What to Watch

What to Watch With Watchmen and Seven Seconds Star Regina King

The two-time Emmy winner on how streaming changed her TV viewing game and why she's not reading the Watchmen comics first.

by | June 6, 2018 | Comments

Seven Seconds SEASON Season 1 EPISODE 7 PHOTO CREDIT Cara Howe / Netflix PICTURED Regina King
(Photo by Cara Howe / Netflix)

Regina King is no stranger to drama. She won two Emmys for American Crime and was part of the ensembles of Southland and The Leftovers. Her latest show, Seven Seconds, may be her most harrowing work yet — at least until she appears in Damon Lindelof’s HBO adaptation of Watchmen.

On Seven Seconds, King plays Latrice Butler, a mother whose son Brenton (Daykwon Gaines) is injured in a hit-and-run by a police officer (Beau Knapp). With Netflix vying for Emmy consideration for their dramatic series, King spoke with Rotten Tomatoes by phone about why  Seven Seconds was her toughest role yet.

But first, King shared her near-total conversion from on-the-air television. Find out what’s on her DVR and streaming queues, and the one thing she makes an exception for on live TV.


WHAT IS APPOINTMENT VIEWING FOR YOU?

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 03: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives against Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the 2018 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 3, 2018 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

I am totally converted. I do not do any appointment TV unless it’s a playoff game or a game final.


WHAT SHOWS ARE ON YOUR DVR?

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story -- Pictured: Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan. CR: Pari Dukovic/FX
(Photo by Pari Dukovic/FX)
Here’s the interesting thing: Netflix has changed the game in a really big way, so you don’t have to backup your DVR as much as I guess I did maybe eight years ago. Right now what I have not caught up with on my DVR — I haven’t caught up on all my Unsungs. I love those shows. You learn something about artists that grew up with you or your parents were listening to on the record player. You just learn so many things that you didn’t know. For the artists that were grown up when I was a kid, I just looked at them as artists, not as peers — like Special Ed, I’m really looking forward to seeing the Special Ed Unsung and looking forward to seeing the Digable Planets Unsung. I can’t wait for that. So I have those two to watch and whatever other ones that I haven’t seen this season. And MTume I’m really looking forward to seeing too. They were the group that Biggie Smalls sampled [in “Juicy”].

Oh, I know what’s on my DVR that I have not watched yet: [American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni] Versace. That is all queued up and ready for me to watch all of them. I have not seen one, so that’s going to be one of those over-at-four-o’-clock-in-the-morning nights.


WHAT IS IN YOUR STREAMING QUEUE?

Ibiza (Aleksandar Letic)
(Photo by Aleksandar Letic)

So much. I want to see Ibiza. That’s on my radar to watch. I haven’t seen the last two Dave Chappelles, so that’s on there, and Chris Rock’s Tamborine is one that I want to see. Obviously, I’m in this space where I want to see comedies and things that will make me laugh. I’ve been doing TV lately that is so heavy that something light, comedies are the things I’m looking forward to. Another Netflix show I like is Atypical. I’ve only watched three episodes, and I haven’t finished that one. That’s a really good show. It’s funny and it has a little emotional weight to it which I dig. My son turned me onto it. There’s another one my son turned me onto that I’ve watched just the first two episodes which I thought was genius, it’s a cartoon called Big Mouth. I thought that was just awesome.


WHAT’S COMING SOON THAT YOU CAN’T WAIT FOR?

POSE -- "Pilot" -- Season 1, Episode 1 (Aired Sunday, June 3, 9:00 p.m. e/p) Pictured: Indya Moore as Angel. (JoJo Whilden/FX)
(Photo by JoJo Whilden/FX)

I cannot wait for the new season of Power. It’s starting any day now, and I’m also excited about that new show Pose.


Seven Seconds Season 1 EPISODE5 PHOTO CREDIT JoJo Whilden / Netflix PICTURED Regina King
(Photo by JoJo Whilden / Netflix)

Fred Topel for Rotten Tomatoes: I’m sure you’d hoped for a fourth season of American Crime, but when there wasn’t, was it nice to find another show that really had something to say?

Regina King: Yes, absolutely. When I came onto Seven Seconds, I only came on for a season. This story is a one-off story. It was never something for me that was supposed to continue. That story was a story that I felt needed to be told. Some people may feel like it’s a told-again story, but unfortunately, this is who we are as an American culture. It’s unfortunate, but for me, the storytelling that is not scared of holding a mirror up is fascinating for me as an artist.


Seven Seconds SEASON Season 1 EPISODE 5 PHOTO CREDIT JoJo Whilden / Netflix PICTURED Russell Hornsby, Regina King
(Photo by JoJo Whilden / Netflix)

RT: Is there a specific episode you’re submitting for Emmy consideration as an example of your most powerful work?

King: Oh my gosh, I have not gone back to watch the shows, because it was so emotional that I can’t go back to watch. It’s already hard for me to watch myself, because as an actor, the times I’ve watched things that I’ve done, I always feel like, “I wish I would’ve made this choice. Oh, I know I did a better take than that. Why didn’t they use that?” I find myself in this space of shoulda/woulda/coulda and that really is ridiculous. That’s just crazy thinking, but because I do that, I tend to not watch things that I’ve done, unless it’s just something that’s really specific to the press tour, and I need to really know it very well. This one, even if it was specific to the press tour, it was such an emotional place to live for six months that I just can’t go back there. I just can’t.


WATCHMEN, Rorschach, as drawn by co-creator Dave Gibbons, 2009. ©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection
(Photo by Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection)

RT: Is Watchmen going to be that emotional for you?

King: Damon Lindelof is so brilliant. It is going to be emotional in another way, but I don’t think in that way. Because I’m a mother — I’m a mother of a son — I know what it feels like just when your son goes out to a party. If they’re five minutes after curfew, I’m looking at the clock nervous. That alone, I think a lot of parents can relate to that. That’s why [Seven Seconds] was such a raw place for me to be, but Watchmen is going to have some emotion for some different reasons that I can’t say because Damon is so brilliant. He is doing some things in this show that, if it has been done before, I haven’t seen it.

RT: They haven’t said who you’re playing yet, but what is it like to play a new character in the Watchmen world?

King: Well, I start on Monday, so so far we have just been going through all the wardrobe design and all the different things that come along with developing who the woman I’m playing is. I am being very careful, because I am not messing up anything. I’m still so honored that Damon is calling on me again. I just want to show up and show out.

RT: Does reading the comic book help when it’s a new take on Watchmen?

King: I am not reading it. Damon’s asking for me to wait and read it after we finish the first season.


Seven Seconds is now streaming on Netflix. Lindelof is shooting the Watchmen pilot for HBO.

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