*This summer, Daniel Sunjata, 41, will return to series television in USA Network’s “Graceland,” a Southern Cali-set drama about a crew of undercover DEA, FBI and Customs agents who work crimes while forced to live together in a seized beachfront mansion.
The house – nicknamed Graceland by the drug lords who previously owned it – is unofficially run by Sunjata’s alpha male character Paul Briggs, an FBI narc whose laid back attitude flies in the face of his kick-ass skills in the field. Other agents in the crib are played by Vanessa Ferlito (DEA), Brandon Jay McClaren (Customs) Manny Montana (FBI), Scotti Thompson (DEA) and Aaron Tveit, an FBI rookie who moves into the house in the first episode.
“Because we’re people who deal with lying for a living outside the walls of the house, Graceland is also a sanctuary – and that’s the second meaning of the title of the house because it’s the only place where we can truly be ourselves. Or one would think,” he told EURweb.
Sunjata – of Irish, German, and African-American descent – says Paul Briggs was not written specifically for “a guy who looks like me.” For that matter, his biggest role to date was as a Latino fireman in FX’s “Rescue Me.”
“As an ambiguously non-white actor, I’ve been able to play light-skinned African American guys, Latinos, and I don’t think that I’ve ever had to play some kind of ethnic stereotype or something that was typed specifically for a person of color,” he said.
Below, Sunjata (born Daniel Sunjata Condon) says his audition with Tveit convinced “Graceland’s” casting director that Paul Briggs didn’t have to be white, as written.
Courtney B. Vance also stars in the series as Quantico Section Chief special agent Sam Campbell. A premiere date has yet to be announced for “Graceland,” but it’s set for a “summer” debut. Watch the trailer below.