What if we all cared enough to help save our animals? Recently, Apple TV+ unveiled a new family series, Jane, from Emmy winner J.J. Johnson and the Jane Goodall Institute, to answer that question. Here’s a synopsis per Apple TV+ Press: 

“Jane, a 9-year-old budding environmentalist on a quest to save endangered animals. Using her powerful imagination, Jane takes her best friends, David and Greybeard the chimpanzee, on epic adventures to help protect wild animals all around the world because, according to her idol Dr. Jane Goodall: ‘Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, can they be saved.'”

I had the privilege of chatting with one of the show’s stars, Tamara Almeida, about her role in Jane, what audiences can expect, why a show like this is important and more. 

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This interview is condensed for length and clarity. 

Melody McCune: We at GGA love a good origin story. What’s your origin story? How did you get into acting?

Tamara Almeida: When I was six years old, my dad took me to The Phantom of the Opera for my birthday. I remember being amazed at what they could do with their voices and bodies to tell the story. It was moving. It filled me with so much joy. I didn’t know you could do that as a job until I got older and I was watching a lot more TV. 

I grew up in a very low-income situation [with] a single mom. It was not feasible. But then I started making my own money and taking acting classes, for fun, on the side. Eventually, I realized this was something I could do as a career, but I knew I would have to leave my job and corporate life. 

David, Jane and Maria wear winter coats and hats while standing in a room in the Apple TV+ series Jane.

Mason Blomberg, Ava Louise Murchison and Tamara Almeida in “Jane,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

MM: Let’s talk about Jane. Can you tell me what it’s about and how you got involved with the project?

TA: Jane is a new live-action show for nine to 12-year-olds. It’s a mission-driven show based on the work of Jane Goodall.

The protagonist, my daughter, Jane Garcia, is driven and focused on saving endangered animals and trying to save the world. We follow her every episode with a different endangered animal or species. We focus on how she’s trying to humanize those animals, for the adults in the episodes and everybody else as the audience, so we can empathize with these animals and save our planet. It’s a really incredible show.

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I ended up auditioning with our little girl, Ava Louise Murchison, when we had the final callback. We have a lot of chemistry. It just felt like the right fit. Because of her, now I want to have kids. This little girl changed my life. 

MM: What do you hope viewers take away from Jane?

TA: That we can change the planet. It’s simpler than we think. It might just be in the everyday. It might just be recycling or even becoming aware of these small choices we make that have such a significant impact on our planet. I hope it’ll just make people a little bit more self-aware when it comes to their choices. 

MM: Describe the show using three words.

TA: Energizing. Magical. Environmental.

MM: What can audiences expect when they watch the show?

TA: It will be like nothing they’ve ever seen. There’s nothing that we have for this age group. The team behind it, J.J. Johnson, was able to create something wild. It’s stunning and immersive. I think it’s surprising.

MM: Do you have any favorite moments from your time on set?

TA: The biggest thing for me was working with the kids. The kids are phenomenal. Especially Ava Louise — I spent so much time with her. I feel like I’m watching her grow up, and I feel like her aunt. We’ve become so close. We ended up traveling together. That was incredible. Being able to see different parts of the world and spending time with what feels like a family. It didn’t feel like work.

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MM: What’s your favorite part of the acting process?

TA: It’s the developing of a character. And thinking about why someone does what they do and how that materializes in such a different way for each person, depending on culture, where they’re living, what their surroundings are and who they’re talking to. It’s the process itself that excites me the most.

Professional photo of actress Tamara Almeida, who stars in Jane, smiling for the camera while wearing a red blouse and sitting on a leather armchair.

Pictured: Tamara Almeida

MM: What else is on the horizon for you, career-wise?

TA: I shot another movie, What We Do for Love, one of those fun romantic comedies, right after we finished shooting Jane. There’s another unannounced project where I lend my voice to one of our series regulars. That was really fun. 

MM: Have you watched anything interesting lately?

TA: I was very taken by The White Lotus.

MM: Name your top five favorite projects. 

TA: My Brilliant Friend is one of my favorite TV shows. Fleabag. I May Destroy You. I watch a lot of TV. In the Mood for Love. I saw it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I have not been able to stop thinking about that film. Then, Titanic. A classic. I always go back to it. 

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MM: Thank you, Tamara, for chatting with me!

TA: Thank you, Melody! 

You can follow Tamara on Instagram (@tamararubyalmeida). Season 1 of Jane is now streaming on Apple TV+. 

This article was originally published on 5/8/23. 

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Melody McCune
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