Blair Underwood on playing Black Prez in ‘The Event': ‘I’m most comfortable in this role’
In a career that spans 25 years, Blair Underwood has had several memorable breakout performances in shows that range from his 1980s work on L.A. Law to 2000s Sex And The City, but it’s his new role as the televised leader of the free world in NBC’s new conspiracy thriller, The Event premiering tonight at 9pm ET/PT that has him most excited these days. And for those wondering, although there are similarities due to the timing of the role, his character has nothing to do with our current commander in chief Barack Obama.
“You will definitely see images and things in the show that resonates with our current reality. But this character was written four years ago and was always envisioned to be a Latino,” says Underwood. “When I signed on they were adamant about keeping that in. And they were like if you’re gonna play him we’ll make him Afro Cuban, which makes complete sense.”
The Event is like 24 meets Lost in its flashback non-linear storytelling and tells the tale of a group of strangers, including Underwood’s President Elias Martinez who slowly discover the biggest coverup in U.S. history. And Underwood says of all of his recent roles this is the one that attracts him most as actor.
“Television has been very good to me. In 2008 I was very fortunate to do three shows at once New Adventures of Old Christine, which was a situation comedy, and In Treatment on HBO that was all about therapy and Dirty Sexy Money which was a soap opera,” says the ageless 46-year old Krush Groove alum. “But this character and the context of this show is where I’m most comfortable as an actor. I’m a comedic fool in real life but in terms of the work this [roles like The Event] is what I gravitate to. I read this script and I was blown away.”—Ronke Idowu Reeves