News

Shooter Star Cynthia Addai-Robinson on Getting Typecast as a Badass

An FBI agent in the USA series, the actress notes how the show ‘eerily’ mirrors current politics

by | December 5, 2016 | Comments

SHOOTER Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Jeff Daly/USA Network)

Cynthia Addai-Robinson is no stranger to playing kickass women – and her new role in the new USA series Shooter keeps her squarely in the “folks we wouldn’t want to mess with: category. Shooter, based on the 2007 film of the same name, features Addai-Robinson in the role of FBI agent Nadine Memphis, a character that was recast as female (Michael Peña played “Nick Memphis” in the movie) without the star even knowing.

“I hadn’t seen the movie when this opportunity presented itself to me, so in a way it was kind of nice to have the opportunity to build this role from scratch,” Addai-Robinson told Rotten Tomatoes. “The character originally was male and as far as I know that was a conscious decision by the folks putting the series together … it’s an interesting opportunity to explore a different dynamic, especially when you see how this character fits into the larger world and how Nadine ultimately ends up interacting with the other characters, it’s interesting to see it, you know, as a female role.”

Memphis is investigating ex-Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillipe) after he is framed in a plot to kill the president that goes wrong – but her doubts about his involvement are quickly dismissed by her coworkers.

“It’s interesting to question how would she [Memphis] be perceived if the character were male,” Addai-Robinson said. “I think certainly for women who are watching, that might be something they can see as far as how her character moves about in the world and they might be able to relate to it in a very specific way.”


SHOOTER Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Joseph Viles/USA Network)

Addai-Robinson played rebel fighter Naevia in the Starz series Spartacus and later was high-ranking government official Amanda Waller on Arrow, carving out a niche for herself away from the typical rom-com roles often available to younger actresses. Most recently, she played a Treasury agent in the Ben Affleck thriller The Accountant, making waves as a female character with no romantic interest in the film.

“It’s interesting once you see a pattern arise in your work as far as how people might perceive you or where your strengths lie,” Addai-Robinson said. “I’m not sure how I landed in these government roles, I’ve been very fortunate and all of these characters, they’ve all been different in their own way.” But, she added “I like the idea I get to be my own fully-formed woman and fully-formed character and it’s not necessarily about being dependent … on a man.”

She joked, “Maybe in the next role I can be a government agent with a love life as well – they aren’t mutually exclusive.”


Shooter Cynthia Addai-Robinson and Omar Epps (Jeff Daly/USA Network)

But playing dark characters does come with its own set of issues. Shooter’s intense violence saw the show push its premiere twice after events in the news prompted sensitivity concerns. Addai-Robinson said she agreed it was the right thing to do and that the show’s relevancy to current politics is almost eerie.

“When this show was coming together, nobody could have predicted what would be going on in the world, and so it’s interesting to suddenly find yourself in a show that feels so topical and so timely. So when you find yourself in that situation you want to be sensitive to it, which I think we have been. And at the end of the day, we now have opportunity to be very thoughtful moving forward with the story that we are telling because now it sort of takes on a different immediacy,” she said. “First and foremost, we want to entertain.”

She added without giving away a spoiler, to keep your eye on one particularly relevant plot point that mirrors current politics.

“When we start out in the pilot, we have this situation, we see my character meeting an informant and he leaves some information that has been written by a journalist in the Ukraine – and that’s sort of a very important thread to follow… The plot is quite dense so it’s important to pay attention to these little breadcrumbs.”

Shooter airs on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. on USA

Tag Cloud

Ellie Kemper Reality Adult Swim Food Network Sci-Fi DC Universe AMC IFC social media crime thriller historical drama boxoffice 2017 Thanksgiving Spring TV Paramount Animation National Geographic GLAAD transformers A&E E! war cats diversity biography 45 CNN Freeform MTV Amazon Cosplay Sundance Now singing competition DC Comics Infographic cults Cartoon Network robots Photos Nominations Dark Horse Comics Nat Geo Tomatazos what to watch SundanceTV Sony Pictures Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Christmas Valentine's Day romance CW Seed DC streaming service Trailer TBS period drama adventure based on movie Marvel Best and Worst LGBTQ Star Wars Trivia RT History FX Masterpiece Hulu Lionsgate Year in Review Comedy Central First Look BBC Esquire Mary Tyler Moore TNT spy thriller Britbox Tumblr Red Carpet docudrama VH1 Extras President VICE Fantasy 21st Century Fox dramedy Action Fox News FXX Country E3 NYCC Musical TruTV ABC Family APB mutant Ovation CBS All Access Podcast Western Music IFC Films Pirates Apple Rocky Awards See It Skip It Pop festivals Columbia Pictures Fall TV Universal WGN Polls and Games Paramount Network Musicals unscripted zombie Mindy Kaling Rom-Com Calendar 2016 Oscars Opinion Interview politics BET technology El Rey golden globes Drama cinemax YouTube Red Comic Book talk show USA American Society of Cinematographers TCA Walt Disney Pictures serial killer TCA 2017 Nickelodeon Writers Guild of America ESPN Sneak Peek Warner Bros. crossover CMT Super Bowl Certified Fresh justice league sitcom OWN BBC America discovery police drama Shondaland dc 007 Emmys SDCC ratings vampires Toys The Arrangement ITV political drama finale Holidays Logo Netflix Disney TV Land MSNBC Comedy TLC PBS sports Election supernatural The CW SXSW Countdown Lucasfilm PaleyFest USA Network Teen FOX psycho Box Office Premiere Dates ABC CBS Character Guide Pixar crime zombies cops Acorn TV NBC Superheroes TIFF science fiction X-Men Watching Series Biopics thriller Sundance streaming Kids & Family History Horror Crackle comiccon Video Games 20th Century Fox Disney Channel Marathons Rock Syfy Set visit Martial Arts Starz Schedule hist Creative Arts Emmys TCM Ghostbusters composers binge GIFs Grammys Star Trek Bravo HBO medical drama Winter TV aliens Reality Competition 2015 TV Mystery Spike DirecTV Lifetime YA crime drama Summer 24 frames dceu Winners cooking Superheroe harry potter travel Showtime GoT