Nikki M. James dishes on role in the FOX legal drama 'Proven Innocent'

The Tony Award winner talks criminal justice, TV and theater.
18:13 | 02/13/19

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Transcript for Nikki M. James dishes on role in the FOX legal drama 'Proven Innocent'
I can't slowly and ABC radio and I at eight delightful. Beautiful talented actor and it's right across from me. Heat line the only Miki and James how are you. Sick and I. I'm exec did talk today I'm excited about what we have to absolutely. Which is a fund nominal new show. Yes it on fox it's a crime drama it really goes into the nitty gritty of the justices which I enjoy because I feel like. You know it's something that is actually he. Tying Lee and real and you can act she looked into the kind of something similar what's going on today. Called proven innocent and it premieres this Friday and Eric Allen are giving nighttime. And eighteen cent at 9 PM. I'm happy to have you because you know WE EEU Russia shall have the critical of the Tony award winning actress and right across from me. Very talented. But of course we are talking about the theories and I want you to everybody a quick synopsis of I can't can correct me if I'm wrong. Did the parents. And I think that additional. Walls around this term. Basically led by Madeleine Scott who was unfortunately. Convicted wrongly convicted of a crime and he works with one of my favorite people Russell learns via and together. They they look into cases for wrongly convicted clients. And you play a lamb when it your name violet ray. Yes violent frightened she's communications direct there. She also holds the pod cast cell I see prelate sixty Debra. Little bit about your character fill us in because I feel like you know for the first episode you're gonna see this wonderful woman here I want you kinda know your role and everything so we think that. The main thing is as its meeting each as a communication. And the only as one of the biggest challenges wrongful convictions is heading the story out we've seen its. Making amber. Ale and I need sometimes all it takes is a little bit of public pension. It will put pressure on the system to meet and writing or at least where shore. At of people we've can actually and so I is deeply passionate she's not a lawyer not technically has actually more of an advocate and out there. Making this broadcast every week violates. Lights on our. And each week we have a new week in the case. And she also runs podcast which is like our biggest you know responsibility at the programs unlike U you're like me here if I'm the you know radio and M what's really cool about that is I I can serve as sort of the narrator concerned as the sort of the conscience of the show where right we talk individual cases expand that to a bigger meaning what is it. What is what happened to this one person what does that mean to the rest of the world what does it mean to people like. On and so were really just trying to an optional anon it's and to view the it's a neat. C because I really feeling it is eat my heart. And I mean again you know having seen efforts at the you really. Do it in this aides. You want justice to be sir and I I feel like you're going to be watching the entire season because not ready for the Ali as the Conrad and unravel here. I don't give too much weight that everybody tune in an end in kind of like you know you have a protagonists have an antagonist it they'll see that side outlines. Minute. Up. I. It also in this area and you'll see that dynamic as it unfold on. This to power for. Powerful series on because again it touches on things real life situation. On that we have seen on you know kind of unfold within our own you don't CNN what not. What your initial thoughts. When you first kind of rag you know although that the synopsis that an and what really drew you to do so I love. Idea that we spend a lot of time in the media urges in television drama and epic drama Ewing like solving the case right and then at the end of the episode at the end of the movie we find the guilty person we put them away and it went. I love that this that this story is about what happens when or F. We get it wrong. Who are the people who are out there doing dirty work certainly researching cold cases trying to find. In some instances the real killer to present or the real you know. Criminally they're not all murder cases. On and I think that there's something so. And pour in about understanding that there are people out there who just are gearing teen at justice is being str. And we want to believe that we always write a week now and so I laugh at their people out there fighting on behalf. You know people in the wrongful conviction. Waiting to take. It's it's. It's not lost on me that the other thing is that the people who usually are serving time for crimes it in. People who don't have access to immediate and don't necessarily my knee. Aren't like. This sexy crime and they mean that in a sense of lake. Not the thing that's going to be right on the cover of your newspaper that everyone's going to be paying attention. And answer we have. Over the course of the season we do smaller crimes are more you know and curiosity more sensational Berry happily it. There's definitely range there absolutely. Al. Now he is different beings scenario of the beacon street from the headlines are they kind of some of them just relieved. Very Erie has so there ripped from the headlines. Meaning none of our cases are. Have a whole full resemblance to real cases that's and that's an unfair it into due to talent people's stories but there all based on similar. Ways in which there aren't wrongful convictions whether it's an identity false confession. And DNA evidence or process or ailments Condo at him. We think there's a lot of ways that these things. Go wrong and I think. Each of art pieces. And elements of realized nieces and they're all very realistic way. Out that they're never they're numbers it's awfully. He'll never be like that's one thing it is on the ninth I eater. Yes OK. Just carry because you save this'll effortlessly like you know FE. Every little minute detail of this this this whole you know peace and in this puzzle how original about the criminal justice system prior to his rolled them should have to get cracks. That isn't really you know what's funny I think. And I like everyone else in the last for six years with the advent a podcasting and radio. Have in absorbed in knees like sort of an untold stories that that podcasters and on these people doing these incredible long form journalism pieces are doing. So I'm a big big fan of cereal all. I'm a big fan criminal though some podcasts Ellison's use. Wrongful conviction podcasts are a number of them and then on I watched making a murderous so I was involved in the same way sort of a lot of people I knew were sort of being turned on to these ideas. And anise Allen my app and I'm a curious send. And started looking for things started seeking out information is urged I wanted to understand and know how it happens and what Indian. I've talked a lot with. Lawyers who represent wrongfully convicted people. And center on wrongful conviction out of western an innocent project. I've met it's time with a number of things season. There's Horry and as the podcaster as a person who is actually really telling the information to our viewing audience astronomy Israeli. Kinda know a little bit of what I'm talking about. So it's being the doing the show has really peaked my interest and hasn't necessarily turn me in exactly into an advocate aren't activists the way violated. I'm starting to tie and that I think I'm I think their stories at eight both on television and other place yet. Absolutely and I mean I think we are in a culture where we are drawn to be. Type of story ask you now on the right idea of justice and justice being served. And you know looking at. Those Hu. I've been through so much at an art. Given that voice in and partly what you do it and what they showed does India and its own way is allowed them to have a voice in May be asked the think global that more excellently cases I think. Think that's true and then also known not to make is seem like this is heaviest show your average and what we also added Mike a lot of light freight. I am not a land is wrongfully convicted she's been out of jail for ten years she's learning how to figure out away in the world you know she's getting some. Unlucky in love moment instant we laugh a little bit too I think the show is really Smart at creating a balance. The happiness of our stories and mr. Perry high stakes are stories and also in his. Telling the mobile life late you know sort of relationship is of the people who are working in the current sound it'll limited. Sexiness and a little bit of like serious mess and a little middle afternoon we have something for everyone should pressure. I mean clearly you know on February of this data this is what you're gonna have to tune in what is the doll that unfolded that it's sexy Smart serious play against. You know I I do have to mention that you know you have while we seen you were well we're gonna see you in this in this theories and senior and other. You because your teeth and probably Darlene and I and I love that I love the fact that you are silvers a tile and I have to I have to ask. On you know how to transition between the two because theater is married to Everett then doing snuff on film and television. How transition for a between the two hopefully well I'm and hopefully it translates. There was island. Isn't there is a few really. The big things that are pretty obvious but it's shocking when it actually hits you is you're not performing for a live audience really can disconnected from the needs results. You know when you work on a piece of you'd -- you work for months and weeks and you perfect performance and you put it up in front of people with like. Eight starts and and certainly whenever happens between the beginning in the and it will happen and you have to be alive in the way communicating. The audience you're hearing them laughing year you're waiting for a laugh that is apparently one that doesn't come you're speeding through you know it's a very it's a living breathing thing. New move to lome. And you do your performance or little peace. And somewhere down the line other people taken over and the added an eight and so. You know I worked on the pilot for the show in March I sought for the first time last matter regular. We may need like how we need is and if it's so interesting so I miss the live audience this thing that I am loving is that Aaron. I really think that acting is about and he. From the actor and also trip right you're just trying to. Approximate a truth that will. Resonate with the people that are watching a statement people common to entertainment weather TV or theater to experience things to heal the feelings of joy a cry. You know have that catharsis and so you're trying to make it. I'm as seamless as possible for the body instantly experience is as real a real cash. And then the so that's the basic thing and hopefully I'm good at doing that. You start working in TV new realize it only. I have to think about where and moving they had their hobbies like little craft things like the little techniques that are different between a Nam and finding it is so exciting for me I'm finding that the more a more IDV. More and more and appreciating. How that technique is on its eve as a better way to tell the story and he'll Leland. And am. And and I'm loving being able to Cuba you know I wanna be a sprinter and I also want around America I wanna do both in east Perez long is everybody let's. Q do you already accomplished it in the back pitcher doing so that's a great crying. I'm just curious supports that people have their own benefits. That you probably jewel in so were centered you know what does the crap what does Mickey's crack. It's this day. My love my home and when I walk onto his age I feel any sage an empty stage any theater. A floor boards in the flies. It's the place that I I learned in he myself only until it always feels like coming home have to say and I'm newly Mary. Back in and just throwing that in narrow. His leg so excited my mother is also thrilled at finally found out and America. Lady Kenyon. Yeah. Yeah yeah urgently I don't care where you do it when you do it just please go ahead. I Loveman. And then he's wonderful. That the one thing that's the hardest part about cedar in the in the Pamela payment to England television is that the theater requires you to and a lot timely from and because I'm at work when everyone else was home. So am I love that when doing television we have we and like tuba skins and two whole days together. As opposed to and in doing it Peter peace finally catch him or clock for the latest quick snack and then maybe 1130 where he falls asleep so. On I think that for my newlywed life is TV life is eight. Yeah well that. He got to amend this thing you can grab on that ain't. Gonna do as did she didn't let him know it. And then swings in the next breath and you know. You exit in front of you always puts it just Ricci does the egg and ground act. Aaron right there aim look at. Still you know I could not. All day but it doesn't of people to hone in the fact that this made the series is going to be. Out on Friday and people hope people will he get from watching this any kind of talk about that and in you know in my eyes that but you would hope. That this really does for people who are an investor timing because again they have so much and does I hope what people sees that. As that a lot of different people consume themselves. In the shadow. I love that part of the reason that make. It there we're gonna be rappers Manning a lot of different kinds of people in the course of the season and hopefully. People say they that is mean as something right and that's is Torre that that means something to me. And I been running into that a little plant hasn't been going on my presser you you meet people who come from different parts in the easy I really am identified with this think there's that. I also think IQ has hope that people. Really seat. That there is that there are people working hard who are you know not represented are in the in the media and not in the limelight who are doing just learned. Also you know I hope they just like income funny every once I would would love people to take away like that again and she's a little bit funny every once in. Selz honor while. Making me. And large will beef meant. I know you need to. A Broadway at least eight looking to do hiding there a couple of projects that I and a ham lamb Diane and am. When I love about being into the come home and wait for a second season a proven innocent. I think every one of you watch is. On is that like I'll have enough time off Cilic really do a little minute inner. There's a piece that that's not coming soon it's in development I really believe in and I hope it happens and I hope I'm. Available to do it dear friend of mine in a town who wrote the music for. Twelfth night is am working and I'm I'm blowing up Shannon she's working on developing a piece about the women's Africa's. And and I think it's them and he's going to be really special and snow is something Manhattan man and you guys here. They lump that means getting at Oracle on Texans a song my hat in hand would be. Amazing we need more of that we need more though we do those really funny lake every time I do a piece of theater or even TV. I'm preening is like. And learning something that I wouldn't have known about otherwise it's the best part about doing this and cheering and doing it on for conviction thing have been working a little bit on the separatist I'm learning about the women who fought for in the right for us women to have the right Devoe. And Howell. People women who died out there trying to fight for ours are right and I am and I and and right now. This isn't even about politics I think there is never a time happy that we as women. And as of eking as a person of color should not should take their responsibility of our civic duty. I think and it's crucial that we. Know that our voices hood and should. Council cents a loss and well of course I am super excited heading out not Friday now. Eight and ninety and and then again on Saturday he wanted and Luna yeah. And water the Yankees stole my idea. Student Nikki and Jane for stopping by ABC radio and visiting me campus earlier this. Talk about proven innocent regulations his sound rooting for you and her finding nests on this yeah. Can't blame siding off. And.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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