What does it feel like to take a hit from one of the greatest movie and television actresses on the planet? Not too bad actually, if you ask 9-1-1-star Rockmond Dunbar. In fact if anything, the star notes, the hits feel incredibly good. Almost like an honor.
“They look horrible, but they feel good,” Rockmond Dunbar told Assignment X of his costar’s swings sent in his direction. “Because they’re coming from Angela Bassett.”
I guess that’s what happens when you’re known as one of Hollywood’s fiercest women – your co-stars will take the hits, and they will feel honored while doing it.
But, really just as Dunbar notes, in what world wouldn’t it be an honor to star opposite 9-1-1 actress and Hollywood icon Angela Bassett? Even if you have to absorb a couple of right-hooks here and there, it certainly would be worth it.
In the popular Fox television series, Dunbar portrays the former husband to Angela Bassett’s 9-1-1 character, Athena Grant; a field sergeant for the Los Angeles police department.
Athena Grant and Dunbar’s character, Michael Grant, were married for several years as the show began its run in 2018.
It quickly became clear, that the two characters were locked in what would quickly become one of television’s most strenuous and tumultuous marriages.
An Unconventional ‘9-1-1’ Relationship
It was fairly late in life that Michael came out as gay; however, the couple decided to try and work on the marriage. This effort is mainly part of the couple’s effort to keep a sense of normalcy in their home with their two children, daughter May, who is portrayed by Corinne Massiah, and son Harry, who is played by Marchanthonee Reis.
Despite their efforts in maintaining the marriage, both Athena and Michael quickly realize that their efforts were not helping their family, but rather making an already tense situation a little worse.
The couple soon realizes that their efforts to stay together are having disastrous effects on their home lives; primarily the lives of their young children. In the latter part of 9-1-1’s premiere season, Athena and Michael decide to officially split.
“I do get slapped around quite a lot by Ms. Angela Bassett there,” joked Dunbar of his heated on-screen relationship.
“And you know what?” the actor asked. “I take those hits well.”
Representative of Today’s Relationships
While the relationship between Rockmand Dunbar’s 9-1-1 character and Bassett’s Athena Grant may appear to be fraught with many issues, Dunbar says that it is anything but. In fact, the actor says the relationship is “amazing in every way,” instead.
“It’s complicated,” he says. Adding that there are so many components to his and Athena’s relationship.
“It’s uplifting, t’s a downer,” Dunbar explains. “It’s a mixed-orientation marriage.”
Dunbar adds that he feels the relationship between Athena and Michael is representative of today’s America.
“Adults getting to an age where they’re trying to figure out who they are because they didn’t do the work before,” Dunbar said of the characters
“And we’re watching that unfold before our eyes,” he continued. “I think it’s beautiful.”
9-1-1’s fifth season is set to premiere tonight, September 20 on FOX.