She is back on the big screen as an assassin, is reportedly the highest-paid female actor of colour ever for a TV drama – and is moving into producing. She discusses fairness, film-making and why acting is still her first love
Even via a video call, from an anonymous-looking office in New York, against a backdrop of stacked cardboard boxes, Angela Bassett exudes glamour. Dressed down in a sleeveless white top, her hair long and dead straight, she still looks like a million dollars. But it is more Bassett’s irrepressibly expressive personality that leaps out of the screen. She is too self-deprecating and quick to laugh to be hammy, but even out of character she speaks as if she is delivering a monologue: clear and authoritative, with dramatic emphases on certain words, her face and hands in constant motion.
When I ask if there are any roles left she would like to play, she says: “I used to say I wanted to play a queen, because I thought it would be really good for audiences to see a Black queen on their screens, you know, for people who grew up looking at queens not looking too much like me.”