‘9-1-1’ Star Vanessa Williams Reveals Actor She Wished She Starred Alongside

by Liz Holland
(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

“9-1-1” star Vanessa Williams has worked with some impressive names throughout her career. Despite the fact that she’s been acting since the tail end of the 1980s, Williams still has unfilled dreams. In an interview with ABS, Williams shared details on one of her latest projects, her recurring role in FOX drama “9-1-1”. 

The 58-year-old actress stars in “9-1-1” alongside Angela Bassett and Rockmond Dunbar. Dunbar portrayed Williams’ husband in the 1997 film “Soul Food.” While talking about “9-1-1”  in her interview, Williams said “I’m hoping to get to work with Angela. I [was] hoping to get to work with Rockmond. But he’s recently left, so he let me know that he and I wouldn’t be onscreen together in that project. But it’s just been a blessing.”

When Williams got the role of a call center expert on the show “9-1-1,” she had some quick learning to do.

Williams’ sister worked as a 911 dispatcher in New York during the 9/11 attacks. Naturally, the actress called on her for advice. Williams described the way dispatchers and police communicate as a “new sort of language.” Williams says of her role on the show that, “being thrown into the fire is a  great challenge.”

Vanessa Williams Talks Starring In ‘Candyman’ Remake

Vanessa Williams has also made headlines recently for her role in “Candyman”– specifically, the 2021 remake of the thriller. The original “Candyman” hit box office in 1992, where Vanessa starred as Anne-Marie McCoy. Anne is a single mother who neighbors the victim of what seems to be a Candyman-related attack. Reprising her role of Anne Marie nearly 30 years later, Williams stepped in to be a part of the remake.

In an interview with Assignmentx, Williams shared how her character has changed over the years. The actress also explains how her approach to portraying Anne Marie shifted from the original film.  “Well, yeah, certainly, it’s a deepening of myself, having been not a mother when I was portraying one with a small baby, reaching for what I knew motherhood to be as an outsider, from having been mothered, and just being around babies. And now, to have a real, visceral experience, having had two sons [in real life], and all these years later, to revisit it, certainly the character deepened,” Williams explained. 

She later continued, “So, the kind of courage it took this woman, who’s a single parent, to raise this beautiful son after the trauma that they lived through…That the whole community lived through, and continues to live through. With the other things that continue to go on, certainly her whole point of view has deepened… She’s living in a certain state of fear that something bad could happen to her child again. That’s a lot of stress for any person to live under, the kind of stress that Black people as a community live under. So, that’s all these layers that the movie speaks to, that certainly are embodied in Anne-Marie’s character.”