Sanaa Lathan - Confronting Police Violence with "Shots Fired"

May 3, 2017 - Michael Bloomberg, Carl Pope & Sanaa Lathan 05/03/2017 Views: 9,200

Actress Sanaa Lathan talks about making the transition from movies to TV for the Fox series "Shots Fired," which examines police shootings and racial unrest in the U.S. (4:58)

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Please welcome Sanaa Lathan.

(cheering and applause)



Welcome to the show.

It's my pleasure.I'm so happy to be here.

This is amazing.

You are, honestly,royalty in my world.

-Oh, really?-You genuinely are.

You know, there are selectactors and actresses

where you go, these people,this is just it.

-You on the screen, it's on,so welcome. -Aw.

-This is great to have you here.-Thank you so much.

Am I a princess or a queen?

-Duchess?Oh, queen, definitely a queen.

Duchess is weird.

Duchess is always weird.

I always think of, like,a small dog

when I think of a duchess.I don't know why.

-Like the little Yorkie thing--do you know? -Yeah.

-I think I've...-Yes, yes.

-It's 'cause I saw someone-It's definitely not me.

Someone was like, "Duchess."And then a dog came running out.

It's like, it spoiled it for me.It was never the same.

No. Definitely,definitely a queen.

-Oh, thank you very much.-So welcome to the show.

You've been in so manyclassic movies, you know?

Love & Basketball, The Best Man movies,

-which so many people love.-Yes.

Getting into TV now,I mean, it is,

it is like the golden ageof television.

Has that beena big shift for you?

You know, this isa ten hour movie.

So in a weird way it wasn't,

because we shot itjust like a film.

It was actually, uh,

the amount of time thatyou shoot one movie in,

-we shot this ten hour movie in,-Oh, wow.

so we had to work a lot faster.

It was in North Carolinain the middle of the summer,

so it was like workingin a steam room.

And we were-- basically,

all the characterswere in fall clothes.

So we had to wear, like,you know, jeans and boots,

and, you know what I mean?

Sweaters, and so it was--that was challenging.

But, you know, it feelsthe same, pretty much.

It's a show that doesfeel like a movie,

because the story is so engaging

-and the topic is not aneasy one to deal with. -No.

Because, for thosewho haven't seen it,

Shots Fired is a show wherea black police officer--

it starts off, really,where a black police officer

-shoots a white teenager.-Yes.

And, obviously, that alreadyflips the script

that America is having,on its head.

When you saw the story, I mean,

you knew that this type of thingwould be edgy.

Why accept it?Why get into it?

Wow. Well, first of all,

it was created byGina Prince-Bythewood

and her husbandReggie Bythewood.

Gina wrote and directedLove & Basketball 17 years ago.

Which, I can't believeit was 17 years ago,

because it's like, you know,

I'm not that old, but, um...

Uh, so, uh, she'sa good friend of mine

and I've wantedto work with them for years,

and they're-they're greatwriters and-and filmmakers.

And, you know, obviously,

-this is such a-a...a relevant subject. -Right.

And it's important that, um,we wake up in this country,

in terms of this subject.

And what a better wayto, um, use the art

to kind of, hopefully,you know, raise consciousness.

When you... when you're on set

and you-you're filmingthe story,

and there's so many issuesthat you're dealing with,

and, you know, this, obviously,you-you're not filming now,

-but then you see stories, like,-Yes. Yes.

up until recently this week, youknow, Jordan Edwards in Texas,

who was shot by the policeand then the story changes.

And you see the frustrationsrise again.

You see the emotions rise again,

you know?

When you're making the show,

-are there moments where it'sdifficult -Oh, yeah, absolutely.

-for the cast and crew to-to getthrough it? -Absolutely.

We, um, we finished sh...

It was, like,a five month shoot,

-so we finished shootinglast July. -Right.

And last Julythere was a record number

of police shootingsin the country.

And there was one daythat we all came to set.

Um, it was the day after, um,

-Philando Castilehad gotten shot. -Right.

He was the onewith the baby in the back

-and the-and the girlfriendin the... -Yes, yes.

And, um, we couldn'tstart the day.

Uh, it... We were so emotional.

We had to takea moment of silence

and kind of just breathe,

-because it was, like,too close for comfort. -Right.

Art imitating life imitatingart-- I mean, it was crazy.

But, you know, we justreminded ourselves, you know,

what a privilegeand an honor it is

-to work on this subject matter.-Right.

'Cause it's-it's very timelyand, clearly,

you know, it's still happening.

-When...-Jordan Edwards.

-Again... -15 years...15 years old, you know?

This is the same... the same...same thing is happening.

And it's-it's time, it's timefor us to make some changes

in our criminal justice system

and, um, you know,

wake up.


I couldn't say it any better.Thank you so much

-for being with us on the show.-Thank you.

It's a really amazing show.

Shots Fired airs Wednesdaysat 8:00 p.m. on Fox.

Do yourself a favor and watchit. Sanaa Lathan, everybody.

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