Andre Benjamin has done some acting over the years, but the rapper and song writer is better known as being part of the hip-hop duo Outkast. His limited acting work didn’t stop writer/director John Ridley from casting Benjamin in his much heralded ABC anthology drama, “American Crime”
It’s a big acting challenge for any actor, as the second season deals with the attack on a high school student and its aftermath. It’s a plot line that focuses on race and parenting.
Benjamin and Regina King play the parents of one of the young men connected to the incident. Benjamin found it easy to slip into the role as the father of a teenager because he has a son the same age as his TV offspring.
Other inspiration for playing the role came from his own life. When he was growing up, manhood was something that passed with little fanfare. It’s different now.
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“I think the world is opening up a little bit more. It’s more than just, hey, talk tough and play baseball, play football. And I think with these shows, it gives attention to the subjects,” Benjamin says. “I think that as a black family, a family that’s well-to-do, you have double challenges because you’re black and you’re privileged, but at the same time, they put you in a place where you’re a target because some people may feel like you may not deserve it or how did they get here.
“So I take my kid to private school now. I may be looked at a little bit different because they may feel like I may not have earned it, you know, in that way,” he says. “So taking on this role, I can say that it hit home for me.”
I think that as a black family, a family that’s well-to-do, you have double challenges because you’re black and you’re privileged, but at the same time, they put you in a place where you’re a target because some people may feel like you may not deserve it or how did they get here.
Actor Andre Benjamin
As for the casting of Benjamin, Ridley says he was just repaying the faith the singer had in him. Benjamin was one of Ridley’s supporters when he was being told the short-run drama series would never work.
The concern was that the intense style of storytelling where a story only runs one season would not be accepted by fans of more traditional TV. The view changed when the first season was strong enough to get a second season order from ABC.
“Andre is a phenomenal friend. I would not be here, and this is not hyperbole, I would not be sitting here, right here, right now, were it not for Andre and the partnership that we formed on that film when other people said you cannot do this,” Ridley says. “He chose to do it, and that’s an individual who is afforded a space in his life to do whatever he wants.
“He wanted to work, not with me but in the service of a story that he thought was worth telling.”
Star power: VH1 has given the green light to a one-hour scripted series inspired by Star Jones’ 2011 book, “Satan’s Sisters.” Set in the world of daytime television, “Satan’s Sisters” is the story of a long-running, popular ladies' talk show in which alliances are forged, careers are made and bridges are burned.
Wait almost over: The BBC AMERICA Peabody Award-winning clone drama, “Orphan Black,” returns April 14.
The new season sees Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) returning home from her Icelandic hideout to track down an elusive new ally tied to deceased clone Beth (Maslany), whose identity Sarah stole in the series’ first episode.
This is one of the best shows on any form of TV watching. You have time to power-watch the first three seasons to get up to speed.
Lauren German’s time on “Chicago Fire” ended in 2014 when her character, Leslie Shay, was killed. The death of a major character was the work of the writers and producers trying to create a major impact with viewers.
Her character’s death meant the loss of a weekly paycheck after only a couple of seasons, but German was OK with that.
“ ‘Chicago Fire’ was a great experience When I left, a) I wanted to take a break and b) to really, truly be excited about the next thing I was going to do,” German says.
It was the devil who got her attention. German plays Chloe Decker on the FOX series, “Lucifer.” She’s a homicide detective who is not affected by Lucifer’s (Tom Ellis) charms. It seems that the devil has gotten bored and given up his role of ruling Hell to take a vacation on Earth. The pair end up solving crimes together.
German loves that her fans from “Chicago Fire” are supporting her on “Lucifer.”
Lauren German’s major acting role was in the 2002 drama, “A Walk to Remember,” followed by such films as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Hostel: Part 2.” Her previous TV work includes “Sex, Love & Secrets,” “Happy Town” and “Hawaii Five-0.”
The actress has been building a fan base for years. Her first major acting role was in the 2002 drama, “A Walk to Remember,” followed by such films as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Hostel: Part 2.”
Her previous TV work includes “Sex, Love & Secrets,” “Happy Town” and “Hawaii Five-0.”
German’s role on “Lucifer” is to represent the more grounded part of the story, while Lucifer is all about the supernatural. Early episodes had these worlds separated, but they have started to merge.
Executive producer Ildy Modrovich explains that Lucifer is kind of an eternal teenager, while “Chloe’s back story is that she kind of has always been an adult. She had a mother who was kind of larger than life and a little bit nuts, and so she almost skipped her childhood. So that’s what Lucifer brings out in her, whereas she grounds him.”