Why 'The Connors' Star Maya Lynne Robinson Says Her Character 'Isn't Afraid Of Anyone'
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Why 'The Connors' Star Maya Lynne Robinson Says Her Character 'Isn't Afraid Of Anyone'

As one of the stars of ABC’s The ConnorsMaya Lynne Robinson has a pivotal role on one of ABC’s biggest shows.

In the series, she portrays Geena Williams-Conner, the wife of D.J. (Michael Fishman).

Robinson recently had a Q&A with Shadow and Act in which she discussed her role, her theater background, superhero ambitions and more!


Tell us about your audition process for The Conners. 

It was mid-July and my manager called me to say I had an audition for The Conners. They had changed the name of the character for security purposes, but I knew it was Geena.  I went into Susie Farris’ office to tape with her. We did two takes, I believe. I didn’t hear anything for three weeks and then we got an email for a test appointment in three days. At the time, Geena was listed as a recurring guest star with the potential to be a series regular. I walked into the room, tested with Sara and a week later, my manager and agents called to tell me I got the part. I literally dropped to my knees in pure shock and joy. It was double joy because Sara also called me that night to welcome me to the family. The process was a pretty short and surreal experience.

 

Your character brings spunk to the family. What else do you bring to the Conner household?

Geena is the grounded voice of truth. She doesn’t sugarcoat or mince words. You know exactly how she feels with very little said. Geena is the only one who isn’t afraid of anyone, hurting them or loving them, though it feels like tough love at time. She has very strong, conservative family values, a military discipline and a quick wit. Geena is who I want to be when I grow up.

Styling: Ebony Brown Make Up: Jared Lipscomb Photography: Joshua David Powell Hair: Maya Lynne
Styling: Ebony Brown, Make Up: Jared Lipscomb, Photography: Joshua David, Powell Hair: Maya Lynne

You have a huge theater background, how do you prepare for those dramatic roles?

Yes, the theater is my home, my foundation. I love backstory! Lots of backstory and playing. I have to create character. Yes, there is a part of me in every role that I play, authenticity is key, but you have to decide where your characters come from, their background, how they walk, talk, think in the world.  I pay attention to time periods, circumstances and dynamics. I can tell you what each of my character’s “A Day in the Life” looks like because I’ve done the work. Acting is about “being”, but it’s also about research for me.

 

In Dead Women Walking, you play a mother awaiting execution for murder. When you speak to your son, where did draw your inspiration? What was it like working with Ashton Sanders?

First of all, I was in tears from the moment I read the script.  There was something about Helen that spoke to me. I wanted to play her from the moment I read her. The script told me most of what I needed to know. She was young when it happened, and she was still young-minded. She didn’t even remember her favorite food. I went slow; dissecting line by line, everything she said with a wide-eyed innocence, sincerity and a little bit of fear. She had spent half of her life in the prison system, giving birth to a son she would only meet once- hours before her execution. That love she felt for him through her drawings and the self-worth she lacked due to circumstances told me everything I needed to know.

It was great working with Ashton!  We didn’t audition together. We didn’t even meet until our wonderful director, Hagar Ben- Asher yelled “Action!” for the first take. Everything about us was organic. We looked at each other, trusted one another and were both open to play. It was a beautiful experience. Funnily enough, I didn’t know he was the kid from “Moonlight” until after lunch, but it didn’t matter because he was who he needed to be for me, he was my son.

What would be your dream role? 

I would love to play/create a duplicitous character that shifts from one extreme to another. I like to show range. Maybe a superhero or a person dealing with multiple personalities. A spy would be fun to play, as well!

 

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