Behind the Scenes With the 'Black Lightning' Cast (PHOTOS)
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Talk about running hot and cold. Wearing an electrified Black Lightning suit can be cool, but it’s definitely no real protection against the winter elements, admits a bundled-up Cress Williams (his non–super hero alter ego: high school principal Jefferson Pierce). And in the summer heat? “Wearing that 30-pound costume is very, very hot!” the actor says with a laugh.
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“This was the day of my first onscreen fight,” recalls Nafessa Williams, who plays Anissa Pierce, in an early Thunder costume designed with nods to Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj. “I was ready to kick ass,” she recalls, but instead she got a beatdown from Black Lightning — before he realized the masked Thunder was his own daughter. Adds Williams, “I’m also proud to be playing the first black lesbian super hero!”
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“My fierce stare comes from research,” says Marvin “Krondon” Jones III, who makes the role of Tobias Whale — Freeland’s underworld king and Jefferson’s sworn archenemy — seem truly scary. “He’s a purveyor of fear. I didn’t study comic book villains — I looked at real-life leaders and dictators to learn how to convey without words something memorable and riveting.”
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“I count myself lucky to be on this show because it’s topical and talks to America in a very real way,” says James Remar, who plays Peter Gambi, Jefferson’s tarnished longtime mentor.“I’m a proud owner of a copy of 1977’s Black Lightning #1,” continues the comic book fan, who believes Gambi’s recent dispute with Jefferson “will be water under the bridge next season.”
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Christine Adams plays Jefferson’s ex-wife, Lynn, a neuroscientist and supportive mother to the confident Anissa and troubled Jennifer (China Anne McClain, below left, with Adams).“On the set, Christine is protective and loving with Nafessa and China Anne,” says exec producer Mara Brock Akil. “You would think she’s actually their mom. That relationship is genuine.”
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“I don’t know how long Henderson can go without discovering the truth about Jefferson,” says Damon Gupton, whose deputy police chief is an upstanding cop in the Black Lightning and Superman universes. “I’m excited that he could find out. Things will explode after that. He’ll be pretty upset that his best friend has been keeping such a secret!”
A well suited action hero plus deeply committed co-stars add up to a striking debut season for super hero series Black Lightning.
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