Regina King Talks "American Crime" and "The Leftovers"

by IMDb-Editors | last updated - 06 Jan 2016

Regina King is having a great year. She won her first Emmy for playing Aliyah Shadeed on “American Crime,” has the potential to win more awards for her stellar work on “The Leftovers,” and directed episodes of “Scandal” and "Being Mary Jane." — Sharon Knolle

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Regina King at an event for The 67th Primetime Emmy Awards (2015)

King took some time out of her busy schedule to talk to IMDb about what was unique about Aliyah, the recent scene that made her say, "Whoa," and the two new shows she will add to her extensive resume in 2016.

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Regina King in American Crime (2015)

IMDb: What attracted you to the role of Aliyah Shadeed on “American Crime?”

King: You don't get to see a character like that on primetime TV for one, two that ABC had the guts enough to do a show like that, not to mention [playing] a character that was a Muslim convert. Even when we are looking at Muslims on television, we don't see Black Muslims, so that was unique to me.

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Regina King, André Benjamin, and Ryan Green in American Crime (2015)

In Season 2 of “American Crime,” you play an entirely different character.

Yes, I am. It's exciting, it's like a theater group. Time for our winter production. My character [Terri Lacroix ] is a pharmaceutical executive and in a much different world this season on “American Crime” than what anyone saw last year. [Terri's] son is the captain and star player of the basketball team that is in question as far as their [players] participation in a sexual assault. Because he's the star of the team, they're going hard for him.

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Regina King, Kevin Carroll, and Jovan Adepo in The Leftovers (2014)

You're also on the second season of “The Leftovers" as Erika Murphy, who is from Miracle, a town where no one disappeared. What is the significance of that fact?

From Erika's perspective, here you have this small, tiny town and no one has ever heard of it before. This Departure happens and all of a sudden it becomes a place where everyone wants to go, so now your town's a rock star. I believe that all of us, the Miracles, feel special because of that.

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Regina King and Carrie Coon in The Leftovers (2014)

You just had this great scene with Carrie Coon. A lot of critics think it was one of the best scenes on television in 2015. Did you realize it was going to be something special when you filmed it?

We know [showrunner] [url=nm051154]Damon Lindelof[/url] for writing those pieces that make us at home go, “Whoa.” You're just transported into the television screen. And then when you get the opportunity to have an actress as powerful as Carrie to play with, you just don't get those opportunities often.

When we read the script, we saw each other in the makeup trailer and we were both like, “Oh my gosh, it's eight pages long! And we get to to do it together.” She was one of the highlights to me from Season 1. After I watched it, I just hoped I had the chance to work with her, and I had no idea we were going to have an opportunity like that. So often in our field, you're doing a movie or a show and sometimes you may never get to work with someone, even though you're on the same show. So that was a special moment in time.

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Regina King and Kevin Carroll in The Leftovers (2014)

Were you satisfied with Erika's journey over the course of the season?

I hate to say “satisfied,” because I want to say I hope you'll want more. I hope we come back for a third season. As an audience member, I am totally satisfied with how the season is playing out. As we read the scripts, and now watching the episodes as they air, I have to say each episode is better than the last and that's very rare in television.

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Regina King and Dorian Missick in Southland (2009)

You've directed episodes of "Southland," "Being Mary Jane," and "Scandal." Do you plan to direct more in the future?

Absolutely. As soon as I wrap on “American Crime,” I'll go back to directing another episode of “Scandal.” And then another one of Shonda [Rhimes] [new] show, “The Catch” and then the Oprah [Winfrey Network] show, “Greenleaf,” so I'm keeping busy.

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Regina King

What can you tell us about “Greenleaf?”

It's a show that an amazing writer, Craig Wright, created. He was one of the writers on “Six Feet Under.” It's about the Greenleaf family, who's based in the church. You get behind-the-scenes of the church and what that looks like in this family. They're now shooting their third or fourth episode. It stars Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, and Oprah Winfrey. I'll shoot my episode next year.

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Regina King in Ray (2004)

What have been your toughest roles as an actress?

I guess Ray and Jerry Maguire, but not for reasons that you would think. Jerry Maguire because my son was just born and I was nursing in between camera set-ups. That was a lot. And Ray because that was the only time that I spent time away from my son. I was in New Orleans for 12 days and I'd never been away that long. It was enough to let me know that I didn't really want to do it again any time soon. I didn't stop looking for material that moved me, but I stopped even reading things that were going to be shot out of the city.