‘9-1-1’: Why Angela Bassett Has to Turn Down ‘A Lot of Things’ Due to Role on Show

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Angela Bassett, who plays Athena Grant on 9-1-1, is one of the top stars in Hollywood. Because she’s so involved in the popular drama, Bassett turns down other roles.

The 63-year-old actress has been a star for almost half her life. She’s probably best known for playing Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It. That role earned her an Academy Award nomination. Tina Turner is perfection, so to play her on the large screen required a ton of talent.

And the star of 9-1-1 said there are other roles she’d like to pursue. She’s real specific. In a recent interview with The Guardian, she described her ultimate role.

“I used to say I wanted to play a queen,” Bassett said. “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.”

But maybe she already had that role. After all, she played Ramonda in Black Panther. And Ramonda was the Queen Mother of Wakanda.

She told The Guardian that she says no to other roles, “Because a lot of things you have to turn down when you’re doing 18 episodes of a series.”

Bassett Stars in 9-1-1 and Serves As an Executive Producer

Bassett doesn’t just star on 9-1-1, she is the series. Ryan Murphy created the show about first responders specifically for Bassett. She’s also an executive producer for both 9-1-1 and its spinoff, 9-1-1: Lone Star. To prep for playing Athena, Bassett did her research with a long-time woman who worked as an LAPD officer.

“I did meet with a sister who’s been a lieutenant on the force in L.A. for about 28 years, getting the opportunity to sit down with her and really capturing a vibe,” the 9-1-1 star told Deadline. “To sit with this woman and just have a meal, talk about experiences, about family.

“If you didn’t know she was a cop and that there was a Glock on her hip at the restaurant,” Bassett said. “You just wouldn’t imagine. … That was really informative and welcome — our day-to-day consultant was able to make that happen. He’s there every day to make sure that I’m doing right in the way that I handle a gun, and I’m safe with it, and I look legitimate.”

First Responders Show Leads All Fox Dramas

Bassett is golden for Fox. 9-1-1 represents the network’s top-ranked scripted drama. The only Fox show that ranked higher than 9-1-1 last season was The Masked Singer. That’s a reality show, not a scripted drama.

Fox showed how much it appreciated the 9-1-1 cast by giving them all big raises. Bassett’s salary was bumped to $450,000 an episode, so she doesn’t need other roles. She’s believed to be the highest paid Black actress ever to star on a scripted network series. Forbes ranked Sofia Vergara as the highest-paid woman on TV in 2020. On Modern Family, she made $500,000 an episode. The comedy ended its run in 2020. And Vergara also received big money for serving as a judge on America’s Got Talent.

Bassett and 9-1-1 are readying for season five. The premiere is set for Sept. 20. Spinoff 9-1-1: Lone Star is set for a spring premiere for its third season. Stay tuned!

Outsider.com