*Look for a new ABC drama, “Rebel,” based on environmental activist Erin Brockovich’s life. The series stars Katey Sagal (“Married with Children,” “Sons of Anarchy”) as the lead character, Annie “Rebel” Belo. The show is after the events of the Julia Roberts helmed “Erin Brockovich” released in 2000.
“Inspired by the life of Erin Brockovich today, Annie’ Rebel’ Bello is a blue-collar legal advocate without a law degree. She’s a funny, messy, brilliant, and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves. When Rebel applies herself to a fight she believes in, she will win at almost any cost.”
Lesure’s Benji is a corporate lawyer who was Rebel’s second husband, his sister Lana – Tamala Jones (“Castle”) – still works with Rebel as an investigator. Benji is still an active part of Rebel’s life — even though he works for the greedy corporate suits, the type Rebel is fighting against.
EURweb correspondent Jill Munroe spoke with Lesure and Davis about their roles, what it was like working with Sagal, and if race and the relationships will be story lines during the first season.
Cassidy is in a very unique place. She’s holding a little resentment against Rebel. They don’t always see eye to eye because they are a lot alike. Most times, that creates room for clashing and bumping heads. So that’s her dynamic with her mother. But she is very passionate and loves fighting for what’s right. That they have in common. She’s a vibrant one. She’s in the midst of trying to declare her name for herself and not be connected to Rebel, who is famous. She wants to make her own path and cut the mother off a little bit.
What can I say about Benji? I’m excited to play this young man. He is a driven fellow, a self-made man. He’s a product of this capitalist world – in a good way. He tries to use capitalism to help himself and his community. He’s super confident and super skillful. It’s nice to be in his shoes.
Davis on if the series will explore the dynamics of interracial relationships:
That’s a great question. It’s very diverse, but what I love about this is that we don’t feel the need to talk about how diverse it is. Because then that’s putting a magnifying glass on race all over again. It’s about love and family dynamics. Even the workplace is diverse – which is a beautiful thing – and that’s very intentional from our showrunner Krista (Vernoff). But, I also love the fact that we don’t have to talk about, ‘oh, you’re mixed, or you’re that, you come from this. We’re just existing, and it’s real for us, and we don’t have to think about color on a day-to-day basis, and that’s refreshing. As a Black woman, not to have to always carry the race and make it such a powerful character and touchy subject. We just exist, and we’re showing a version of America, honestly. We see it a lot more, and there’s a lot more diversity. We see it in commercials now. I love that; instead of putting it on, just be it, show it and prove it. I think that’s what is attracting me about the style of casting on this.
The series was created by three-time Emmy nominee Krista Vernoff (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Shameless) and also stars Ariela Barer (“Runaways”), Kevin Zegers (“Transamerica”), and Sam Palladio (“Nashville”).
“Rebel” debuts Thursday, April 8 at 10/9c on ABC.