We spent this weekend binge-watching a thrilling new series on Netflix called “Seven Seconds” which follows the family of Brenton Butler in their struggle or justice after a white cop accidentally hits and critically him. The attempted cover-up and its aftermath, which include extreme racial tension and the trial of the century… From creator and executive producer, Veena Sud (The Killing) comes Seven Seconds – a thrilling new anthological crime drama that explores the human stories behind the headlines.
Watch the trailer below:
What did you think? We had the chance to talk to one of the show’s stars, Russell Hornsby, who plays Brenton’s father Isaiah Butler.
BOSSIP: How is “Seven Seconds” different from so many of the headlines we see typically about white cops killing black kids?
Russell Hornsby: This not your typical drama. The story has been ripped from the headlines in terms of a black teen who is slain by a white police officer, but normally you never really get to see what happens to the family. This kind of rips the curtain off and shows what happens once the cameras go away. Specifically in our storyline, what happens to the family, how they were affected, what happens to the parents, what happens to them as a couple as husband and wife, and probably more importantly what we haven’t taken note of, is what happens to black men… What happens to the husband. What happens to the father.
I think oftentimes we’ve seen these stories through the lens of the mother, and rightfully so. I just think we’re at a time where there are fathers are there, there are fathers who did raise their sons and there are fathers who are affected by the tragic death of their child. For the first time, we’re able to see how this tragedy of how this affects the man who is given the duty of providing and protecting. When the notion of being able to provide is taken from you and being able to protect is taken from you, how does that affect you internally? And subsequently, how does that affect your relationships?
BOSSIP: Tell us about working with Regina King and the rest of the cast?
Russell Hornsby: When you’re talking about the type of storyline, the type of drama, you need high-caliber actors with some gravitas, you need the kind of actors who understand the drama and the tragedy. These kind of characters aren’t for the faint. So you need people, actors that can go to a depth that isn’t usual. I think what we have with the cast, with Regina, with Clare-Hope and Michael Mosely and David Lyons, are those type of actors. Actors with immense talent and immense compassion. You have to really delve in deep and feel, be a feeling person and humanitarian to really feel that role and the actors on this project have that.
BOSSIP: What kind of research did you have to do for this role?
RH: Being a black man, you don’t have to go far for research. You can look at your life, look at the lives of people around you . I had to go a little bit deeper into my own life. Being a father of two I had to go deeper into the notion that I have to protect my children, I have to keep my children alive. What you realize seeing death by the hand of police or the hand of others, with no impunity you’re in a sense helpless. That’s a scary notion to realize that ultimately in this country, we’re in a sense at times defenseless.
BOSSIP: What do you think about the current state of race in the U.S.?
RH: It’s new plateaus. Obviously, we’re further than we were 100 years ago or 200 years ago and we’ve progressed from where we were 50 years ago but we have a long way to go. There are new plateaus because of what we’re dealing with as a society when we’re talking about teenagers can be killed without recourse, black people can be killed without recourse. There’s still no justice. I don’t think it’s gotten better, I think it’s just changed. It’s also relative. We’re dealing in Jim Crow but we’re still dealing with an undercurrent of racsim that’s subtle. Some would say that’s worse. Also when we’re talking economic disparities, educational disparities that affect black people more disproportionately. There are more opportunities but they’re still just opportunities for some. I think you can’t say just because some people are able to go to school or some people are able to look at a job you can’t say, “Well why can’t you do that?” I think we lose sight of that, even as black people. It’s not that simple. There is a such thing as discrimination. There is a such thing as social injustice and these things affect our community.
BOSSIP: What’s next for you?
RH: I have a film coming up that I shot in Atlanta this fall called “The Hate U Give” based on the Y.A. novel of the same name by Angie Thomas. It was number one on the New York Times bestseller list basicaly for the last year, 45 weeks. I’m looking for that coming out some time in th efall. Myself, Regina Hall, Amandla Stenberg, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, Common. It’s a really great book we had a wonderful time making it. A turned into a wonderful script. I think it’s going to make a lot of noise and really impact audiences.
Hit the flip for photos of the cast and crew of “Seven Seconds” at their screening last week at The Paley Center in Beverly Hills.