“When a character evolves, the scary thing is that the audience won’t connect with the person or think that they’ve changed too much.” – D’Arcy Carden
Actor D’Arcy Carden plays Janet on The Good Place. Although Janet has a human name and sure looks human, over the course of the series Janet is revealed to be something like a human-sized Siri or Alexa. In an interview with Jezebel, Carden speaks about playing her unique character on the series and how she’s followed the character’s changes over the course of the series.
Carden explains the challenges that came with playing a character that isn’t human. She says:
“You know, even though she wasn’t quite human, there was something about Janet that I really related to and felt very comfortable with. She’s very nice, caring, pleasant. That part of her felt the most human to me, so it was the easiest thing to click into. But the thing that was sort of the scariest—I mean, that’s kind of an intense word for this [laughs]. It wasn’t, like, terrifying. But as an actor, you want to react to everything your fellow actors are giving you, and you want to show your emotion and discover things. And in the beginning of Janet, that was off the table. I found myself reacting too much and showing too much emotion. So Mike Schur and I kind of figured it out together. We didn’t know what Janet was going to look like or be like. Originally Mike said that he didn’t even think Janet would be an actual character; it would be like an ATM machine, basically.”
Though Janet isn’t human, that doesn’t mean that Carden’s character doesn’t have character growth. Reflecting on recent changes for character. She says, “It’s scary for me to have established this character for the last two seasons and then, you know, at the end of Season 2, she was getting… she was changing! You saw her struggling with these feelings or whatever you want to call them inside of her, and now in Season 3, it’s a whole new ballgame. And that’s scary for me as an actor. When a character evolves, the scary thing is that the audience won’t connect with the person or think that they’ve changed too much. That’s my own weird fear. I don’t know how realistic that is.”