Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
September 23, 2007.
may not know Sophina Brown by name. Chances are you will recognize her
face though, now that she has a lead role as the L.A. prosecuting attorney
who has become the ďvoice of reasonĒ on the popular CBS drama Shark
opposite James Woods.
extremely talented actress received a BFA in Theatrical Performance from
the University of Michigan. Since graduation she has built an extensive
rťsumť that includes guest appearances in dozens of television shows,
dramatic and musical theater on and off Broadway and a supporting role on
the silver screen.
passionate about acting as her character, Raina Troy, is about the letter
of the law, Brown had wanted to be an actress for as long as she can
remember. Now, she has set her sites on perfecting her craft, enjoying
her starring role on Shark and working towards her dream of giving
back to the acting community.
You have already built an impressive body of guest
starring roles on series Ė including
Without a Trace, NUMB3RS
and Hack. With Shark now heading into its second season,
are you enjoying your first lead role on a prime time drama?
Yes, itís a much different ball game though. I get
to live with this character week after week and find out different nuances
and character flaws and learn how she will react to different situations.
The writing is just so wonderful for her, too, so itís great.
What is it like working with so many fine actors Ė
including the James Woods Ė who is considered to be one of the greats?
Well, it just makes you bring your ďAĒ game every
single day. I feel that especially [with] JamesÖ he raises the bar. So
itís been a learning experience for me, but also there has been a lot of
growth in my work. Thereís been a lot of professional growth as well as
personal growth. Building and maintaining relationships on and off the
set has been great.
it at all intimidating when your first started working with him?
Oh yeah... Absolutely! I meanÖ heís iconic. The
thing about James is he brings such a theatrical energy to the set. Heís
just across the board a fine actor in every single medium. So every
single take is different and you never know what heís going to do because
heís so unpredictable.
It must be interesting to work like thatÖ
Yeah, it is great but at first you wonder if you are
going to be able to keep up with him. You donít want to be the weak
link. That was definitely going through my head on the first few weeks on
Do you feel you can keep up with him now?
Well now itís like his un-predictability is
predictable so itís much easier. (laughs)
A lot of fine movie actors like James, Holly Hunter
and Glenn Close are making the jump to series TV. Why do you think a show
Shark would be so
intriguing to them?
When you are doing a movie it has a beginning,
middle and an end. Itís kind of a nice neat package and itís great Ė itís
artistic and itís creative. But, when you take on something as
challenging as a series, itís like you have this huge arc to the
character. Week after week you just never know where the character is
going to go. You get to play more because itís always going to be a
different, unique situation and you get to figure out how the character is
going to respond. I feel that itís just artistically gratifying to know
that you can just go all over the map you never know whatís coming at
you. That has to be appealing to someone like James Ė who is used to
working on a film for maybe three months tops and then itís over.
Your character is very idealistic and passionate
about the letter of the law while Shark is more of a win at any cost and
push the envelope kind of lawyer. How do you think your characters
compliment each other and make for an interesting drama?
Well, because there is conflict there. I feel like
whenever thereís opposition, thatís when you get drama. So, we kind of go
head to head and a lot of the times we have a different agenda. And the
really interesting part about playing this character with James is when
our agenda matches. You know, how that changes our relationship and
seeing how we have to team up. I mean our characters kind of went through
a morphing. We were so at each otherís throats at the beginning of the
first season. Then there was an episode where we were both taken hostage
and around that time you saw the edges soften a little bit. We kind of
latched on to a camaraderie having just gone through a difficult situation
together and the characters [became] closer. In the second season, you
are going to see that they are not quite as far on opposite ends of the
spectrum anymore. Thereís going to be a new character thatís going to
present some challenges for him.
you think that Raina more than the other lawyers on the show was put in
place in the first season to try and keep Stark in line when others
I definitely think they wrote her that way Ė as the
thorn in his side.
Do you have a favorite episode or story line from
season one where you really felt you were really able to flex your acting
muscles and show what Raina is all about?
I really liked working on the hostage episode.
That is one of my favorites because we were in that courtroom day
after day after day. That was one of the only episodes that we actually
shot in sequence. So, it was really nice to work like that because so
many times itís kind of disjointed and you donít really know how itís
going to fit together. Youíre doing the end at the beginning. That was
an episode where we really went scene by scene and the emotional
development was so fulfilling to work like that. I always enjoy episodes
when you really see the other side of Raina, especially with the Isaac
character, her love interest. I like when you can see that more feminine,
more vulnerable side where her guard comes down and sheís not so tough.
She has this guarded demeanor about her so I love when you see those
little cracks in the steel.
Do you know of any new and exciting story lines
being written for Raina in the second season?
I do... The second episode of the season is not
going to be as procedural in its format because itís a very personal
episode. Iíll say that. And in the first 30 second of the show you are
going to see her in a very different light.
Are there any fantasy episodes that you as an
actress would like the writers to write for Raina?
I would actually love to see her just fail. I mean
just completely drop the ball and not have things tied up in neat
packages. I just want to see her struggle and get her hands dirty. She
is so by the book and she has this sense of integrity and she is so
passionate about justice. I kind of want to see what would happen if
Raina makes a really bad decision and has to deal with the consequences.
you have any say with the writers about what lies ahead for Raina?
No. I trust my writers so much and they write for
her so well that Iím always really excited to read the next script and see
what sheís going to do. Itís always great. I think they would
definitely be open to have a conversation about future episodes, but they
already have so many scripts written. But I think they would be open to
Spike Lee directed the pilot episode. What was it
like working with him?
Oh, heís just a genius and watching him workÖ well
he was another person that at first I was very fearful, but that only
lasted about 30 minutes. Then I was like, this is a once in a lifetime
opportunity and I have to take advantage of this. I was just like forget
it, Iím not going to let this paralyze me. Then I just became very open
and said ďHey Spike, whatís up?Ē and gave him a hug. Then it was so much
fun working with him. He just has this method to his madness and you
never knew what he was going to do. It was a very exciting time in my
While you have mostly done drama on TV, you did
appear in several episodes of the
as well as appearing on Strangers with Candy and Committed.
Do you enjoy comedy and do you feel itís
easier or harder to do than drama?
I do enjoy comedy but I donít know that I would
consider either easier or harder. That is actually what I do most often.
Itís something I grew up doing and it comes more naturally to me. I very
goofy. Iím so not Raina. I mean really, if there is a cord to trip over,
or a door to run intoÖ well then Iíve done it. Iím just a mess.
(laughs) I feel that physical comedy is just a natural for me. But I
am so enjoying this really.Ö Really, really enjoying it.
You had a supporting rule in the movie
Because I Said So. How is movie making different from doing TV?
Oh, itís SLOW! I wasnít used to that. I mean, even
in theater where my roots are, while itís not as fast as television, you
have deadlines and in a rehearsal you may work on one complete act but
when I was on the movie set it was like, ďOkay you guys, weíre going to be
here for fifteen hours and we are going to shoot a page and a half.Ē That
baffled me. I would think; how is this moving so slowly? Definitely I
had to learn to bring a book to read.
you just mentioned, you are no stranger to theater doing stints in the
Broadway cast of
The Lion King as well as
Jesus Christ Superstar and Fame. Do you have a musical or
dance background and is that something you would like to do more of
You know, I was never trained for musical theater.
Itís something I just kind of stumbled into and I have been very fortunate
to do it. My first job was in musical theater. So, itís one of those
things that when Iím not doing it I think, wow, I would just love to do a
musical. Then when Iím in the middle of it; What was I thinking? This is
so hard. (laughs) I did one this past summer on my hiatus and it
was just so much singing. I was overwhelmed at first because Iíve never
had to sing this many songs, back to back and she never left the stage.
Then when I was in the middle of the run, I thought wow, I actually did
it. I met this challenge and it ended up being one of the most fulfilling
experiences of my life. It was the highlight of my hiatus. It was a
musical called No Strings and Diahann Carroll originated the role on
Broadway in 1952 and she actually came to opening night. No one told me.
You were probably better off not knowing she was
Exactly! I said Ďthank you for not telling me!í
But I saw her, she came to see me after the show. It was just amazing and
my first response was I started crying. I mean sheís legendary! And she
gave me her blessing and I was so happy. She was lovely.
I believe that you just moved to LA from New York
when you got the role in
Shark? Was it a
big adjustment getting used to the LA lifestyle?
No. Well, it was an adjustment but it was a welcome
adjustment because I am originally from Michigan and New York is great and I
loved my time there but itís really a hustle. Even going to the grocery
store, I would have to go on two trains just to get there. Because of where
I grew up, I love jumping in my car and taking a drive. I really love
taking road trips and I missed that there. I couldnít have a car there and
it made me feel confined. I just love the sunshine and the weather here in
LA Ė the space and the freedom to just jump in my car and take a ride to
Santa Barbara. But I always go back to New York at least twice a year to
see friends and get my theater fix and see as many plays as I possibly can.
I do still have a strong love for New York but I couldnít imagine living
there permanently and eventually starting a family there.
How would you like for people to see your career in
My first love is theater and I would love for people
to see a trained actress who is just multi-faceted. I am not opposed to any
medium but I always like to come back to theater. I would love to do other
things on Broadway Ė like a play, but not necessarily a musical. Eventually
I would like to start my own theater company here in Los Angeles putting on
productions. That is something I am definitely working towards. I also
want to be able to create opportunities for other people Ė whether through
the theater company or giving people jobs and directing or producing. I
definitely would like to be at the stage of my career where I can pick the
projects that Iím passionate about and help others that might just be
starting out in whatever capacity I can.
You mentioned youíre from Michigan. Do you ever get
My family is from Michigan and Ohio and I do get
back there. I was just there in January and I would love to get back there
in the fall for a University of Michigan football game. Hopefully that will
us Let us know what you
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