‘Army Wives’ Newbie Kelli Williams: Everybody’s Going to Hate Jackie!

Kelli Williams on Army Wives (Lifetime)

There’s a new wife at Fort Marshall, and she wants to be the queen bee. Sunday, Kelli Williams (“Lie To Me“) joins the cast of “Army Wives.” She plays Jackie Clark, a general’s wife who instantly becomes a thorn in Claudia Joy’s (Kim Delaney) side. During a recent interview with XfinityTV.com, Williams revealed how Jackie will threaten Claudia Joy and Denise’s (Catherine Bell) friendship, why her character is more than just a snob, and why she is so excited that she gets to yell at Susan Lucci.

How would you describe your character, Jackie Clark?
I know that Jackie has good intentions, because I know where she’s headed. But I think she can come off as a bit much and a little too conservative. She definitely is more conservative than the other ladies, I think. But she’s been in this game, I guess you’d call it, for a long time, with her husband being a two star general and now he and Michael (Brian McNamara) are “competing” for the third star. I think she holds a lot to that kind of status. I think Jackie ultimately grows up a little bit. But initially she comes across as being a little bit of a [social] climber.

I watched your first episode, and by the end of it, I thought Claudia Joy needed to slap Jackie. Was she brought onto the show to stir up trouble?
I think [the writers] wanted to create that tension between us.  At the beginning, I was like “everybody’s going to hate me.”

Catch Up on Last Week’s Episode Of “Army Wives”:

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How does Jackie feel about Claudia and Denise? Does she like them? Does she think she’s better than them?
I think she likes them. What the writers told me was Denise and Jackie have a history, that they know each other from a previous base. But as first brush you kind of wonder, “Really? I don’t think Denise would be friends with Jackie.” I’m a little surprised that they like me as much as they do, or that they tolerate me. But I think maybe she’s a little used to the country club living. She comes from a little bit of an uptight, upper crust background which has affected her. There’s a lot more going on with Jackie than you first see. I personally don’t know that if I just met her I would want to be friends with her either.

Is Jackie’s presence going to create a rift between Claudia Joy and Denise?
That’s part of why I think people are not going to like me so much. There is some tension in the near future.

You say Jackie has more going on than viewers will immediately realize. What will her arc be this season?
There are many sides to Jackie and you see what has been keeping her together. I think a lot of these ladies who are very Type A that I’ve met or that I’ve played, to me they’re always more interesting if there’s a reason behind it or if they’re kind of WASPy and straight and then we get to see the underbelly of it all. I think she’s lived this way, where she’s an officer’s wife, and having to be sort of parallel to her husband, if they rise in the ranks, if that’s their goal, having to be on your best behavior, and there’s all this stuff that Jackie certainly has taken to heart, which I think a lot of women do. I think Jackie might get a little prickly, that the enlisted wives are happy when she leaves the party, basically. The officers’ wives are happy when she leaves, half the time.

Jackie’s one of many transplants from Fort Hope that are coming to Fort Marshall because of the damage from the hurricane. How are the newcomers going to change the dynamics of Fort Marshall?
It’s a little bit of a turf war. I think the people come in and they think, okay, “This is how it’s been,” and these wives want to come in and share the FRG spotlight. Jackie certainly shoehorns her way in there and tries to just take the spotlight, and not necessarily intentionally, not like, “Hey, I’m going to mess things up for Claudia Joy.” It’s polite, but it’s not initially entirely on the up and up. I think Claudia Joy has good reason to be suspicious of Jackie at first… We have some words down the line, which was a lot of fun to film.

Will Jackie spend time with any of the Enlisted Wives?
She doesn’t for a while, but then she comes to her senses and then befriends some of the ladies. I think it’s really good for her.

What have been your favorite scenes so far?
Brian McNamara directed an episode that we just finished filming about a week ago and I think that is my favorite for Jackie because I think from start to finish, she goes through literally every emotion under the sun. She really has to deal with a bunch of stuff. In terms of specifics, let’s just say that Jackie needed a little bit of an intervention, if you will. I also get to work with Susan Lucci [this week].

Were you an “All My Children” fan?
My best friend growing up would always record it and say I had to watch. I’d never been into watching soaps before. But sure enough, I was totally into it. I was so excited to go home and watch “All My Children.” So I haven’t met [Lucci] yet, but I have to scream at her and tell her she’s crazy, which I feel kind of weird about. I called my friend to tell her and I said, “You know you’re jealous.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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