Emmy and Tony Award nominee Brian Tyree Henry recently told the Hollywood Reporter that he is looking closely at roles that portray police officers because he is interested in learning more about law enforcement officers and the challenges they face.
The film, stage, and television actor—who has four older sisters who work in security roles in the Washington DC area—admitted to once begging all of them to leave their jobs following the shooting of 32-year-old Philando Castile in Minnesota in 2016.
Henry told the Hollywood Reporter, “I called my sisters like, ‘Quit your job right now. Not only are you a black woman, but you’re a black woman cop.’ One of them was like, ‘I can’t. I really can’t. I can’t do that.’ I took a step back, I was like, I can’t make her do that.”
He added, “Who am I mad at?”
Henry said his focus is on picking characters he cares about and bringing humanity to the roles.
“I want to do what really speaks to my heart. Navigating these men—these black men—I want there to be a way for people who don’t have access to men like this to realize that they’re still human beings, to realize that their stories are still important, to realize that if you are this man, there’s a representation of you somewhere,” Henry said.
“There’s a reason I’m playing these detectives,” Henry told the Reporter. “The one thing I like about these detectives is it is now putting me in this frame of mind of this person who chose this job—who wants to protect us,” Henry said.
Henry provides the voice of Jefferson Davis—an African American police officer who is the father of a teenage Spiderman by the name of Miles Morales—in an upcoming animated Marvel feature film presented by Sony Pictures.
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