Quantum Leap let them play

INTERVIEW: Shakina Talks ‘Quantum Leap: Let Them Play’

Quantum Leap has always been a show that gives us a unique opportunity to look into the lives of someone else and quite literally walk in their shoes. It started in the original series with Scott Bakula as Sam leaping into the bodies of people who needed his help and now the reboot series takes us into Ben’s (Raymond Lee) journey.

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In the latest episode of the show, we got to watch as Ben leapt into the body of a father who’s daughter Gia (Josielyn Aguilera) was a high school student and they were trying to prevent her from running away from home because if Ben failed, Gia wouldn’t survive. But as a young trans woman, her dreams of playing on the basketball team were tested by the prejudice of the world around her and it took a support system of the trans community she was a part of, her parents, and her team to keep her safe.

Leading up to the release of the episode, I got to speak writer, director, and star of the episode Shakina to talk about the importance of it. And I asked what it felt like to have that support system at NBC and the show to bring a story to life that really does highlight the importance of trans joy and letting trans kids embrace who they are.

“It was such a gift to be able to bring this story to life with the incredible team and support of the Quantum Leap writers room and the production team and the studio and the network,” Shakina said. “The level of emotional commitment to this episode expressed by every single person working on it is just incredible. There was not one person who didn’t go an extra mile to pull this episode off because there were a lot of hurdles just in terms of, you know, approvals and sensitivities and timelines and casting and budget and COVID and so many things we had to attend to. And everyone showed up because they believed in the important message of this particular episode. And so me as the creator, the writer, director, and co-star, I just felt lifted up on their support and I got to just do my job, which is so weird to say this, but as a trans person, you know, this whole episode is like a put me in coach kind of episode. Let me show you what I can do, give me the shot. I’m in my early forties and I feel like in a way, this was the first time in my life where someone said, show me what you can do kid. You know? And so I got to do it.”

And Shakina did an absolutely incredible job. The episode is now available to stream and definitely is worth the watch.

You can see our full interview here:

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Catch up on Quantum Leap now to watch an episode of the show that just celebrates the importance of letting trans kids be true to who they are. It’s such a beautiful episode of the show and Shakina and the team at Quantum Leap did an amazing job.

(Featured image: NBC)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.