Kerry Washington and Delroy Lindo Talk 'UnPrisoned' and Working Together
Moviefone speaks with Kerry Washington and Delroy Lindo about 'UnPrisoned.' "I thought this is such an important story to tell," Washington said.
Premiering on Hulu beginning March 10th is the new half-hour comedy series ‘UnPrisoned,’ which was created by Tracy McMillian and loosely based on her own life.
What is the plot of ‘UnPrisoned?’
‘UnPrisoned’ follows Paige Alexander (Kerry Washington), a therapist and single mom whose life is turned right-side-up when her father, Edwin (Delroy Lindo), gets out of prison and moves to her house to live with her and her teenage son, Finn (Faly Rakotohavana).
Who is in the cast of ‘UnPrisoned?’
‘UnPrisoned’ stars Kerry Washington (‘Django Unchained,’ ‘The School for Good and Evil’), Delroy Lindo (‘Crooklyn,’ ‘Da 5 Bloods’), Faly Rakotohavana, Marque Richardson, Jordyn McIntosh, Jee Young Han, and Brenda Strong.
Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Kerry Washington and Delroy Lindo about their work on ‘UnPrisoned,’ creating their characters, working with each other, and why Paige is reluctant to let her father back in her life.
You can read the full interview below or click on the video player above to watch our interviews with Washington, Lindo, Faly Rakotohavana, Marque Richardson, and Jordyn McIntosh, as well as series creator Tracy McMillian.
Moviefone: To begin with, Kerry, as an actress and as a producer, what were some of the aspects of this character and this story that you were excited to explore with this series?
Kerry Washington: I mean, I was excited about so much. I'm a huge Tracy McMillan fan, so I love that this was a story inspired by her life and her work. I was inspired really by the story of this family. I thought this is such an important story to tell. There are 80 million Americans living with a criminal record, and for each of those people, there's a family and a circle of loved ones around them who are also impacted by the criminal justice system, and this is a story that we're just not telling.
So, I love the opportunity to open it up and to tell the story, and I really was drawn to the father/daughter stuff. Anybody who's on my social media knows that I have my own really charismatic dad who I love very much, and the father/daughter thing was really profound for me and interesting, and the opportunity to work with this team.
MF: Delroy, can you talk about your approach to playing Edwin, and did you recognize who he was from the first time you read the script?
Delroy Lindo: I did not recognize who the guy was from the first time I read the script. It was a process of learning, but I had some guideposts in the process. One of the guideposts was Tracy saying to me that, "Had you not known that her dad had been incarcerated, you would not know." That was a guidepost for me. Another guidepost was Tracy and Kerry saying that they wanted to illuminate what people think of when they think about a formerly incarcerated person.
We wanted to turn that on its head, from day one. How was I going to do that? I wasn't sure, but what I did know was it's a human being. It's like building blocks, man. You put one block in place, and then you put another, and another, and it was one step, one foot in front of the other, and building it like that. But I had these guideposts that were very important in terms of me beginning the process of creating this man, and Tracy's dad himself, who I spent time with. All of it became part of the data, the information, the stuff that I had to work with.
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MF: Kerry, can you talk about Paige’s reluctance to let Edwin back into her life and introduce him to his grandson, Finn?
KW: It's so beautiful to watch these relationships bloom throughout the first season of the show, because you really see how tentative everyone is. That they've been in each other's lives, but in different kind of guarded ways, through bars, and through glass walls. That their relationship has mostly been over the phone for years, that there is this kind of unfolding of the relationship that's necessary for them to be able to coexist.
I think what happens between Edwin and my son is just so meaningful and beautiful to witness, and I love that it happens despite Paige's intentions to try to control their interaction, that like so much of life, it takes on a life of its own, and is one of the most beautiful love stories on the show, I think.
MF: Finally, Delroy, can you talk about Edwin’s relationship with Finn, and what it was like for you working with Faly Rakotohavana?
DL: It was a joy for me to participate in with Faly. It really was. He's such an open, pure talent. He’s present, just there, and it was really incredibly rewarding to work with him. I mean, with Kerry, of course, but I didn't know what to expect from Faly. I didn't know him as an actor, and as we say, he brung it, man. He grew in the work, and that was interesting because as my relationship with my grandson was growing, he was growing. So, it was all happening simultaneously, and made it that much more rich as a working process.
Movies Similar to ‘UnPrisoned:’
- 'Crooklyn' (1994)
- 'The Shawshank Redemption' (1994)
- 'Django Unchained' (2012)
- 'Da 5 Bloods' (2020)
- 'The School for Good and Evil' (2022)