AP: Did you have a passion for the noir genre before doing the series?
Davalos: My grandfather is an actor (Richard Davalos, ‘East of Eden’), so I grew up watching all the films from that time period. I’ve always felt like I was born in the wrong era.
AP: How would you describe your character, Jasmine?
Davalos: She’s a woman of that specific generation and all that entails. During the war, we know that women took on a lot of men’s roles, and when the war ended and men came back, women were sent into a different space. I feel like Jasmine held on to that taste of individuality that she had.
AP: The period costumes are beautiful. Were they fun to wear?
Davalos: I miss it. I miss the garters, I miss the stockings, I miss every little element. I was given the choice, do you want to wear pantyhose, and I said no, no, no. I want to do the whole thing, top to bottom, the seamed stockings and all. Our costume designer, Gigi (Giovanna Ottobre-Melton), is an out-of-control wonder, and she tailor-made things for me, cut patterns from the 1940s and did it herself.
AP: What do you look for in a role, and did you worry about being typecast as a sci-fi or fantasy actor early on?
Davalos: We all do a few things that you kind of look back on and think, no one will remember that; that will be fine. It’s being young and finding your way with everything. The older I get, for me it’s about fear. If I read something and it scares the hell out of me, that’s what I want to do. If it’s a challenge and a massive risk and I’m going out on a limb … those are the ones I want. And they are few and far between. I don’t work very much because I’m very specific about what I want to do.
AP: What other projects have you done recently?
Davalos: I did a little film called ‘Nina,’ a small role. I played a French girl who was a nurse to Nina Simone. Zoe Saldana plays Nina.
AP: And what occupies you away from work?
Davalos: I’m such a hermit, I can’t tell you. I love my garden (in Los Angeles). I spend a lot of time there. I travel. My heart really is in New York, in France. I go back as often as I can afford to. I read like a crazy person, I play the piano and I’m a photographer. I always say my photography keeps me sane. I spend a lot of time in the darkroom. It’s a very solitary, quiet life when I’m not working.
AP: What music do you listen to?
Davalos: Sidney Bechet. I’m an old-timey gal. I have my granddad’s record collection, which I treasure, and my father’s — Rolling Stones to Sidney Bechet.