‘All Rise’ Star Simone Missick on Rarely Seeing ‘Messy, Fragile Black Women’ on TV

Audrey Cleo Yap

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As the star of CBS’ courtroom drama “All Rise,” Simone Missick takes playing Judge Lola Carmichael seriously, even if the character isn’t always that herself.

“I’ve got the fortune of coming up after Viola Davis, after Kerry Washington, that showed networks and buyers and audiences that they did want to see [these] stories told,” Missick tells Variety. “I get to be a character that is messy and clumsy and goofy and a little neurotic.”

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She adds that that nuance and multidimensionality is something still not always granted to actors of color in their roles.

“We always see strong women. We often see strong black women,” says Missick. “We rarely see messy, fragile black women.”

Missick is also known for her turn as Marvel superhero Misty Knight on Netflix’s since-canceled series “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist,” a part she says she misses for the stunt training and because it served as a role model for young boys and girls — including her own 7-year-old niece, nicknamed Misty Afternoon.

In addition to starring in “All Rise,” Missick co-stars with longtime friend and Marvel Cinematic Universe star Anthony Mackie in Season 2 of “Altered Carbon” on Netflix. She takes on the lead role of Trepp, a bounty hunter, in the sci-fi cyberpunk series that takes place in a world where humans are able to transfer their consciousnesses into other bodies. The season drops Feb. 27.

Shooting in chilly Vancouver in the winter time proved challenging for the cast, including Mackie, Missick recalls lightheartedly.

“He would get on my nerves. Whoo, he would get on my nerves, but it was a good thing, like a family thing,” she says, laughing.

On whether, in her post-Misty Knight career, she ever thinks about if and when roles will unexpectedly come to an end, Missick says she chooses optimism.

“If I had looked at that door closing and thought, ‘that’s it,’ I wouldn’t have been able to walk into ‘Altered Carbon.’ If I’d looked at ‘Altered Carbon’ as the thing I have to hold onto, I wouldn’t have been open for Lola Carmichael,” she says. “I am the lead on a network show. That is a major opportunity. If I had kept that small vision of what was available and what was possible, then I wouldn’t be here.”

Watch Missick’s full interview in the Variety studio above.

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