Everything’s coming up Jasmin Savoy Brown. With a film (Scream), a podcast for Netflix (The Gay Agenda), and a new single and music video all dropping this month, the actress is popping up everywhere we look. One might say the universe timed it perfectly to keep us in the know about the 27-year-old’s ever-evolving talents, of which she has many. One might also say that she’s in the midst of a major moment. Both are certainly true. Just don’t call it an overnight success story.
Brown has been putting in the work for over a decade, steadily building a desirable Hollywood résumé, working with the likes of Shonda Rhimes, and starring in big TV hits such as The Leftovers and her most recent Showtime series Yellowjackets. And with three more projects in the pipeline, she’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
When we meet virtually on a gloomy December afternoon, she’s cuddled up on her couch in a gray sweatshirt emblazoned with Bernie Sanders’s now-infamous Inauguration Day photo. The cozy piece lends itself to being a perfect conversation starter, but we soon segue into the important topic at hand: her project Scream, which hits theaters January 14. The fifth installment of the bloody franchise takes place 25 years after the original murders. Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette are back as their beloved characters, but at the center of Ghostface’s wrath is a new cast of of-the-moment 20-somethings, including Brown, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, and Mason Gooding. Much like the films that came before it, it’s sure to be an instant cult classic. In fact, Brown knows so. “This is a group of people who very much respect the legacy of the films and the legacy of Wes [Craven] and respect and honor him and the fans,” she tells us. “Everyone will be very happy. I can guarantee that.”
Brown was only 2 years old when the first Scream movie hit theaters in 1996. In fact, it wasn’t until after she booked the job that she finally watched the films for the first time. “I thought I was auditioning for Scary Movie, which I had also never seen,” she says. “I didn’t know what was going on. I was just happy to have an audition and then happy to have a job. And then I got there, and we started having all of these meetings, and I started watching the films and doing research and was like, ‘Oh, I just joined a really huge thing. Cool, cool, cool.’ I’m glad I didn’t know that ahead of time, or I might not have been so chill.”
There is a certain pressure that comes with bringing back such an iconic film franchise so many years later, but the response to the new movie has been overwhelmingly positive so far, especially for Brown’s character Mindy Meeks-Martin. Fans quickly noticed the “little gay pin” she wears in the film’s promo shots. It’s a subtle nod to Mindy’s queer identity, which Brown is excited about showcasing on-screen. With so much secrecy surrounding the project, she can’t tell us much more, other than that Mindy has an older brother (played by Gooding) and is “smart and funny.”
While our attempts to get more info out of Brown go unanswered, she instead regales us with delightful stories from set, like the time Arquette—a certified Bob Ross painting instructor—led the cast in a workshop of how to paint in the style of Ross. “Now, each of us have this painting we did, which is just so random and specific and so David,” she laughs. There were also the countless nights of just goofing off and cracking each other up between takes that made some days feel more like they were making a hilarious rom-com instead of a horror film. “This is my favorite cast that I’ve ever worked with,” she says. “I consider these people family. I love them in an unbelievable way.”
A close second for Brown in the love department would have to be music. It’s been a major part of the actress’ life since the age of 4 when she was singing in the Oregon Children’s Choir. “I have been a closeted musician forever,” she says, revealing she’s been playing the piano and guitar and writing songs for as long as she can remember. While acting has been Brown’s “primary partner” for most of her adult life, she finally found the confidence to take her relationship with music “to the next level” last year. She wrote a ton in quarantine following a COVID breakup. The music was practically pouring out of her, but it probably wouldn’t have seen the light of day if it weren’t for her close friend and fellow musician Liz Vice. She convinced, or “forced” rather, Brown to start performing on Instagram Live, which later led to a small Zoom concert and then a music video for Brown’s first single “Crash.”
“It’s scary because it’s my words, whereas when I’m acting it’s someone else’s words. It’s someone else’s costume. I think there is nothing more revealing and more vulnerable than someone’s songwriting,” Brown says. “Someone once said to me that singing publicly into a microphone is more vulnerable than sex, and I agree because there are ways to hide, but not with your own music.”
This month, Brown is releasing her next single alongside a new music video. As for what we can expect from the upcoming song, “very queer, very gay, very hot,” she tells us.
And then there’s the matter of her Netflix podcast, The Gay Agenda, that she co-hosts with producer, nonbinary actor, comic, and playwright Liv Hewson. It marks the streamer’s first LGBTQ+ podcast and seeks to spotlight unique and joyful queer stories. “I really enjoy podcasts and listening to them, and I have a lot of really cool gay friends who are famous and doing cool shit,” she says. “So much queer content is sad. It always ends in tragedy, or we’re talking about ‘Oh, when I came out, my family left me.’ I just wanted a space where we could tune in every week and hear happy, successful, healthy queer people talk about their lives.” The first season features eight 45-minute episodes released weekly and kicks off with a conversation with nonbinary actor Bex Taylor-Klaus of Arrow and The Killing.
With so many exciting projects in motion, we wonder how Brown is personally celebrating. “I’m ready to have some fun. I want to go to the parties. I want to go do the schmoozing, get the gift bags. I just want to have a good time. That’s my plan,” she says. Let the Brown takeover begin.
Scream is in theaters now. Plus, catch new episodes of The Gay Agenda wherever you get your podcasts!