It’s been a really incredible journey so far.— Jessica Szohr, on The Orville[1]
Jessica Szohr is an American actress who plays Talla Keyali in the second season of The Orville.

Background Edit

Jessica Szohr was born in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, a place she described as a "family-oriented small town."[2] She began modelling at a young age, and moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue acting at age 17.

Szohr began her acting career in 2003 in the television show My Wife & Kids. After a series of minor roles, she landed the recurring character of Laura for the television dramedy What About Brian in 2007. That same year she had her breakout role as Vanessa Abrams in Gossip Girl, the role she is now best known for.

Szohr also featured in the 2015 film Ted 2, created by Seth MacFarlane.

The Orville Edit

Creator Seth MacFarlane approached Szohr with the role of Talla in January 2018.[3] She was excited to play the role of a tough yet petite character "with a big heart."[4]

Jessica Szohr was announced as a new series regular on February 12, 2018.[5] Details of her character were kept closely wrapped, though a series of small leaks allowed fans to deduce that the name would be "Talla Keyali" or "Talla Kexali."[6]

As Talla Keyali, Szohr replaced Halston Sage (Alara Kitan) as Chief of Security on the USS Orville, first appearing in the fifth episode All the World is Birthday Cake. "I just love playing her, so I was so excited to be working with the whole cast and everything," she later said in an interview. "Joining the ship and coming on as the new chief of security [has been] super fun. ...I get to do really amazing stunts, and all this crazy stuff that you would never think she'd be able to do."[7]

Trivia Edit

  • One of her favorite episodes is Lasting Impressions in which she shares the screen with her Gossip Girl co-star Leighton Meester (Laura Huggins).[3]
    • Ironically, Talla and Laura only appear together in one scene, in which they do not converse.
  • Co-star Peter Macon was so frequently in his Bortus costume during production that Szohr did not see him out of costume for the first two-and-a-half months of shooting. Szohr recalls:

Our trailers are right next to each other, so one day I’m leaving work and I went to say ‘bye’ and ... introduce myself, and he said “It’s Peter, I’m Bortus”, and I was like, “Wait, what? What do you mean?” I thought he was messing with me.[8]

  • Szohr has a habit of falling asleep mid-sentence.[9]
  • During filming Season 2, Szohr once slept through her alarm. After, Scott Grimes (Gordon Malloy) sent Szohr a video each morning shouting "Jessica! Wake up!" On one occasion, he convinced Adrianne Palicki (Kelly Grayson) to put her phone playing the video next to Szohr's ear as she slept.[10]

Interviews Edit

References Edit

  1. [[[1]]]
  2. "Szohr's High School 'Very Different' From 'Gossip Girl' World". PopEater. AOL. March 5, 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mitovich, Matt Webb. "Jessica Szohr Teases Orville Flirtation, Fun Gossip Girl Reunion Ahead". TVLine. Jan. 30, 2019.
  4. The Orville Official Fan Podcast w/ Jessica Szohr and Kevin Daniels (30). Planetary Union Network. Feb. 16, 2019.
  5. Andreeva, Nellie. "‘The Orville’: Jessica Szohr Cast As Series Regular For Season 2 Of Fox Series." Deadline. Feb. 12, 2018.
  6. Egotastic Funtimes. "Jessica Szohr First Name Leaked - Where's Alara? | TALKING THE ORVILLE". YouTube. May 3, 2018.
  7. Darwish, Meaghan. "'The Orville' Newbie Jessica Szohr Breaks Down Her Character Talla & Working With Seth MacFarlane". TV Insider. Jan. 25, 2019.
  8. Heilbronn, Leora. "INTERVIEW: THE ORVILLE’S JESSICA SZOHR". Brief Take. March 21, 2019.
  9. Sun - Main Stage | NYCC 2019 | SYFY WIRE. SyFy Wire. Oct. 6, 2019.
  10. Sun - Main Stage | NYCC 2019 | SYFY WIRE. SyFy Wire. Oct. 6, 2019.
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