. But I also love being able to just be alone in my thoughts. So, it's interesting that Marc said [that's how he got the inspiration for the script] because one of my favorite things to do on a hike is kind of zone out and pay attention to the nature, not necessarily the people around me. And I think a lot of people are like that. So, I can see why he would say that. There are tons of people doing the exact same thing, so clearly, they have something major in common, and yet they're not interacting at all. That's pretty funny that he observed that. But even at the gym, I put my earbuds in, and I just want to zone out and be in my music and be in my thoughts. And I think Los Angeles is not great at [human connection]; I notice it's different when I go home to Texas. People here are all about their own agendas, and I feel like there is a time and a place for that, but I also think it's appropriate for us to have more human interaction, and this a really great film that explains why it's so important.
Soap Central: You recently made a return to B&B, and that is something that your fans always love to see. Can you say whether or not viewers will see Bridget again anytime soon?
Jones: I certainly hope so. Talk about human connection: there is so much love and such a connection with The Bold and the Beautiful family, and I'm not just talking about the actors or playing Bridget; it's the crew and the office staff and writers, just everybody. So, for my own selfish benefit, I hope I get to go back. And the fans really enjoy it, too. Bridget has so many family ties and such a history there, so I can't wait until they feel the need to bring Bridget back on -- especially with what's going on with her sister right now! There's always so much tragedy, because it's a soap and there needs to be, and I hope they find a place for Bridget to come in and take part.
Soap Central: You've had experience on three soap operas now: as Bridget on B&B, Parker Forsyth on General Hospital, and Megan Dennison on The Young and the Restless. Is there another soap opera or another soap opera character that you secretly want or have your eye on?
Jones: Playing the bad girl would be fun! Depending on your take and perspective of the whole thing, people can say Parker wasn't the best character, but her heart and her intentions were right. I think playing someone like Y&R's Phyllis [would be fun]. I don't remember if I tested for it or just read for it, but when they were recasting the role of Phyllis on The Young and the Restless, I was in the mix for that. And that was fun to get to do, because she just always had her wheels turning. Something like that would be really fun. But honestly, I've been so blessed with the characters that I've played. They're very, very different in nature and in the way that the writers have written the characters, so I've had a wide range of opportunities to stretch my ability and challenge myself. Unfortunately, there aren't that many major soap operas on in the U.S. anymore; it's almost like I'd have to go to a different country to get a new one! [Laughs] There's Days of our Lives, and you never know about what could happen with that. And, of course, there are the web series that are doing well, and there's always that.
Soap Central: Speaking of Y&R, that is the show where you earned your two Outstanding Younger Actress Daytime Emmy nominations. Do you think there was something special about the way that character was written that led to Emmy recognition?
Jones: I do, but I also have to give a lot of credit to Bill Bell Sr., because that's when he was alive and writing a lot for the show. And also Ed Scott, who was one of the producers on the show then. He really, really pushed me. A lot of getting nominated is about being at the right place at the right time and which other soaps are pushing their [actors] to be nominated and different things like that. But the mix between Bill Bell and Ed Scott, I have to give them credit. And Ed is now at The Bold and the Beautiful, so I don't doubt that it could happen again. Brad has the same ability his father had, and with Ed now at B&B, who knows what the future holds! But I do think it was this great, perfect storm of all the right people. But, also, it was a different age bracket. When you're younger, you have different kinds of storylines, and when you watch younger actresses, it's a different feeling you have for them as opposed to watching someone my age work. It can break your heart a little bit more.
For more information on We Die Alone, check out the film's official website here. And to keep up to date on Jones, you can check out her exciting blog here or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter -- as well as on Soap Central.
What do you think about our interview with Ashley Jones? Can you imagine her in the role of Y&R's Phyllis? What about as a bad girl on DAYS? What do you think about the premise of her new film, We Die Alone? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.