There are some serious actresses out there that kick ass and take names and Michelle Mitchenor, star of Lethal Weapon is leading the way. She is the straight faced, by the book Sonya Bailey on the show that tries to keep her teammates Riggs and Murtaugh on the show in line. She has an extremely funny side that doesn’t come out as much on the show, but there is always more than meets the eye.
Mitchenor who studied dance at Towson University has utilized the discipline of dance to knock it out of the park while on the small or big screen. Whether it be working with Spike Lee on Chi-Raq or leading the way on Lethal Weapon, Mitchenor is all over the screen with one of the biggest smiles you could imagine. When we talked with her, she couldn’t stop laughing while reminiscing about her past work and how happy it made her to work with the people she has.
With all of the comic book and video game based films and shows out there, Mitchenor has some serious aspirations to join that genre. She would love for them to cast an African American woman in Tomb Raider but if you another Mortal Kombat film is made, she will more than gladly become Jackie Briggs the ass kicking daughter of Major Jax Briggs from the previous
Check out Michelle Mitchenor in Lethal Weapon every Tuesday night at 8PM on Fox.
WINGMAN: You are fantastic as Sonya Bailey on Lethal Weapon . Tell us about Bailey this season and her interactions with Riggs and Murtaugh.
Michelle Mitchenor: She continues as you saw her in the first season in the way that she deals with their banter and what not (laughs). So she definitely plays the the straight laced woman between the two of them that comes in with all of the necessary information for them. You will get to see a little more of who she is and if she has a boyfriend or not (chuckles) and more of her interactions with Scorsese. She also gets a new partner so you get to see that dynamic come to life as well. She gets to grow but still keeps that dynamic with Riggs and Murtaugh.
WINGMAN: What traits of Bailey do you take for yourself and what traits of yours do you put into her?
Mitchenor: Equally I like to think that I have the strength of power as a woman and a sense of resilience. She likes to prove herself as much as possible to the rest of the LAPD Task Force and I would say the same for me. I do like to prove that I can do things that people would say otherwise and that I can hang with the fellas. I was definitely a tomboy when I was a kid, running around, climbing trees and all of that (laughs again). However where we differ is that I am way more fun than she is. And since she is the only female in robbery/homicide than she has to be a little more serious.
WINGMAN: Being a detective on a show must involve some serious research. How did you go about that research and how deep did you go into it?
Mitchenor: I learned a lot of police procedures while on the job. There are a lot of experts and former police officers that are with us and make sure we are holding our weapons correctly and that our terminology is all on point. They are there to help guide us and understand more real life situations. A lot of it I definitely learned on the job because I auditioned and then one day later I was on set so it was a lot of things at once thrown at me. So all of my research was on set.
WINGMAN: Talk a little bit about your fantastic cast. I can’t imagine the hilarity that must occur between scenes with Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford.
Mitchenor: I am very fortunate to be on set with people that are really really funny. It is tough and I’m gonna be honest that I have to try and keep them in line, because I am the straight faced serious one of the group on the show. Whenever I am doing a scene with Riggs and Murtaugh they are always cracking jokes and it is so hard to keep it under wraps, like boys on a school yard. I do get picked on because I am one of the only females on set and one of the younger actors on set. I have to try and not look into their eyes while we are filming and try really hard to be very invested into the material so that I don’t crack a smile.
WINGMAN: Let’s go back to 2015 a little bit… you were the voice of Cee-Cee on NBA 2K16. Are you a gamer at all? Have you played it just to see your representation in the game?
Mitchenor: NO! I didn’t even realize how big NBA 2K really was until it came out. I had heard about it of course, but I had no clue that it was just really that big in the gamer world. The day before I got the job I met up with Spike Lee and then was told what we were doing. I got the job on a Saturday and the next day we were flying out to California to start on Monday. From my understanding that in the 2K world they have to keep things under wraps because gamers are like hawks and want to find out what’s going on with their favorite games. But myself, I do have a copy and have popped it in but I’m not great at it and have watched the cut scenes (laughs hard). The gamers that I meet will hear my voice and immediately recognize it and be like, “whoa is that Cee-Cee”.
WINGMAN: Tell me about the show “Tales” you worked on for BET. Did you sing on the show?
Mitchenor: What Tales is, is an anthology series and every episode is a different cast and the plot of every episode is completely different and have nothing to do with the others in the season. All of these mini-movies if you will are all based off of hip-hop songs from the early 90’s and current ones. My episode was based off of the song “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap. The cool part of it was that you could listen to the song and have a small idea of what would happen in the episode but not really. As of now, it’s the most watched episode of the series so far which is awesome. I loved doing it because I could show my range as an actor and not just be a tough girl or anything. I play a tough girl with a lot of power which you can see in Trap Queen but I have more of a softer side as well.
WINGMAN: You worked with some of our favorite actors Wesley Snipes, John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson on the film Chi-Raq. Talk about your time on that film a little bit.
Mitchenor: That year I did NBA 2K15 and I was fortunate enough to work with Spike Lee who also directed Chi-Raq. He liked what I had done with NBA and asked me to go and audition for the film for the role of Indigo and the next thing I know I am on set. It was my first movie and first major role. I absolutely loved being on the set and being a bug on the wall and watching all of these amazing actors work. When Spike Lee trusts you with a role like this it is definitely something incredible because he only picks the people that he knows can bring the best out of those roles. I loved Wesley Snipes in White Men Can’t Jump and Blade.
WINGMAN: With all of the comic book films and tv shows out there… is there one certain comic book character that you would love to play and why?
Mitchenor: There are a couple! Wonder Woman has a twin sister that is an African American female which is awesome! And then on Mortal Kombat there is Jackie Briggs that I definitely have my eyes and ears listening for if they ever do another Mortal Kombat film. Anything else that is out there now for the women in these genres, those woman are killing it and I give serious props to them all.