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This is a English translation of a German Jessica Steen article that appeared in the July 1998 issue of Cinema.


She started her career as an actress in tv-series and is now about to save the
earth with superstar Bruce Willis: newcomer Jessica Steen experiences with
"ARMAGEDDON" a turbulent career-kickoff.

From Toronto to the stars: Canadian actress Jessica Steen is one of the big
discoveries of the asteroid-spectacle "Armageddon" and in Hollywood she's
already entitled as the next Jodie Foster.

She was only 8 years old when she first stood in front of a camera, as a
teenager she showed her talent on the musical stage and then made her way
through 10 hard years of morning-soaps and afternoon-series, until - finally -
she got this call from Hollywood last year.

At the other end of the line was "The Rock"-producer Jerry Bruckheimer who
went into raptures about Jessica's performance in the sci-fi-series "Captain
Power and the Soldiers of the future," where she is the only female in a whole
bunch of men.

Bruckheimer told her that he had something quite similar for her in a movie
that is the biggest and most expensive feature Disney's ever made. Starring
Bruce Willis and with "Bad Boys"-director Michael Bay behind the camera.
There are offers you don't have to think over.

In "Armageddon" Jessica Steen plays astronaut Jennifer Watts, who
steers the space shuttle "Freedom" safe and secure through cosmic eruptions
and dangerous asteroid-showers. Not bad for a woman, who didn't get her
driver's license until she was 22. Before that, she hated everything that
drives and stinks. As a concerned environmentalist she always trusted the
public means of transportation and rode her (12 gear) bike to the studio.
What was pretty normal in Toronto became an insoluable problem for the
ambitious actress in Los Angeles.

In the city of angels you're not even half a person without a car. The
collective pressure was stronger than her principles. So the screen-astronaut
went to a driving school and on the day of her driver's test she was so
nervous, "that I didn't know where to put the ignition key".
Today she left the car in the garage. We meet in a small cafeteria in the
Hollywood Hills. Jessica Steen chose this place because she can easily reach
it by foot from her villa. She wears tight jeans and a wide blue T-Shirt, the
classic "Canadian-lumberjack-chic", as she describes her outfit later,

Then it immediately pours out of her: She talks about rock-climbing in the
moutains, her dislike of the big city and her new hobby, which is playing
African drums. Wasn't there something else?! - Oh, yes, the movie about the
fat meatball from out of space!

"As a newcomer, you only get one chance like 'Armageddon', it's like winning
the first prize in a lottery", says Miss Steen, not concealing what she was
really scared of.

"Fortunately, we've been spared the flight in the vomit comet". Although
director Bay truly wanted them to do the 'hellride'. "Vomit Comet", that's how
some NASA guys jokingly call the training jet KC-135, which is used to make
future astronauts get used to the state of weightlessness.

So far, the permission to get aboard was only given to the crew of Tom Hank's
"Apollo 13". Jessica Steen and her "Armageddon"-colleagues were supposed to
take a ride in KC-135 but this time their request met with disapproval.
"Some congress members were pressuring NASA", says Steen. "Maybe we were
not serious enough for those gentlemen".

Momentarily, there's only one thing for her that counts: To get as far away
from all the "Armageddon"-fuss. Even during the interview she practically sat
on packed suitcases and the journey leads back to Canada, of course, where her
parents live, the moutains are tempting and she's going to film "A Question of
Privilege", also starring Michael Ironside. And she'll leave her driver's license in Los Angeles.

(Thanks to Regina for the translation)

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Last update: November 1, 2000 3:25 AM