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Regina King Reflects On Career, Discusses New Role In “Southland”


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She’s gone from child actress to starring in some of the most memorable films of the last 20 years. No doubt about it, NAACP Image Award winner Regina King has stood the test of time. Now, she’s starring in the cop drama ‘Southland,’ which got the ax by NBC but found a more fitting home at TNT.

“I made the decision I wanted to do television so that I wouldn’t have to travel doing movies,” she shared with BV Newswire earlier this week.

Before auditioning for ‘Southland,’ the Los Angeles native, who got her start on the television sitcom ‘227,’ had her pick of a few pilot options, but she settled on the meaty role for a few reasons.

“Of all the scripts that I’d seen that was the most interesting to me,” King revealed. “They told me about the show and that it was an ensemble piece and what they were trying to do with it.”

The news that NBC was canceling the show was a big letdown for King.

“I was disappointed, but I never felt like it was the end of the show. I really felt like we had a really good piece of art and there was no way something this good could go away like that,” she said.

A few months ago, TNT announced that it would begin broadcasting the show’s previously-aired episodes, with additional bonus scenes, as well as the already-filmed episodes that did not air, beginning Jan. 12. King couldn’t have been happier.

“It was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we just moved on up like George and Weezy,'” she gushed. “TNT is synonymous for great narrative TV, and that’s what our show is. To be on a network catering to the one-hour drama was just a blessing.”

Like strong female characters on other TNT shows, such as ‘The Closer,’ ‘Saving Grace’ and ‘HawthoRNe,’ King’s character, Det. Lydia Adams, is no-nonsense. She’s struggling to balance her job amid the emotional strains of her personal life.

“I don’t want to play the same character, but I know the audience — whether white, Latino, black, or female — they are not really interested in seeing the suffering woman because it does not mirror what they know,” she explained. “When they do see the suffering woman, they want to see her overcome whatever it is that she is going through. The female audience is not interested in seeing the passive woman, and neither am I,” she added.

The feedback King says she’s received from real-life cops has been gratifying, and she’s anxious to continue challenge herself in the role. “The character that I am playing is in a field in L.A. that is 18 to 1. I’m in a cast that is predominately male and playing a character that’s part of a work force primarily male. The female officers come up to me and totally relate to just the way I carry myself,” said King, who added that the show is based on the life of Det. Sheila Daniels, who consults on the show.

King said fans will have a lot to look forward to this season, including complex story lines. The first of the six new episodes of ‘Southland,’ which premieres March 2, finds her character adjusting to working with a hunky new partner and missing her old partner, Russell, who was shot and is in pretty bad shape. There’s a cameo by ‘The Wire’ star Wood Harris and a very gruesome jail scene.

“You see a detective that is passionate and loves her job, but for some reason she is allowing the job to take precedence to the point where she has no love life and you kind of see her struggling with that,” she said.

“She does everything by the book and the moment she hasn’t done something by the book, she catches herself in a hairy situation,” King hinted.

In addition to ‘Southland,’ the 38-year-old actress will continue voicing Huey and Riley Freeman on the third season of the animated Adult Swim series’The Boondocks.’ She said to expect those new episodes in the spring.

King, who has been romantically linked to ‘The Cosby Show’ actor Malcolm Jamal Warner as of late, will next star opposite Forest Whitaker in ‘Our Family Wedding,’ due in theaters Mar.19.

‘Southland’ premieres on TNT on Jan.12 at 10 p.m.