MALCOLM BARRETT: Hi, Marie, you seem to be very excited.
Yes, because “Timeless” is one of the best shows on TV, and I just love it. Can you talk about your character?
MB: Marie, you’ve got great taste [laughs]. I play Rufus Carlin, a time traveling black man. He’s an engineer and part of the team that created the time machine. He is really awesome, a genius and insecure every-man.
What does it mean to you to be in this role and part of the diversity and inclusion conversation?
MB: It means absolutely everything. This is the sort of thing I would love to watch as a kid. I grew up on sci fi and these sorts of genre shows. I’m happy to a part of the conversation, especially a black man who time travels. We’re few and far between and to actually see African American characters in this genre is exciting. To be honest, I think some writers are afraid to write about these sort of sociopolitical topics.
Would you say this is a groundbreaking role?
Oh yeah, and I’m very excited. I don’t know of any black dude in a time travel show so to be able to share something with people just like me, and to see themselves represented is just a huge opportunity.
Being first means you’re open to a whole lot of criticism. This is the most epic television show I’ve ever been a part of. Every week we go to a different time period. They wanted this to be the most epic thing on television.
What can you share about the next show?
MB: Tonight we go to the civil war, and the assassination of Abraham President Lincoln.
It’s a beautiful thing to be able to play a 21th century black man who has to go the 19th century and deal with that paradigm. I’ve seen a lot of responses on twitter from people are like, ‘what the hell are you doing? You know a black man ain’t supposed to back in time.’
Are you anything like your character?
I’m very much like Rufus so he’s close to my heart. I grew up a sort of math and science nerd. I grew up in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn. Rufus grew up in west Chicago. For a while, I was going to be a biologist and went to Stuyvesant, the #1 Math and Science high school in New York. I very much recognize what it means to be a smart black man coming from a place where people don’t expect that.
“Timeless” airs on NBC tonight (10-10-16) at 10/9c.
Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]
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