‘Blindspotting’ Lets Its Cast Explore Their Characters in a Deeper Way
Blindspotting as a show is a spin-off from the hit movie starring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. The STARZ series follows Ashley (Jasmine Cephas Jones) as she’s raising her son Sean (Atticus Woodward) that she shares with Miles (Casal) while he’s in prison. Now that the show has had its season season there’s a beauty to letting its characters shine and explore storylines outside of just Miles and Collin (Diggs).
In season 1, it was a lot about Ashley coming to terms with the fact that Miles was going away and she was going to have to raise Sean on her own. What we’ve seen in season 2 is Ashley willing to rely on others, fight back at this idea that she has to be “strong,” and we’ve seen her break when she would have previously tried to keep it all together.
Throughout the season, I spoke with some of the cast and got to talk with Benjamin Earl Turner, who plays Earl, as well as Jasmine Cephas Jones and Jaylen Barron, who plays Miles’ sister Trish.
Trish is on a mission
In season 1, Trish couldn’t be bothered with Ashley. She, in a lot of ways, hated that Ashley was around and the two would constantly fight. But they’ve grown to love each other and explore their relationship in a way that has made them friends. Which did lead to one of the most fascinating aspects of the show: The rollercoaster. In season 2, there’s a Halloween episode where everyone goes to a part and by the end, Ashley and Trish are not emotionally ready to have fun on a coaster and they both are stone faced. So I asked Barron about getting emotionally prepared for that scene.
“Well, I think it’s more so being like, they’re depending on me to make sure the scene is written, how they say, and it’s performed how they want it to be,” she said. “So there’s that pressure on there. So, you know, with the rollercoaster scene, I was like, okay, let me hop on her. And we’re gonna go around and I’m gonna get out whatever I need to get out. And so I was on the first time I was like, woo, you know what I mean? Going up and down and stuff like that. And really kind of remembering the twists and the turns. So that way when I’m doing the scene, I’m not caught off guard or by surprise. So we did it a couple times, letting everything out. And then by the third time I was just like, okay, now I’m gonna rehearse it as the scene.”
You can see our full conversation here:
Earl is trying to get by
My favorite character in the series has been Earl. He’s just trying to make it through his life, he’s a bit of a mess, but at least he’s attempting to do right after what happened in season 1. And for Benjamin Earl Turner, he seems to have had some say in how Earl is as a character. I asked him about working with the writers and creators to make Earl and what say he had in the character.
“I got an unfair amount of say because the show creators and the producers are the cream of the crop as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “And part of that is because they were so adamant about coming to us as actors and saying, okay, what are the strengths? How do you see or understand this thing or this character before they sort of finalize the idea. I think they just really played to our strengths in a way that is beautiful and you hope anyone you work with would do.”
You can see my talk with Benjamin Earl Turner here:
Ashley is constantly changing
The show is for Ashley. She’s getting her time as the woman Miles constantly wasn’t thinking about when he was doing something less than responsible. In the film, she’s there but not in the same way she has been in the television series and so to see Ashley grow from a side character into the one we’re on this journey with has been amazing to watch. And for Cephas Jones, I asked her about Ashley’s journey through the seasons and what has been her favorite part of it.
“I just think we’ve rarely come to a point where she’s just been in denial, right? So by the time we get to episode four, Trish points it out and she goes, you are depressed and she’s like, what? What do you mean? You know, it’s like for, you know, all these four episodes, even like right at the beginning, she’s just off her rocker and everybody notices it except her,” she said. “And so in episode five we start to pivot, right? Because she does a bad thing in and that heightened verse that she does, you really see that she has come face to face with herself, I think in an honest way. And so from there on, it gets really crazy. And so I think we see more ugly parts of Ashley. I think we see more of her flaws in season two, I think.”
Cephas Jones went on to talk about her journey from season one on. “In season one, she’s just really trying to keep it together. And she’s doing really well, you know, considering, and I think in season two it’s just weathered on her,” she said. “And so I think that’s really fun to play. I think we just get to see more sides of her, her anger, how upset she is, which is real. I think it’s so real.”
You can see my talk with Jasmine Cephas Jones here:
Blindspotting seasons 1 and 2 are on STARZ.
(featured image: STARZ)
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