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Suits and Scandal - Gina Torres Interview

Thanks to Sheldon for the heads up.

Screen Spy: Jessica has her hands full this season. Hardman is back. Donna has been fired and the firm is being sued. Jessica has an outward, almost swan-like grace, but under the surface she must be paddling furiously. What’s her state of mind right now?

Gina Torres: She is dancing as fast as she can! And don’t forget there’s also this huge secret, which is the revelation that Mike is not a lawyer. If she thought for one second that it could come out then this house of cards would all come tumbling down. She’s got to put out the fires that are closest to home right now, and right now that fire is this fraud lawsuit. Tanner has it in for Harvey. He wants him gone. The enemy is at the gate. She does not trust that Hardman has reformed. She’s got to take care of her family.

SS: Jessica is the epitome of a strong female character. Is this notion something we shouldn’t have to remark about in this day and age or do you think women still have some way to go before we stop batting an eyelid at smart, capable powerful characters on TV who just happen to be women?

GT: [Laughing] Oh that’s such a big question Jennifer! How much time do we have? [Laughing] Alright, I’ll try to summarize what I think about this one. Television and film, by and large, deal with archetypes. It’s only if and when we get to spend more than a season or two with any group of characters that they start to fill in the blanks and begin to bleed into the grey. But we always start with an archetype – Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, whatever. Jessica is an archetype. She is the matriarch, for lack of a better word. She is the woman at the head of the family. There are certain things – and not to belittle TV, or belittle writers – but those archetypes, or jumping-off points in any characterization are necessary. As a viewer you want to be able to immediately identify with whoever you’re watching. You want characters that are familiar. So, if you can say ‘Ah, I know what that is,’ then you’re comforted.

There are whole levels that go beyond male/female. It’s cultural also. I come at it from another angle, which is are we ever going to stop questioning that people of color can be in positions of power? So, I think it’s very layered. All I can say is that some of these things are in place so that the greater population can feel comforted and have a jumping off point of familiarity.

Having said that, I think that from season one to season two there has been more opportunity to peel back those layers with Jessica – to peel the onion so to speak. As much as everyone loves Jessica’s impeccable righteousness I actually look forward to the chinks in the armor. I look forward to seeing her lose it a little bit. I wonder if when all of this is over are we going to see her take a big breath and say ‘Holy shit! That was a close one!’ Or even just ‘Where are we now? What’s missing?’ We saw her teeth last week. She wasn’t always so bright and shiny and fabulous and I loved that! I loved that there was this aspect to her that can come and bite you. She had to grow into the Jessica we see now. And you only grow in that way when life hands you your hat. You only find humility when you’ve been humiliated. So let’s get to that. I think there’s a lot of room. How did I do?

SS: Best answer ever!

GT: [laughing] Thank you very much!

Source: Full Interview @ Screenspy

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