Chris Lilley on 'Ja'mie: Private School Girl,' quiche, and 'Summer Heights High' fans

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Are you at all like Ja’mie? How are you most like her and most different?
Obviously I’m very different form her, and it’s really funny on set because I have to be myself when I’m directing people and then all of a sudden I just switch to Ja’mie. But I guess I’m very bossy when I’m running things. I mean, I’m also a massive pushover, too. It’s probably most noticeable in the relationship with the girls who play Ja’mie’s prefects. I would hang out with him. Not as any kind of method thing, but I would unintentionally half be a bitch when I’m around them. They’ve kind of gotten to know me as Ja’mie. And then it was funny because at the wrap party for the show, we were all hanging out, and the girls were like, “It’s cool seeing you as yourself, but we really wish Ja’mie was here. It’s just not right that she’s not here.” They really grew to love Ja’mie and were sad to not have her around. It’s so strange!

When you’re shooting, it looks like you have extras who can keep a straight face, but I bet you get a lot of ruined takes.
Yes! It’s hard, and you have to be on to it when you’re shooting because if they start smiling, we have to get them out of the way. It is an issue with editing. But also, I’m one of the biggest culprits of smiling and laughing during takes, so I can’t complain too much. I kind of trigger them off. It’s all scripted but then as soon as we do a take, I’ll throw in an extra line that’ll make the girls laugh, I don’t know why. So it’s not entirely their fault!

Is there a fear that Ja’mie might not work in a large dose?
The complaint I’ve been getting on the show is that people said the episodes are too short. I think that’s a pretty cool compliment that people want more. And I don’t really have that fear with Ja’mie. I do worry about certain things to do with the size, but I have a surplus of ideas for her so I’ve already kind of whittled it down and had to cut things off.

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but there are commenters on YouTube who actually think Ja’mie is a real person.
Oh, no! I don’t read any of that stuff. I never knew that. That’s hilarious. Back when I first started, people definitely thought she was real, and I used to call radio stations and do interviews and abuse callers and stuff, and they’d be like, “Who are you, who do you think you are?!”

There’s a great video of you calling in to Katy Perry on the radio. She’s a big fan. Have you been surprised by other celebrity fans?
Yeah, I’m always surprised. I feel weird naming celebrities because I feel like a dickhead, but it always surprises me, and some really big-name people have followed me on Twitter or just declared that they love it, and it’s really freaky. I wish I had a list of people but I can’t think of anyone. Katy Perry would be the biggest, the one that really talks about it. She does impersonations of me in her concerts in Australia. And she was really good in that interview because she just knows the series backwards. Oh, the Kardashians. I’ve been contacted by Rob, who was really into Angry Boys, and Kylie Jenner, who was really into Angry Boys as well, and Will Smith’s son, who’s going out with Kylie.

Now that Ja’mie is wrapped, are you working on another spin-off?
There’re always new things in the works. I’m not allowed to say. There’s definitely a new project, but I’ll get in trouble if I say. I think they’re going to announce something soon.

Okay, so since Americans love your show, what American pop culture do you love?
I watch a lot of reality stuff or like… this is weird but I like real estate shows. There’s one called Property Envy [where] they just sit around talking about real estate, and then Million Dollar Decorators. And I love Million Dollar Listing: LA and Million Dollar Listing: New York. I really like Jeff Lewis and Flipping Out and Interior Therapy. I don’t know why I’m obsessed with American real estate and renovation.

Ja’mie: Private School Girl premieres Sunday, Nov. 24 at 10:30 p.m. ET on HBO.


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