Chris Lilley Fan

The Australian actor and writer stopped by BuzzFeed to talk bras, blazers, shooting with real high schoolers, and the other characters he wants to revisit.

Chris Lilley has played 14 characters across his four cult series We Can Be Heroes, Summer Heights High, and Angry Boys. Now, one fan favorite, high school queen bee Ja’mie King, is the focus of his new HBO series Ja’mie: Private School Girl (premiering Sunday, Nov. 24 at 10:30 p.m.). Chris stopped by BuzzFeed to screen the new series and to talk about what to can expect from the return of everyone’s favorite bitch, his plans for her future, and the big question: Where is her blazer now?

How have you seen the character of Ja’mie evolve from We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High to Ja’mie: Private School Girl?

Chris Lilley: She got bigger boobs in this series! I don’t know. She was in year 10 in We Can Be Heroes, and Summer Heights High [she was in] year 11 at a public school. This one, she’s back in her private school where she’s school captain and boss of the whole place. She’s tougher and bitchier than ever before. She’s out of control this season … It plots her demise and downfall from queen bee. Bad stuff happens.

Where did the inspiration for this beautifully complex character come from?

CL: I guess I’ve just met Ja’mies and seen them around. They’re everywhere! They’re in every workplace and every school. I went to a private boys school and we had girls in the last two years. A lot of the girls were similar to that.

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Australian comedian Chris Lilley made a giant splash in America when his series Summer Heights High aired on HBO, introducing fans to a trio of incredible characters: bossy drama teacher Mr. G, unruly delinquent Jonah, and vicious exchange student Ja’mie King. Lilley hit again with the follow-up Angry Boys, and now he’s back for another round, but only one character is taking the spotlight this time.

In Ja’mie: Private School Girl (premiering Nov. 24 on HBO at 10:30 p.m. ET), Lilley explores the school, family and romantic life of the offensive teen queen in full detail. EW chatted with Lilley about his celebrity fans, staying in character (perhaps too much) and why Ja’mie is more than just a horrible, horrible person.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When Summer Heights High premiered on HBO, when did you get the sense of how successful it had become in America? Was that a big noticeable change for you?

CHRIS LILLEY: It’s still hard for me to gauge. I guess I have fans online, but it’s not until I do these appearances where I get the sense of it. There was a screening of Ja’mie at Berkeley a couple months ago and there were so many people there packed into a hall, and they played the Summer Heights High soundtrack and all the students were singing along. That actually really shocked me. So it’s little moments like that when I think, oh yeah, people really do watch this show. You never can get a sense of how much people love something until you really are amongst it.

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By Inkoo Kang

Few men wear a dress as meaningfully as comedian Chris Lilley. Since 2005, he has sported the pinstriped schoolgirl uniforms of his native Australia to play Ja’mie King, a perfect little monster created by an ungodly mix of wealth, vapidity, and cheerful cruelty. Ja’mie returns to HBO on November 24 in her latest mockumentary, the six-part half-hour show Ja’mie: Private School Girl, to explain what’s “quiche” (“a step above hot”) and what’s “povo” (“poverty-stricken”).

This latest addition to the premium cable network’s foreign comedy lineup will be 39-year-old Lilley’s third show on HBO, following Summer Heights High and Angry Boys. (Ja’mie’s debut, the mockumentary special We Can Be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year, is available on HBO Go.) In Summer Heights High, her best-known appearance to date, Ja’mie landed in public school for a semester-long academic exchange and did little to ingratiate herself. At a school meeting, she introduced herself to her peers: “I come from one of the most expensive private girls’ schools in the state, but I’m actually really cool. Please don’t be intimidated by me. … Studies have shown that students from private schools are more likely to get into uni and end up making a lot more money, while wife-beaters and rapists are nearly all public-school educated. Sorry, no offense, but it’s true.” (No surprise: Lilley attended public school.)

Ja’mie fans will be pleased to know she hasn’t changed a bit. In the pilot of Private School Girl, she shows the camera crew around the Hillford Girls’ Grammar campus. “I’m nice to pretty much everyone in school,” she declares, while pointing out the groups she’d rather die than say a kind word to: the Asians, the overweight girls, the ones who grew up on farms, and the students she suspects of being lesbians. When one of the supposedly gay girls responds to Ja’mie’s bullying by asking her why she has such tiny breasts – Lilley seems to have on a pair of A-cups under the school uniform – our villainess finally reveals a vulnerability: “The reason they’re small is because I had an eating disorder, so it’s not exactly a laughing matter, OK? So go fucking fist yourself.”

Lilley is rare among comic actors in that he’s earned his fame and adoration almost exclusively from writing and starring in his own shows. He has utilized his creative control to showcase his talent for mimicry: On Summer Heights High, he played the series’ three main characters, and in Angry Boys the core sextet. That he can play the central character in every scene of every episode is a remarkable testament to his impersonation skills. But it can also be a tiring gimmick that highlights the fact that he writes every single one of his jokes for himself while using his co-stars, played by nonprofessional actors, as props. The effect is not unlike watching a version of The Office where Steve Carell goes to work at a real paper company as Michael Scott. (Controversially, Lilley has appeared in brown- and blackface on his shows.)

Though known as a media recluse in Australia, Lilley spoke to the Village Voice about what makes Ja’mie such a singular character, where she is today, and whether he still finds her physically attractive.

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By Rosie Lewis

AT almost 40, Chris Lilley admits it can be a little “weird” playing a narcissistic schoolgirl, but if the comedian gets his way he’ll be pushing the boundaries even further as he enters middle age.

The writer and actor will return to Australian television screens tonight in his latest show Ja’mie: Private School Girl, a six-part series that follows his infamously haughty creation of Hillford Girls Grammar school captain Ja’mie King, 17, through her final months of Year 12.

Lilley says it will be a relief to have the show on air, and is already toying with five ideas for his next project.

“There are millions of characters (I’d like to play) but (there’s) not enough time,” Lilley told The Australian. “I want to go even younger than Jonah (a Year 8 Tongan school boy from his previous series Angry Boys) and even older than Gran (grandmother of twins Daniel and Nathan Sims in the same series).”

“I always feel every show gets better and takes it up another level.It would be fun to just really push it. I love doing different races and genders, I would never limit myself.”

Lilley has been playing Ja’mie since 2005, when she debuted on local screens in his popular mockumentary We Can Be Heroes, as one of a group of Australian of the Year finalists.

Despite playing a range of characters, the actor says he’s never considered his own age a problem.

“I was playing Ja’mie and Jonah a few years ago and I don’t feel I’m physically frail now. I’m not contemplating ‘I’ll never be able to dance again’,” he said.

“I don’t think too far ahead, I’ve got a plan for the next six months but I’ll just do whatever I want (after that).”

Sydney had its first taste of an older and perhaps not-so-wiser Ja’mie earlier in the week when Lilley, in character, paraded around exclusive private girls’ schools on the city’s north shore taking Instagram photos.

As the creator of the show, Lilley spent little face-to-face time with teenage girls when researching for Ja’mie, but said he was “quite aware of that world” through personal experience (he went to Sydney’s prestigious Barker College), TV shows and Facebook.

Lilley will tour the show – a co-production with US network HBO – through American colleges in the coming months after it launches there in November, and will head to Britain next year. Previous series Summer Heights High (2007) and Angry Boys (2011) received wide acclaim from both audiences.

“Australian people like to think it’s their thing and they say ‘Americans don’t get it’ but they really do,” Lilley said.

“Maybe there’s something universal about comedy and also I think they (the Americans and British) love the idea that it’s this uniquely Australian thing and there are funny accents.”

Though Ja’mie’s character is callous and demanding, Lilley says he is fond of the part and joked he’d want any future daughter to resemble her.

“If (my daughter) looked like Ja’mie I’d be pretty happy so that’s something to look forward to,” he said. “I’d know how to deal with her, I wouldn’t put up with what Ja’mie gets away with.”

Ja’mie: Private School Girl premieres on ABC1 at 9pm tonight.

Source: The Australian

CHRIS Lilley channels his inner schoolgirl again to become Ja’mie King for a third time in Ja’mie: Private School Girl.

By Cameron Adams

CHRIS Lilley gets the same three things shouted at him on a near-daily basis.

The first is “Jonah”, his character from his TV hit Summer Heights High, a 13-year-old Tongan schoolboy with a penchant for drawing genitalia.

Next is “Nathan”, half of the teenage Sim twins from Angry Boys. Then “Sneaky Nuts”, a reference to the Sim twins’ trick of testicular photo bombing. Lilley is still sent photos of strangers’ junk poking out of their pants.

“Mr G”, the high school drama teacher who made his debut on Lilley’s Big Bite TV breakthrough a decade ago, is a rung lower down on the list of public shoutouts.

Rounding out the top five is Ja’mie King, the self-absorbed schoolgirl who first surfaced in We Can Be ­Heroes, then slummed it in Summer Heights High.

But it was Ja’mie that Lilley decided to revisit for his new six-part series – Ja’mie: Private School Girl – which focuses on the one character for the first time.

“There’s so many characters now it’s always going to disappoint people who have other preferences of character to revisit,” Lilley says. “But they just have to sit it out and wait for their favourite one. I go with what I love the most, which is usually what people love anyway.”

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