10 questions for Sanaa Lathan
8 months ago
Lathan takes charge of Chicago in the powerful political TV drama “Boss.”
For her latest project, Sanaa Lathan is starring opposite Kelsey Grammer (who plays Chicago's ruthless Mayor Tom Kane) as his Chief of Staff in the second season of the Starz cable television series ”Boss,” airing Friday nights at 9 pm. Lathan has numerous film credits, including “The Best Man,” “Brown Sugar,” “Love & Basketball,” “Alien vs. Predator,” and “Out Of Time," and also starred on Broadway in 2004 and received a Tony Award nomination for her role in “A Raisin In The Sun.”
Lathan recently sat down with Loop 21 to discuss her “Boss” character, “The Best Man” sequel, and campaigning for Barack Obama.
Loop 21: After starring in several films, now you have your first starring role in a TV series. Why did you decide to accept the role of the Mayor of Chicago's Chief of Staff Mona Fredericks?
Sanaa Lathan: I was a fan of the show before I knew there was a possibility of a role. It is one of my favorite shows on television. I told my agent that I would consider a role on cable television because of the quality of cable programming. So when I was approached about being in the cast, I signed on even before the role was written. I liked the show that much and had faith in the writers to create a character that I believed in. For me, accepting a role is about the caliber of the people and the writing. The writing is outstanding and Kelsey Grammer, who plays the Mayor of Chicago Tom Kane, gives the performance of a lifetime.
Loop 21: It’s rare for African American women to get roles portraying powerful government officials. How do you feel about getting this role?
S.L.: I am proud of this role because my character is the moral center of the show. She’s surrounded by immoral politicians. Mona cares about the community and she stands up for what she believes in. She works for Alderman Ross who is the Mayor’s biggest rival but accepts a job with the mayor because he has the real power, and she believes he can make a difference in the community. She fights for the preservation of the housing project on the South side of Chicago where she grew up. It is a fictional show but it is very realistic. We've had some outrageous happenings in the show such as when a vote in the city council was going against the Mayor. On cue from the Mayor, a council member suddenly started a fight to disrupt the meeting so the vote had to be postponed, allowing the mayor more time to get the votes he needed. I said to myself, 'This could never happen,' but it could actually happen because Chicago has a history of corrupt politics.
Loop 21: How are you like your character, Mona Fredericks?
S.L.: We are very different. She is a lot smarter than me politically. We both share a passion for what we believe in. She is dedicated to her job in politics. I am dedicated to my job as an actress and I choose each role very carefully. It is important to me to portray a positive image. Integrity has been very important in my career and in the projects that I do.