Blair Underwood and Lisa Vidal star in 'The Event'
*When the NBC drama, “The Event,” first hit the airwaves, it was filled with mystery.
It looks like the way it started is the way it’s going to finish. Whether the show will return for the fall television season is still up in the air.
This is nothing new for the show’s star, Blair Underwood, who plays President Martinez or his co-star, Lisa Vidal, who portrays the first lady. The handsome thespian, who has a number of television series under his belt, has been in this position before.
I caught up with Underwood and Vidal in the show’s Oval Office to talk about the drama, the possibility of its demise, as well as their other projects.
On this day, the show is shooting its season finale, which will air on NBC, May 23. Underwood has just completed what may very well be his last scene as President Martinez.
After the director yells ‘cut,’ the crew applauds and Underwood thanks and praises them all.
DD: Tell me about working with your co-star, Lisa.
BU: Who? (laughter) You know, I don’t think you can pay enough for chemistry. My favorite acting to do and to watch is unspoken, without lines. We have that. Lisa and I have known each other for 15 years. She’s one of my dearest friends. There is an unspoken dynamic that happens. When you have someone like Lisa there is an unspoken dynamic that happens and works well on the set.
DD: Any similarities between you and the actual POTUS?
BU: Well, he’s married. I’m a family man, he’s a family man. We both love our country. I grew up in a military family. I’m loyal to my country. I recognize this is a dysfunctional family – meaning the country, but love it nonetheless. The president I play was a little naïve – regarding the detainees.
DD: Blair, this is an emotional day for everyone. Since you don’t know if the show is returning, what does it mean to possibly be saying goodbye for good?
BU: For me it’s twofold. Today, I feel like we’ve jumped over so many hurdles. And for me, that’s a victory, i.e., having a pilot, having it picked up. That’s one victory. Then doing 13 episodes and being picked up for the back nine – that’s another victory. To get to 22 episodes when most of the shows that started when we started are no longer on the air. We’ve had a rough way to go. You take us off the air for three months with this particular kind of show, a serialized show – it could mean death to a show. Then to come back and be off five weeks – then we go up against “Dancing With the Stars” and the NCAA Championship and then take us off a week. Whenever you do that you lose some of your audience. I feel certain victory in that. I really feel like I’m going to take the optimistic side – we’re coming back.
DD: What are you going to do while the show is down?
BU: I’m going to start a movie, an independent film in a couple of weeks called “Shadow Fight.” The other casting we don’t know yet. I play a man named Emmitt, who was a promising fighter. He’s been in jail for 17 years. He gets out and tries to redeem himself and get back with his wife and son. I want Jill Scott to do it. I don’t know yet.
DD: What’s happening with your books?
BU: We’re working on the fourth book right now. They follow the life and times of Tennyson Hardwick. Each one is a title based on a movie. The last one was In the Night of the Heat. This one will be called South By Southeast. They follow a serial killer. It’s action and adventure.
DD: Blair, I’m going to talk to your television wife now. Lisa did/do you feel a sense of responsibility playing a Cuban first lady?
LV: I did. It’s pretty exciting. I wanted to bring something different to the world. Being a Latino woman we’re saucy and spicy. I felt a responsibility to represent her. She’s a strong lady.
DD: Have roles for minorities gotten progressively better since you’ve been in the business?
LV: Yes, it’s gotten better. Roles have gotten better. Do we have a ways to go? Yes! We have to push to get more flushed out roles.
DD: Do you get to interject your feelings about what the first lady would and wouldn’t do?
LV: Yes, we’re lucky that way. So far, everything has been right on. It’s been about these two people who have a great relationship.
DD: Was today emotional for you?
LV: Yes, it was an emotional today. We’re reinstating the president. The First Lady really wanted him to get through this and kick ass. She’s so supportive of her husband.
DD: What about you personally? This could be your last day as the First Lady.
LV: Yes, we don’t know if we’ve been picked up yet. It is an emotional day. The cast and crew have been amazing. Everyone gets along. The crew is so endearing and talented at what they do. We’ve gotten close in a short amount of time.
DD: Do you think anything in this show could really happen?
LV: Yes, I do. I love science fiction. I love make believe. I like to pretend.
LV: I’m a busy mom. I have two kids. I’m looking at two projects right now. I have my fingers crossed.
Darlene Donloe is an entertainment journalist based in Southern california. Contact her at DCDwriter@aol.com.