Yvette Monreal Previews JSA Training, Team Dynamic

The Justice Society of America is back in business — sort of. In last week’s episode of Stargirl, Pat Dugan begrudgingly accepted his stepdaughter Courtney’s new team, which includes Yolanda Montez as Wildcat, Beth Chapel as Dr. Mid-Nite and Rick Tyler as Hourman. However, according to Wildcat actor Yvette Monreal, their very first training session in “Shiv, Part One” doesn’t go off without a hitch.

Speaking to CBR, Monreal offered some insight into the JSA’s dynamic. She detailed just why she found the character so relatable, as well as how she figured out she was testing for Yolanda during the audition process. She also teased their first training session, revealed her favorite memory from set and more ahead of “Shiv, Part One’s” debut on The CW this evening.

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CBR: Tell me a little about how you landed the role.

Yvette Monreal: I got the role because I went into Rich Delia’s casting office. It was a submission through my agents and I went in, auditioned. I got a callback a month later, but a month later, I was already in Spain shooting a movie. So I had to do a Skype call with Geoff Johns, and we talked about the role a little bit. He wanted me to retape it, just so that I could test for it. So I retaped it with a Bulgarian casting director, and we got the part! I got an email at four in the morning, saying I got the part.

Initially, I was auditioning for Cammy. I didn’t know it was Yolanda Montez, but we kind of figured it out with the dummy sides, because they had mentioned Wildcat. I was like, “It has to be a superhero! DC Comics!” So, I just wanted to get specific with this. So I tried to do my homework on it and it went well. They liked me!

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Which aspect of Yolanda’s character do you relate to the most?

Yolanda! She is honestly like my twin. You know, it’s so funny. I just talked to a few other people about this. The family aspect, it plays a little true to how I grew up. My mom was very, very traditional. There was no room for a screw up, you know what I mean? My mom actually said, she was like, “I really like that they portrayed the family this way, because it’s very accurate to how I grew up, and it’s very accurate to how I feel raising my children.” And I was like, “Yeah, I agree!”

Because there was a little bit of backlash on the family and how it was depicted, but I feel like it’s important to recognize that. Of course, some families aren’t like Yolanda’s family, but some are and it’s really important to show that, because some just — you know, just bluntly stated — they are like that. I don’t know; I thought that was a really, really important thing to discuss. Some people think it’s outdated, or it’s just not relevant to today’s times anymore, but I feel like it very well could be, you know?

So yeah, Yolanda growing up a little bit. My mom still gave me love and attention. She wasn’t too hard on me. I did my best. I did have As and Bs, and I was in Associate Student Body (ASB). Yeah, so I did pep rallies and stuff like that. I very much was like Yolanda Montez, like the vice president and stuff like that. I wasn’t the class president, but I was very, very involved in school. So I can relate to her in that aspect, too.

And then just going through that whole thing with Henry — I wouldn’t say I went through that exactly, but I understand the emotions that she went through. I think that’s why it was so easy to connect to Yolanda when I did audition, because a lot of what she went through emotionally, I can relate to. I never showed nudes of myself, but there were other hardships that I went through.

And her loyalty is like none other. I feel the same way with my friends and my family. Loyalty is so important to me, and I’m the type of person who can trust someone until they give me a reason not to trust them. I feel like Yolanda kind of did the same thing, and she had to learn the hard way. So there’s just so many levels on where I understand where she’s coming from, and I think it just makes it that much easier to just portray her in a very authentic and honest way.

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In your opinion, which other JSA member has the most interesting dynamic with Yolanda?

So I would say I really, really love Beth Chapel’s character, because it’s so funny. I’m very questionable about Beth Chapel. I’m like, “Really? Why did you recruit her?” But then she does little things to impress me. I think she’s the heightened version of Courtney Whitmore with her happiness and excitedness, and I feel like Rick and I have a similar dynamic where he’s kind of angry and I come from a place that’s very similar.

This week, we’re going to a glimpse of some JSA training. How does that go for her?

That’s super exciting, right? Because now we have Pat on our side. Pat has accepted us as the JSA. You know, I think he sees that we’re a little in over our heads, and he tries to train us. He shows us just the importance of teamwork and and the dangers of the ISA. But things don’t go quite as well as planned. Yeah, I think, right now, Pat’s on board. He’s ready to roll. We go with him to maybe train a little bit and learn a little bit about the ISA. But things don’t go as planned, we’ll leave it at that.

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What does Yolanda bring to the team, in a way that distinguishes her from the other characters?

Yolanda, I think, was scouted out because of her athletic ability. She’s an amazing boxer. She is a fan of Ted Grant and the boxing community. Her family, in general, loves fighting. So I think that was a huge moment for Courtney and why she wanted to recruit Yolanda. Yeah, that was a choice for Courtney, whereas Beth Chapel kind of came across the goggles and then Rick Tyler is the son of Rex Tyler.

So I feel like the thing that is different from the other characters is that Courtney chose Yolanda Montez, whereas it was very different for the other characters. Because one was the father, and the other one, Beth Chapel, came across the goggles. So it’s like if I was chosen. I think that’s a big factor.

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What was your favorite memory from set?

My favorite memory from filming on set was probably when I did the wires scenes. Actually, I’m going to choose a fun memory. My favorite memory was when — Brec (Bassinger) and I have talked about this a lot — but it was when we had to run across as the JSA. We had to run across this field and we were in for like 12 to 16 hours. We were shooting for long, long hours. I turned to Brec, and I’m just like, “Hey Brec, wouldn’t it be cool if I ran around like an animal on all fours?” And she was like, “Yeah, that would be so awesome!” And I was like, “I think I’m gonna do it.” She’s like, “Are you gonna do it?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m gonna do it.”

And then it was Geoff Johns, the dirctor, just everyone, they’re sitting, waiting. And I’m like, “This is going to be awesome. They’re going to be like, ‘Wow, we need her to do that more often!'” And so they’re, “Three, two, one — go!” And then we go running and then I started trying to run on all fours. Come to find out, I can’t run like an animal. (laughs) I cannot run on all fours. That was so dumb of me to even think that.

So I start running. The three JSA members are like five feet in front of me and I’m just slowing down, slowly and slowly, and I just kind of topple over and I fall to the ground. The director was like, “Cut! Wait, wait, what happened? Yvette, did you fall?” and I’m just like, “Yeah! I fell! I feel. Let’s just do it again!” And Brec is busting up laughing, because she’s the only one who knew I was gonna do this. We tell the others, we can’t stop laughing and then we just do it again. But, you know, this time I’m only on two feet, not on four, so that was probably the funnest memory on set.

DC Universe’s Stargirl stars Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore (Stargirl) and Luke Wilson as Pat Dugan (S.T.R.I.P.E.). The series airs Monday on DC Universe and Tuesdays on The CW at 8 pm ET/PT.

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About The Author

Meagan Damore has served as a CBR Editor since January 2015, though she got her start as a staff reviewer in 2013. She discovered comics thanks to the plethora of movies and television she grew up with, like Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, the original X-Men film trilogy, X-Men: Evolution and Justice League Unlimited. She picked up her first comic in high school and fell instantly in love with the medium. Later, she took her love for pop culture with her to college, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts from Suffolk University and a Masters Degree in Literature from University of Massachusetts Boston. She loves to apply her education to her work writing editorials and conducting interviews. You can catch her writing on Agents of SHIELD, the Arrowverse and more right here on CBR.

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