Jaime King's career has included turns as a model, TV host, and actress, most recently on the new ABC drama My Generation. But one of her most remarkable feats was co-creating perhaps the only anti-cancer PSA that has ever managed to be funny. (It involves King and other young actresses copping feels for a cause.) King talked to TVGuide.com about her bold approach to the fight against cancer and her work as an official ambassador for Stand Up to Cancer. The 31-year-old, who hosts VH1's Scream Queens and voices Cartoon Network's Star Wars: The Clone Wars, also talked about what it's likes to play a high school cheerleader on My Generation. The Stand Up to Cancer special airs Friday at 8/7c on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and other outlets.
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TVGuide.com: Why did you want to get involved with Stand Up to Cancer?
Jaime King: For me, there have been many people in my life that have been affected by cancer. One of my closest friends and family members had Hodgkin's Lymphoma and, at the same time, my writing partner's godmother, aunt — pretty much every woman in her family was diagnosed with breast cancer. It's something that I've seen rampant in my life, in my friends and my family. ... I feel there's no reason why we can't take greater steps to fighting cancer and finding cures for cancer with all the technology and the research that we can do.
TVGuide.com: How did you become an ambassador?
King: For me, I just felt like I wanted to use any kind of abilities or talents I had to really help with this initiative. My writing partner, Taryn Southern, and I had written some really funny, edgy scripts for PSAs about fighting breast cancer. ... Our first PSA for Touch a Tit, Save a Tat was directed by Steve Carr (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) and we had Minka Kelly, Alyson Hannigan, some really hilarious actresses. It was just a really wonderful experience. We wanted to show that we can talk about cancer in a very light-hearted but funny manner to bring awareness especially to the younger demographic. Stand Up to Cancer is fantastic because it's not just about fighting breast cancer, it's about fighting all cancers. Taryn and I intend to write PSAs for all different types of cancer to bring awareness and team up with great directors to do that.
Deschanel, King, Hannigan and more cop a feel for a cause
TVGuide.com: What PSA are you working on next?
King: There's one that we were thinking of doing that's actually not very funny, it's more dramatic. My husband, Kyle Newman, is a great director and that's one we were going to attach him to direct. That one is generally just about all kinds of cancers. It's really intense and really dramatic. I would like to use someone like Jessica Alba, who is a good friend of mine. ... It's the idea that anyone can be chased with the threat of cancer. ... We write a lot of funny stuff but I thought it would be interesting to write something to show that no one's really immune to it.
TVGuide.com: How will you be involved in the special?
King: I'm going to be doing as much press as I can to bring awareness to what we're doing. The most important thing that people should know is that the phone lines opened Sept. 7 and live agents are standing by (1-888-90-STAND). It's a really tough economic climate right now and what's important is that people know that anything at all makes a difference. All of it really adds up. I'm currently filming a show called My Generation down in Texas, so I'm going to try to do everything that I can to get back to L.A. to actually do the telethon. ... So if I can't be there, I'm going to be on the phone talking to every single person that I can. The work begins before the telethon.
TVGuide.com: What is your new show, My Generation, about?
King: My Generation is a mockumentary about nine kids in their senior year of high school in the year 2000. They film our hopes, our dreams and our aspirations and then they come back 10 years later to do a 'where are they now' kind of thing. Each kid is stuck into a stereotype that we all know, like the nerd, the jock, the beauty queen, and you really get to see that those stereotypes are quite an illusion. ... The wonderful thing that I love about My Generation is that they're really pushing boundaries of how we incorporate current events with television. Also, we do a lot of improv, a lot of mixed media. We shoot things on iPhones, on flip cameras and digital cameras and we use our own photos and home videos. It's really a very powerful show for me personally because it's really funny and really dramatic at the same time. I've done a lot of movies and I've never worked on such a rich character. ... It's also very profound because we deal with things like 9/11 and the oil spill and things that we all distinctly remember.
TVGuide.com: How has it been shooting a mockumentary-style series?
King: It's amazing. It's quite liberating. ... As an actor, you have to totally think about the scene differently. Imagine you're a real person and you have a documentary crew following filming you. The way that you would act in a situation would be different. If you ran into a boy that you liked with a camera crew, there's a lot more covering. The camera crew is always a part of our lives, but at the same time, if we don't want it there, it's more sneak shots.
TVGuide.com: What has it been like to play your character in high school and ten years later?
King: That part I love because that's fascinating to me about humanity and who we are. For me, personally, I was a totally different person ten years ago. It's really fun playing an 18-year-old. I play a high school cheerleader so I've been spending a lot of time with 18-year-old cheerleaders running routines. Their consciousness is so different; the way they think about things and look at things and talk. Everything that comes out of their mouths is to impress the people around them. ... It's fun to put the hair extensions in. I laugh because I'm the only 31-year-old wearing a frickin cheerleading costume.
Stand Up to Cancer's TV special airs Friday at 8/7c on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and other outlets. To donate, call 1-888-90-Stand (1-888-907-8263) or visit standup2cancer.org. My Generation premieres Thursday, Sept. 23 at 8/7c on ABC.