By Aramide A Tinubu | Shadow and Act
Meagan Good has been working in the entertainment industry for well over twenty years. She first burst onto the scene as the troubled and secretive tween, Cicely Batiste in Kasi Lemmons’ 1960’s era “Eve’s Bayou” alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Lynn Whitfield. Since then, Good has been on numerous television shows, and starred in a plethora of films including “Think Like A Man” and “Anchorman 2.” Good’s career has certainly been taken to new heights in the past few years. In 2013, she snagged a starring role on the NBC drama “Deception”. And currently, she leads the new FOX sci-fi drama “Minority Report” as police detective Lara Vega, showing audiences just how badass she can be as an actress. Good took time out of her extremely hectic schedule to chat with Shadow and Act about “Minority Report”, her latest film (“A Girl Like Grace”), and Viola Davis shouting her out at the recent Primetime Emmy Awards.
Aramide Tinubu: Hi Meagan. Thank you so much for speaking with me and with Shadow and Act. How are you doing?
Meagan Good: I’m great how are you?
AT: I’m wonderful thank you. It’s great to be speaking with you.
MG: It’s wonderful to be speaking with you as well.
AT: Thank you. I know you don’t have much time, so I’d love to jump right in and start chatting about “Minority Report” if that’s OK with you.
MG: Of course.
AT: Well to start off, who is detective Lara Vega? Why is she so different from all of the previous characters that you’ve played in your life? From watching the first two episodes, I can see that she a badass, but she also has a gentle side.
MG: You’ll really get to know her as the season goes on, and you’ll see that there is this vulnerability to her. She wanted to become apart of Pre-Crime, because if it had been in effect, her father might not have passed away. He was murdered on the job. So, she really wanted to follow in his footsteps, and she thought that being a part of Pre-Crime would be a game changer for her. However, by the time she got to the program, it was abolished. So that really is a part of what motivates her and drives her. There is also this sense of purpose. When she wakes up, she lives and she breathes partially because of her dad. She wants to save lives and stop people from going through the pain that she and her family have been put through. She also just wants to make the world a better place, one person at a time. She’s really driven by this purpose in wanting to do good, and be good. Lara wants to give back in some way, to get rid of some of that pain of losing her father.
AT: You can certainly sense her motivations in the actions that she takes. However, knowing the history behind the 2002 film “Minority Report” starring Tom Cruise, were you nervous at all about such a well-loved film being transformed for a television audience?
MG: Yes. You definitely know that a lot of people are going to have opinions; a lot of people are huge fans of the movie and you just want to do it justice. It’s already quite different when you have a woman in that kind of role. You have to figure out how to bring strength but also that vulnerability that a woman has in a certain kind of way while still making it feel strong. So, it’s definitely a challenge, one that I was game for and excited to have the opportunity to do. So I was a little bit nervous, but the other part of me knew that it was something that I’d literally prayed for. I’d waited on the role, and turned down other opportunities because I knew that it was coming. So when it got here, and it was everything that I really wanted, I had and have a confidence in that, because of how it all came together. I just knew that it was going to be what it was supposed to be.
AT: Yes, that’s such a blessing. I did read that you prayed about a role like this and it came to fruition for you within a year. That’s amazing.
MG: Thank you.
AT: To continue on with what you were saying about women and Black women specifically, Viola Davis shouted you out during her speech for her recent and historic Emmy win. What was that like for you? How do you feel about the change for Black actors over the course of the last few years? First with you lead in “Deception” and now in “Minority Report”, do you feel as if that climate has changed in any way?
MG: Oh yes! First of all when [Viola Davis] acknowledged me, I cried because she’s someone that I have so much respect for. She’s someone that I know has had her struggles as well. We all do in some way, shape, or form; whether it’s just having an opportunity that’s being taken seriously or whatever it is. So, I was really thankful for that. And yes, I do see the climate changing and it’s been a long crawl for me, and I’ve always made it a point to never complain. I’ve had moments in the past when I’ve been frustrated, but I just decided that you know what, I am a working actor by the grace of God. I’ve only had one job since I was 13 and that’s being an actress. I’ve been able to sustain and take care of myself and take care of my family since I was 13 or 14 years old. I just have always been about being positive, being on the front lines, and just waiting for that shift and knowing in my heart that it’s coming regardless. So to see it really begin to manifest, and to see all of my sisters to the right and left of me getting opportunities at the same time, it’s just mind-blowing. It’s what we’ve all prayed for and it’s happening. I’m just like, wow, thank you Dad for letting me be a working actor at this time, and being a part of that and on the frontlines of that. With “Minority Report” especially, it’s sci-fi and it’s something that we are rarely even a part of. Thinking about it, I can’t really think of a lot of Black women who’ve been in that space except for maybe Angela Bassett in “Strange Days”.
AT: Yes, there certainly aren’t too many examples.
MG: That’s all I can think of at the top of my head, but I’m just like thank you. I just wanted to do something really, really, different, and it’s an incredible time.
AT: Well what has been your most challenging role over the course of your career, if you can look back?
MG: This one! (Laughing) Definitely this one. I requires a lot physically. The action obviously, but also the hours are really really crazy. We work five, sometimes six days a week and then it’s a different country, I’m in Vancouver right now. You’re away from your family and you work every single day for hours and hours, sometimes anywhere from 13 to 19 hours.
AT: Oh wow!
MG: So it’s really taxing and it can be very tiring, but it’s super, super, rewarding. I tell people back home, look I can’t talk, I can’t do nothing else but work on this show right now, that’s what’s going down until December.
AT: (Laughing) Yes, that’s it.
MG: It’s incredible though, it’s really been a blessing because it has stretched me in ways that I didn’t know I could be stretched. It’s really made me a better actor, and it’s matured me as a human being in a lot of ways. It’s required not just a lot from me, it’s required everything that I have.
S&A: Can you reveal anything about any new upcoming projects that you may have in the works?
MG: Yes, well right now “Minority Report” is taking up all of my time, so I won’t be doing another film until January. But, I do have a film that I produced called “A Girl Like Grace.”
S&A: Oh that’s wonderful! Congratulations.
MG: Thank you so much. I’m very, very excited about it because I have a huge heart for this generation, especially this generation of young girls. I really want to give them some other choices in terms of the lifestyle that they look up to, the things they want out of life, and the things they want for themselves. So this film “A Girl Like Grace” is about a 17-year old girl whose best friend commits suicide over the summer after being bullied. And, her mother is dealing with alcoholism and it’s really her coming of age story. I play her best friend’s older sister who comes back to town, and turns out to be a bit of a negative influence on her. It’s her story of how she fights against all odds to not become something that she has been exposed to for her entire life. It’s a really beautiful story, a really powerful story. We showed it to tons of teenage girls in focus groups, and when the movie is over they’re almost always crying and saying, “I am Grace.” Or, Grace is my best friend or Grace is my sister. It’s just powerful. We’re working on distribution now, but our trailer is up on YouTube and it’s up on my Instagram page. But, I’m just so proud to be apart of something that I think is so important.
S&A: Oh that’s sounds incredible.
MG: Thanks. It’s been to Urban World Film Festival, and Garcelle Beauvais who plays the mother in “A Girl Like Grace” just won an African Oscar [NAFCA Award] for her role. It’s been really great, we’ve been cleaning up a lot of awards. Variety also did an incredible article on the lead actress, Ryan Destiny, and called her a thespian that everyone should be watching. So we’re very very excited about it.
S&A: As you should be, that truly is amazing. Thank you so much Meagan for taking time out of your extremely hectic schedule to chat with Shadow and Act.
MG: Oh course thank you.
Catch “Minority Report” Mondays at 9PM ET on FOX
Aramide A Tinubu has her Master’s in Film Studies from Columbia University. She wrote her thesis on Black Girlhood and Parental Loss in Contemporary Black American Cinema. She’s a cinephile, bookworm, blogger, and NYU + Columbia University alum. You can read her blog at: www.chocolategirlinthecity.com or tweet her @midnightrami