Chicago Fire season 6: Eloise Mumford talks Hope’s story arc and shower scenes with Taylor Kinney


Image credit: Chicago Fire/NBC, Elizabeth Morris Acquired via NBC PR

You’ll know Eloise Mumford as the sneaky Hope Jacquinot in Chicago Fire and as Kate Kavanaugh in the Fifty Shades franchise. She talks with Hidden Remote exclusively about her time on Chicago Fire and how different it was to her previous roles.

Eloise Mumford is fast becoming a household name. Starring as Kate Kavanaugh in Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels, the American actress is gearing up for the promotional aspects for the last movie. This is right off the bat of her appearance in Chicago Fire, as the initially sweet but trouble-making Hope Jacquinot.

While Hope certainly isn’t one of those characters you’re meant to love, the sketchier character brought in some life after a few story arcs that have been a little too obvious. I had the privilege to talk to Mumford about her role, just how welcoming the One Chicago family are and the jealousy of certain shower scenes. For the record, Eloise is definitely nothing like her wicked and scheming character.

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Hidden Remote: What was it like jumping into the show as a newbie? I mean, Chicago Fire is on its sixth season and that isn’t always going to be easy to feel like the new girl.

Eloise Mumford: Before I went to Chicago, everyone in L.A. who I’d spoken to about it said incredibly nice things to save about the cast and crew. I couldn’t tell if that was because people were just excited about me doing it and were just saying nice things, but I got there and found out it was true. They are one of the most [friendly] groups of people I’ve ever worked with. They’re just like a total family and they were so supportive and welcoming.

It’s the sixth season and it was the first episode back. They all love each other so much and it was like being the new kid at summer camp that everyone else has been going to every year. They were so happy to see each other and you could tell there was a lot of love to go around, but at the same time they went out of their way to make me feel really welcome and like part of the group.

That’s really wonderful on a personal level, but it’s also conducive for great work. As a new person, you want to be able to feel you can play in the same way as if you’ve been doing something for a while. Hopefully it all shows up on-screen.

Hidden Remote: It does. It’s so good to hear that it is a family off-screen, but on-screen they portray that part of the firehouse so well.

Mumford: Yeah, it really is honestly. It’s so much fun.

I had that feeling and similar experience that Hope has, where she witnesses what Brett has there and is like “Oh man, I want to be a part of this!” I had that same sort of feeling. They are just so great to each other and you can tell there’s so much love to go around.

Obviously, I’m not the same as Hope. I didn’t do awful things and weasel my way into the group, but there is that vibe on-screen and off-screen that it’s a family.

Image credits:

Photos: Magdalena Niziol

Makeup: Maria Ortega

Hair: Takashi Yusa

Nails: Elizabeth Garcia

Stylist: Oscar Montes De Oca

Photo Assistant: Marcus Cardona

Courtesy of Portrait PR

Hidden Remote: You’ve just mentioned how Hope weaseled her way in. What was it like playing her and that type of character?

Mumford: I had a blast. I was really drawn to this character and I’d really wanted, for a while, to do something a little darker and have more trouble. I played a lot at the beginning  with her character the way you can sense something is off, but she seems so genuine, kind and fun that you keep doubting yourself in the interpretation that she has something up her sleeves.

So at the beginning I really focused on building a character that on the outside looked like a lot of fun and who is the life of the party and who everyone wants to be around. Then in private moments had that mask fade away, because I think she tries very hard to uphold that mask and so when people aren’t looking and she finally gets to show the cracks. She’s a very unhappy person who’s had a lot of trouble in her life and who has had success in the past with not playing things fair and with cheating people, basically. That’s worked for her in the past, using those tools.

I had so much fun playing the duality in her and how she’s so front-footed with her sexuality and flirtiness. That behavior has been rewarded in the past. While it’s not something she feels incredibly proud about, she’s been rewarded for and playing that energy was really interesting. And seeing the costs when other people aren’t around

Hidden Remote: The duality was definitely there. You had no idea what sort of trouble she was going to cause. You sort of knew there was something there, and it wasn’t until (I think) the third episode that we finally found out that she’d stolen from her last employer. Did you know all that was coming or was it something that played out over a few scripts you received?

Mumford: I knew when they originally pitched the character to me what the arc was and I had a really great conversation with [showrunner] Derek Hoff about what Hope’s journey would be. That’s always fun as an actor. You aren’t just along for the ride and you get to craft an arc.

I didn’t know all the specifics, but the general arc. I got to play with the planting of the clues early on as she’s being introduced early on.

Image credit: Chicago Fire/NBC, Elizabeth Morris Acquired via NBC PR

Hidden Remote: So that definitely helped creating those seeds of doubt.

Mumford: Yeah, exactly. And we all know those people in life who might be nice, but they do things that are so untrustworthy. Those people who really endear themselves to you, so I wanted to sow the seeds of doubt but also endear myself to the people around me because, if someone is sketchy from the beginning they won’t have the success in duping people, so I wanted to play with that.

Hidden Remote: Most of your scenes were with Kara [Kilmer] and Taylor [Kinney]. What was it like working with them?

Mumford: It was so much fun. I can’t speak highly enough of the two of them. Kara and I got on incredibly well. I was actually back in Chicago on Friday for a little bit of additional shooting and it was the most joyous reunion. I adore her.

Hidden Remote: It was like the two of you had known each other for years.

Mumford: I was just about to say that! It felt like we’d known each other for a very long time and that’s a huge credit to her open heart and her willingness to embrace a new actor coming in. I just had a blast working with her. She’s a tremendous human!

And Taylor was so fun. I had heard a lot of great things about him before I went to Chicago and I was so happy to see that it was all true. And it’s always funny meeting somebody and then having to do a shower scene with them. I got so many jealous text messages from friends back home when that episode aired. It was living out many people’s desires.

Hidden Remote: Ours too!

Mumford: But he was just a joy to work with. He was totally fun, great, and down to earth. So much fun.

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Hidden Remote: With Miranda [Rae Mayo] as well. You had so much conflict with Stella.

Mumford: Yeah and that was funny, because off-screen we got along so well. We would crack each other up. I made jokes about “tell me when you can feel the daggers in your back coming out of my eyes.” That sort of thing. We would really go at each other.

It was so passive aggressive until it got outright aggressive. At the beginning it starts so subtly, as you see conflict start. And then they would call cut and we’d be hugging. That was fun and she’s great.

Hidden Remote: Please tell me we get to see more of you.

Mumford: It will be interesting to see… we’ll see what happens!

Image credits:

Photos: Magdalena Niziol

Makeup: Maria Ortega

Hair: Takashi Yusa

Nails: Elizabeth Garcia

Stylist: Oscar Montes De Oca

Photo Assistant: Marcus Cardona

Courtesy of Portrait PR

Hidden Remote: How has it been going between Hope and Kate in the Fifty Shades franchise? Have you had a lot of break in between the movies and the show?

Mumford: Yeah, so we have completely shot the second and third movies. We did them together last year, so it’s been a minute since I’ve been shooting. Now the publicist side is ramping up, because the third movie comes out in February. There’s been a fair amount of anticipation for that. I’m so thrilled to be part of that trilogy.

Believe it or not, it’s been four years of my life, which is amazing. I was just looking at the date from when I was cast, so it’s been a long time! We all get along so well. Similarly I had a wonderful experience with the cast and crew of that. I feel very lucky, because that’s not always the case in projects. So to have a couple projects in a row that have been so great off-screen has been a joy.

I’m excited for it to come out. Kate and Hope are very different characters, so it’s been fun to play with that.

Hidden Remote: Is there anything up next that you have planned?

Mumford: Yeah, I’m leaving next week to go work on an indie in New York, which will be really great. I haven’t released what it is yet, but I’m excited to do it. And I’m really excited to return to New York. I went to college there.

It’s going to be completely different, too. It’s something really small, but I love movies like that. I have completely different experiences with small and big productions, but they all have great things about them.

Hidden Remote: So final question for you. If you could do anything, past, present, future, what would your dream role be?

Mumford: Oh wow! I’ve been thinking a lot about a play A Doll’s House [a three-arc play written by Henrik Ibsen] and that role would be so fun. Nora is an incredible character and as we’re facing…the conversation of feminism and what it means to be a woman is such a huge thing right now in our society and that play really hones in on the subjects. I think doing that would be so much fun. That’s a total pipe dream. If someone wants to make that movie, I’d be so psyched.

Hidden Remote: So we just need to get the word out now.

Mumford: That’s right!

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Catch Eloise Mumford for Hope’s exit storyline in Chicago Fire on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 10/9c on NBC.

Have you enjoyed Hope’s arc on Chicago Fire? Are you ready for Kate to return in Fifty Shades Freed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.