Sherri Shepherd has made her name as a comedic actress in numerous projects like 30 Rock, Everybody Loves Raymond and recently in Mr. Iglesias on Netflix. In the inspirational sports drama Brian Banks she shows us even more of her talent as Leomia, the mother of the wrongfully convicted and imprisoned Banks. Melanie Liburd, on the other hand, has been steeped in dramatic work for quite some time now. She’s worked on projects such as This Is Us, Gypsy, Dark Matter and even Game of Thrones. You would think she might want a change of pace herself, but she welcomed the challenge of taking on the role of Karina because of the richness in the character’s story and the journey she takes in the film.
Before the film’s release, I sat down with Sherri Shepherd and Melanie Liburd to discuss how much director Tom Shadyac fought to have Shepherd on the project. Melanie reveals how she didn’t audition for the role in a traditional sense, but instead met with Shadyac over Skype multiple times without realizing that it was doubling as her audition. They also discuss the triumphant power of the story of Brian Banks and why it’s an important story to tell in our world today. Brian Banks also stars Aldis Hodge, Greg Kinnear, Tiffany Dupont, Xosha Roquemore, and Dorian Missick.
Sherri Shepherd and Melanie Liburd:
- How Sherri Shepherd overcame the doubt some people had about her being able to do this dramatic role because of her comedic background.
What Melanie Liburd was able to accomplish during her powerful monologue in the movie because of conversations with Shadyac.
- Shepherd talks about how the powerful story of Brian Banks resonates with her as the mother of a young black son.
Here is the official synopsis for Brian Banks:
The inspirational true story of Brian Banks, an all-American high school football star who finds his life upended when he’s wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Despite the lack of evidence, Banks gets railroaded through a broken justice system and sentenced to a decade of prison and probation. Years later, with the support of Justin Brooks and the California Innocence Project, Banks fights to reclaim his life and fulfill his dreams of playing in the NFL.