'Jury Duty' actress Cassandra Blair reveals behind-the-scenes details about the series.
Courtesy of Dynasty Productions

Jury Duty Star Cassandra Blair Reveals How She Saw Her Kids While "Sequestered"

The actress also shares a story that will make you love Ronald even more.

by Kaitlin Kimont

If you watched the Amazon Freevee series Jury Duty and found yourself feeling bad for poor, sweet, innocent Ronald, you were far from alone. Cassandra Blair, who plays Vanessa in the documentary-style comedy, tells Romper the entire cast was torn “all the time” about whether or not they were taking it too far. Especially while filming that brutally awkward episode when James Marsden had a hissy fit at the park and destroyed a birthday cake.

“I had so many conversations with my husband where I was like, ‘Babe, I don’t know if I can do this to a person. I don’t ever want to do something intentionally that would traumatize someone or make them feel betrayed,’” Blair says.

Blair credits Jury Duty executive producers Nicholas Hatton and Cody Heller with keeping the gang focused on the message they were trying to convey. “We are not trying to make somebody look silly. We’re not trying to capture them being their worst selves on their worst days,” she recalls them saying. “We’re trying to show a hero, and really kind of show the good in people.”

And that’s exactly what they did. What’s more, the cast walked away with many friendships. When things got tense on set, like when Ronald had to talk to his fellow juror’s cheating girlfriend, the cast let him vent and opened the door for authentic conversations. “That’s really a huge reason why we all are still friends with him, because we really bonded with him,” she shares. “We really had real conversations. We just did it in character, but the sentiments were real.”

The cast of Jury Duty “really bonded” with Ronald, according to Cassandra Blair, who plays Vanessa. Amazon Freevee

In fact, the cast remains so close that they have a Jury Duty group chat and playdates with their kids. Blair describes the experience “like being at summer camp.”

“We all are still friends, we text each other all the time,” Blair says. “At the end [of the series] it says that the cast keeps up with Ronald, which we do, but we also keep up with each other.”

“The cast was not only talented, they were solid people,” she adds. “And when you have good people going through something together, you just inevitably get tight. … The really, really lovely thing is that there were so many friendships that came out of this.”

Blair, a mother of three, and her husband Gryphon will often hang out with the other parents from the cast, including Ross Kimball, who plays the substitute teacher. “Back when we were shooting, it was like, ‘Hey, I have kids. You have kids. Let’s get our kids together and meet up.’” Indeed, while they were filming, they brought their kids to a Touch-A-Truck event in Los Angeles.

Cassandra Blair with her husband Gryphon (left), her stepson Richard (right), her son Johnathan, and baby boy Jody. Courtesy of Sierra Gulde Photography

How did they possibly swing that as sequestered jurors, you ask? Remember when Bailiff Nikki, played by Rashida Olayiwola, tells the jurors that they couldn’t get enough rooms for everyone at the same hotel? Well, Ronald, along with the other young, single folks without kids, went to one hotel together and the parents secretly went home to their families for the night.

“That’s how they did it. There were two vans,” Blair reveals. “I’m sure Ronald wasn’t thinking about it, but these were younger people. They’re not married, they don’t have kids, right? So you could sequester them to a hotel and it doesn’t greatly affect their real life. We’d all say, ‘Bye, see you tomorrow.’ And our group would get in our van and Ronald’s group would get in their van, and we would all drive off. Our van would just do a circle around the block and come back and take us to our cars and we’d all go home.”

The ruse worked thanks to showrunner Hatton being a “miracle worker of logistics,” according to Blair, and the hotel group keeping up the act while they hung out with Ronald after a long day in court, from just playing video games to setting up that now infamous “soaking” scene. “The guys at the hotel, they really did do double the work, truly,” she says.

Not only has Blair gained several lasting friendships and is now eligible for an Emmy for her role in Jury Duty, the once-in-a-lifetime experience has taught her something beautiful. “I’ll tell you what I take away: it’s [to] give people a chance. Give people a chance to be good. Give people a chance to be themselves,” she says, adding that “one of the most beautiful things that happens” in the show is Ronald’s friendship with Todd, the dude who wore “chair pants” to the courtroom, played by David Brown.

Todd, played by David Brown, was supposed to creep Ronald out with his “chants,” but it didn’t work. Prime Video Canada/ YouTube

“[His] character was supposed to be this creepy guy,” Blair shares. “It was written that he was a convicted felon… All of that was cut, so you guys don’t see it. But Ronald did. He had no interest in judging the person, judging Todd. In fact, he befriended him. Offered him advice. Gave him a makeover because he’s like, ‘I want him to come out of his shell.’”

“I try to really be an open person. I think I am,” she adds. “But he taught me a lesson.”

Blair also thinks Jury Duty serves as a reminder that there are, indeed, good people in the world “who will try to do the right thing, or at least do a caring thing.”

“Sometimes caring about people isn’t doing ‘the right thing.’ It’s just caring about them,” she says. “And I think if people walk away with that and that adjusts your attitude when you meet somebody new who doesn’t think or act like how you think they should and you can still receive them for who they are in that moment in time, I think that’s pretty awesome.”