Natacha Karam Q&A: Sniper sights set on a second season of The Brave

Photo Credit: The Brave/NBC, Lewis Jacobs Image Acquired from NBC Media Village
Photo Credit: The Brave/NBC, Lewis Jacobs Image Acquired from NBC Media Village /

Natacha Karam from The Brave talks about her role, her training, a renewal, and appreciation for the Armed Forces.

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Natacha Karam plays Jaz on The Brave. She’s the dead-eye sniper who made it through Ranger school and Delta Force selection. A key aspect of her interaction with the team is an acceptance of her as equal. She’s equally lethal and intelligent, and integral to the team’s tight-knit success.

Fans are enamored with the first season, and there has been a real push for a renewal. There is no doubt Natacha knows about the fans dedication, and their shared desire to keep The Brave going for future seasons.

Hidden Remote: First and foremost, are you aware of the fervent fan base calling for a renewal for The Brave?

Natacha Karam: Absolutely.

HR:  What do you think about how crazy it has gotten?

Natacha Karam: I think it’s incredible. It’s really inspiring that all these people have come together because they have a passion and an interest, and they’re determined to make a difference. And they actually believe they can. And I hope they can! With heads of networks, writing letters. It’s incredible.

HR: What about the Jaz character initially prompted you to audition for the role?

Natacha Karam: You know, I was up for a few military parts. A couple of different military parts that pilot season. What really stood out to me about Jaz was the fact that none of it was gender specific. It wasn’t “she’s the best shot because she’s a woman,” or “she’s on this team only because she’s a woman.” Another one I was reading where the woman had a child, and a lot of it was about her child. I didn’t want to get into that. I just wanted to be another person on the team.

Jaz was written in a way, as such a strong, independent, female character, who also has vulnerability, and isn’t some stereotypical butch war machine. I think she was a lot more complex. In one way, the whole thing had nothing to do with her womb, which is the biggest mistake I think other people make. And in another sense, it was like, “We’re not pretending you’re not a woman.” We are fully acknowledging that, using that the best of our advantage. So that’s what I appreciated about her the most.

The Brave
Photo Credit: The Brave/NBC, Lewis Jacobs Image Acquired from NBC Media Village /

HR: That may make you upset about the next line of questioning, but it’s because the fans have asked.

Natacha Karam: [Laughing]

HR: A good portion of The Brave fan base are looking forward to a romantic connection between Jaz and Dalton. What do you think of the #Jalton movement?

Natacha Karam: I love the #Jalton movement. I think it’s great. Most people have a decent…most people who are fanning over #Jalton also write little statements like, “Jaz doesn’t need anyone. She’s an independent woman.” But, if she should so desire to be with someone…I think it’s somewhat more complex that people want it to be. He is her superior, and they are working in a team together. Also, we don’t know what the writers are going to write, but we always knew it wasn’t going to happen in the first season. And it may never happen.

HR: In terms of military discipline and fraternization, do you believe a romance between the two characters would be problematic? Would it work?

Natacha Karam: I don’t really want to answer. I feel really reluctant to answer. Do I believe it would work? I mean…[flustered noise]. I can’t say I’m either for or against #Jalton. I’m floating in the middle, because I do think it’s important to show that these people do know how to follow rules and protocols. That is what they do. Above all else, they’re serving their country, not themselves. That’s the whole point, and what makes these people so incredible and elite. They wake up every day and decide to sacrifice themselves for people they’ve never even met before. So if you’re going to put your country before yourself, I think you can rein it in when [laughs]. It’s like, “Do I want to kiss this person? I don’t know. Hmm? Can I screw up this whole thing potentially?”

But then at the same time we’re all human, and because we are in Special Ops group, and in a team, it needs a little more flex…well, to a certain degree it’s a bit more flexible. We’re a bit more of a clandestine unit doing our own thing. And it’s just a case of is any decision permanent then? The moment you do something, do you have to commit to it forever? Is there any going back? Does it change anything?

It’s such a huge deal that I’d almost…I don’t know…I’m personally more interested in what could happen if they were forced into a situation (e.g. have to be undercover) somewhere, at some time, as a couple or something. I’m more interested in that kind of thing, where it’s part of the job. Then it’s like, “Oh dear! Is this real? Is this not? I can’t tell.” I think everyone loves tension.

HR: We know Jaz is a deadly sniper and multi-lingual, what other mission pertinent skills does she possess? What is the thing we haven’t seen yet? There are some Instagram photos and videos of you doing Muay Thai.

Natacha Karam: Actually, I’ve been in Thailand, but I didn’t do Muay Thai there. I do boxing. I just do Western boxing. I’m just a straight up boxer. I would love for Jaz…I mean, her hand to hand is good. That was written into the description of her character, which is why I was like, “Whoo! I’m good at this.”

So we haven’t actually seen her do that much hand to hand. So, I’d love to see her do more hand to hand combat stuff later.

What else? I think there’s more humor to be had. It’s the more humor side of things. I think I have proven, and the writers have proven, and Jaz has proven that’s she’s a bad ass. And now it’s like, “What else can we add?” What other layers can we add to this?

We all believe she’s a bad ass. That’s credible. We’re good to go. And now let’s see her funnier side. I mean, we do see her funny side. She’s always got little one-liners and quips that she gives to people. I think more into who she is, where she came from, her sense of humor, and then in terms of bad ass stuff, yeah, hand to hand combat would be great.

HR: On that note, Jaz mentions she was raised a New Yorker. Do you think that affects the fight in her, and how she goes about her mission?

Natacha Karam: Naturally I think…your history…well, the majority of your past imports who you are. What you decide to do with that is up to you. So growing up in a busy, crazy New York city, I mean, I think she’s got that New York city attitude. The “don’t take no s**t from no one”-thing. I think that influences [her]. When there’s a goal in sight, there’s a goal in sight. She’s on a path. Whatever way we get there, she’ll find a way. She’s B-Lining towards that. I think it’s her attitude that’s very New Yorky, compared to some of the other characters.

HR: It does feel that way.

Natacha Karam: She’s kind of sassy.

HR: Do you think you can pull off a legit NY accent?

Natacha Karam: [laughing] You know, originally I wanted that. We started with a bit of New York thing, and I just was like, “You know what…,” then the writers straight away were like, “Nah, we don’t need that.” It just sticks out. You’ve got full-on, kind of general America, and then you’ve got super aggressive New York. It doesn’t really work.

HR: I don’t think there’s a middle tier New York City. It’s just super aggressive New York City or the opposite.

Natacha Karam: Well, right, because then everyone else sounds…there’s kind of a general, wash-over America, then there’s super aggressive New York, or super Southern, so we decided against that.

HR: I just was wondering since you can do multiple languages and accents.

HR: Which scene was your most satisfying of the season?

Natacha Karam: You know, when people ask me that, one of my favorite things, and it felt really satisfying, was Mike Vogel’s, Dalton’s speech at the end of episode eleven. Where he gives a speech that experience comes at a pretty steep cost for people on our team. [He says,] “I don’t know if we have to have a dark side to do what we do, Jaz, but I know that I met mine.” That whole speech that he does. Just sitting there listening to him doing that was – out of all the crazy shit I got to do this season – listening to that speech, it felt like we were telling the stories that need to be told. And so that’s memorable.

Also, he’s a phenomenal actor, and I was totally lost in his performance as he was doing that. You know, [it was] that one moment where Dalton decides to give a speech and open up a little.

Veterans provide feedback on The Brave

Natacha Karam: There were so many vets who reached out like, “Those are my words. You’ve spoken for me.” And it felt that way when we were doing it. It felt like we were saying something really important. When it came out everyone loved that moment and felt the authenticity that we’ve all been trying to convey all season. Because all of us have the utmost respect for people who do this in real life. So that scene really sticks out for me.

And then in terms of a fun scene, what was really fun? All of Afghanistan, the fourth episode, was really fun. I mean, it was really hard work, but it was kind of real. We were in a prison. It wasn’t a fake prison. It was a real prison. I was in a guard tower. We were in sand dunes shooting blanks at each other. I mean, it was crazy! The scale of the whole thing felt enormous, and it felt very real. It kind of felt like we were – well, the guys definitely felt like they were kids playing when they were younger. Shooting, BA-BA-BA-BA-BOW! And then running around. I was blown away by the whole thing. That episode felt the most action packed, with really sore muscles at the end of the day type thing.

HR: Given that you received the script just after arriving in Los Angeles, how does your fresh perspective – along with Noah Mills as McG – benefit The Brave? What do you add that others don’t add?

I think everyone on our show…I think the normal answer is because we’re not disenchanted and other people are. But no one on our show was disenchanted with the industry anymore after getting this script. Everyone who’s involved – all the eight regulars on our show – absolutely loved the script, and felt so grateful to be in it.

Mike Vogel and Anne Heche were saying that, you know, because this was my first time being in an experience like this, they reminded me repeatedly it’s not always like this. They were like, “You’ve struck gold. This isn’t what it’s normally like to be on a series. Everyone isn’t always one huge big family.” And everyone doesn’t want to spend every waking moment of their days off with each other, like we did on this. They just said, for them, especially Mike, it’s one of the most memorable things, and one of the things he’s enjoyed the most out of anything he’s ever done. He’s done a lot of work on a lot of different projects. And, so, for me it was just a constant reminder.

So then I joked, “It’s kinda all downhill from here?” They’re like, “No!” But you know, we’ve struck gold with the relationships we have with our producers, and our executives, and amongst ourselves. It never really felt like there was a hierarchy, all just one big family, and we actually felt that way. We actually spent our free time together. It wasn’t just a work thing.

I think that’s the most amazing part of this. We all brought something in our own way, but I don’t think it was because we were new to the industry. Everyone was as eager as we were.

HR: The cast’s rigorous exercise and diet regimen is well documented. Apparently, Mike Vogel’s cheat meal is apparently poutine. What’s your cheat meal?

Natacha Karam: What’s my cheat meal? Ohhh! What’s my cheat meal? The first thing I remember cheating with on The Brave…I didn’t cheat the whole time I was in Albuquerque. And then I came out to L.A., and my best friend was here from London, and he really wanted a burger. So I took him to this burger place I read reviews of, and I was gonna just sit there and watch him eat. Then I was like, “Uh, no, I’ve gotta do it.” It was a really intense burger. It had a crispy cheese wheel in it. And then ketchup, but it was dehydrated in a square. They call it ketchup leather.

Normally it’s sweet stuff, but that was the first thing – oh my God, I’m just thinking about it now and my mouth is drooling. Normally it’s sweet stuff, because I went straight from there to another place called “Milk,” where I had an ice cream sandwich with macarons on either side. Instead of biscuits. It was amazing.

HR: Favorite Disney princess Jasmine? True or false?

Natacha Karam: False.

HR: Oh! I thought it was true because of your post singing the Jasmine song.

Natacha Karam: No. That was just a fun moment in Morocco. I had that song stuck in my head. And then I realized she was called “Jas” and I was called Jaz. Then we started the whole thing taking videos of me singing and holding guns.

HR: Are there plans to sing in future seasons?

Natacha Karam: Oh God I don’t think so. I don’t see how they’d have Jaz breaking into song.

HR: There are a lot of down moments with beer!

Natacha Karam: Around the fire? I don’t think Jaz is a Kumbaya kind of girl. I have a feeling Amir is the most likely character to be singing. There’s something about him. Or Preach! Preach singing gospel maybe.

HR: Right?

Natacha Karam: I think Jaz would literally be the last person to get up and sing out of anyone.

HR: What do you hope to see from Jaz in future seasons?

The Brave
Photo Credit: The Brave/NBC, John Britt Image Acquired from NBC Media Village /

Natacha Karam: I’d like the audience to get a little bit more in her back story. Understanding where she came from, and what makes her who she is. I’d love to see more bad ass moments. More iconic moments, like when she’s up in the guard tower and shot the guy who crossed the trip wire without turning around.

And some more, cool, iconic, strong woman moments. Also, I’d like to see her potentially connect with another female. We haven’t really seen how she engages with women yet. Her and Hannah (Sofia Pernas) don’t really talk. Hannah’s over in DIA. And then there are no other females on the team. So it would be interesting to see what she’s like when she’s not around that much testosterone.

HR: Do you have any other projects on the horizon?

Natacha Karam: Nothing set in stone. I’m working on it. It’s hard.

HR: No hints?

Natacha Karam: Nope. People have to take you in second position if you’re still in a TV series. Basically because we don’t know about The Brave season two, any TV thing that shoots in and around that time has to offer you a part knowing they’re in second position to The Brave, and they might lose you. That makes the time a little less busy for all of us. We’ll see. There’s lots of potentials.

HR: I guess that’s unfortunate for you, but fortunate for all of The Brave fans.

Natacha Karam: Here’s hoping there is a season two! I would love a season two.

Next: Join the fight for season 2!

HR: There will be. Have faith.

Natacha Karam: I have faith. I do. Especially with our proactive fans. Wow.

A big thanks goes out to Natacha for setting aside interview time. The Brave is currently between seasons, and awaits news of a renewal for Season 2.