Carmen Ejogo talks 'True Detective' and co-star Mahershala Ali

Carmen Ejogo appears on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" and talks about finding her onscreen rhythm with co-star Mahershala Ali.
22:43 | 05/29/19

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Transcript for Carmen Ejogo talks 'True Detective' and co-star Mahershala Ali
Railed today. To have as my guess Carmen you know. Whose work I'd just think it's spectacular. Key issues we're we're gonna start today talking about what you did with true detective on season three because. And meet people I know you're out there and you're thinking this over and meg look at that faith. And he should remember yet but it. But you know everything that you've done from playing Coretta Scott King. From being the president of match it. And to have custody. Yes what is that the magical congress and make peace. I. The the president of the American was his associate of course you are that's my a couple of its. I political flam half and that's what that balloon borne threat you mean anything yeah but I'd I'd read a quote from me that I just want to ask you about before we can start to get into this you know what because it is probably too late it doesn't sound like. You'd say he says something about Hollywood. Not knowing what to do with someone who looks like year. That was true I would say when my last night out. Optimum time oh c'mon and in this today I don't know what to do with beautiful and intelligent man in town. You know I what I think I'm meant when I set that was that Abbott taught when I first got life has kind the states and spotted working. Which will he bout the nineties. And that's quite different whoever act right now on the industry as well good so much he had this been sought positive shift that's happened possibly five. 56 years that recently so when I thought came in may be tiny five do you think the map Nam. Won't be a debate he. Let. With the staff. I I think that I had ambitions myself as being leading citizens of doing some kinds of growth that we see areas had real. Gumption and and I wanted to be more than just of the gulf Randall Batiste. Yeah. Extra curricula packed in this in the navy and act that thing that the industry was quite ready to hit me in the position. Because I'm not it's. Not a white well let you know that I was the time I was you know I it seemed like it was my best is now acting on the news that's what you told. That the ice well yeah that's what they tell you that flake eight to ten years writer right right like this and then goodbye it was back in the home. But what I didn't Nadia was that she might mind wield the understanding of myself and my luck and Mike croft and what I was meant speed dating. Wasn't gonna come too late might the industry knew that yet either and it's. 25 years ago. I kind of was. I was not I didn't have a place I didn't they didn't want to deal with me. I think I'm so glad I stuck habit I had kids and I went to other things for that and then and backed back to an industry that finding it figured out that you can have someone that's a real woman. That's not a 22 year old and that can be the time she's most viable. And that doesn't this issue can be of Kong that can be really a viable identities. And that she can even sometimes when Heston but not selling crazy in the back can be a cake of Latin she had moments well I would. Be back with getting its album and that the executive this year behind the wouldn't do that have you know maybe that kind of reactions when he is it's so much has changed. I'm so glad because it means that I get so reaped the benefits back and it also means that. When act is coming behind me at getting to really. Enjoy a possibilities without having to go through all kinds of ridiculous and securities that I have to navigate. Let's just Easter detective as it as a way in Q I've discussing your career and what's happening with because on the surface. It would look like okay we're Herschel Lee is the star. He's the detective who's been trying to solve this crime and he has. Some woman he meets who they lived together they have children together but those eight episode. Move along. Your character. Just take whole. Gas and as he. Is waking up. To who you're care cure. Totally we're seeing things through is that you traction. Yeah make he said to detective that is perfect in this new world that we. And I think you have a fat that this is the carrot. That is allowed to sell actually lies a campus it's really flourish. As a woman that has had a family that has spent good he is trying to release the would be the crust to a man that needed that's the support. And has found her way to the other side of that and they still viable and is still going. Becomes the awesome she wants to see all of those things exciting to me to exploit to bring the screen because that's so much. That's so much the journey so many women you know that it it it's with time and width. Self acceptance that you you get that place and and to make its last has great credit he be understood. Women of this woman that that was at Janney that was kind speaks licensed hospital. And it's funny is that different audience. When he first me she doesn't she doesn't all for the gets in the way it's who he does reading this is going to be somewhat. Archetype full. Dynamic between. Between weigh in in the media does he would it be what would it get to be more than that and and nick -- something that is really quite to marry and late on Wright got seeing. To allow me it's become this pact that guys from some in his right on the state it and quiet you know manage me. With voice white noise I flew down and to some degree when pressed me she's quite reflective. Of wines has not see and then by the end by Saturday she's really become. Nick's secret weapon in theories of even when dad yeah after an easy is a self conscious company they had been collecting employees. There's some many ways in which she really. Takes hold of the Shah. And and Allen sees it coming which is quite the you know sometimes the cats will just like fashion haven't read the script like a case that I can see how Iceland just. Beat glorious history be so obvious how. Is going to be you know that some amazed by outskirts yet right exactly and then I'm not a pact is a very quiet that need to be Ritson. But that shops is exciting to do if you get it right that was the challenge for this was to find a way to sleep. Unravel and to sort of bring to life and paying off the page as as a as the acts that employed. Something that was. Delightfully written but that is so quiet in ways and such incidents. Repeal. Fat sometimes the Ottawa then than the thing that slight. I. Well to being here I am is part sustained over eight hours. I don't quote. There's something about your work where where you do something that makes us come here. Which to me is the best compliment I can get that actor Richard you're not writing it all out for us thing here. Here's the clip notes for you to understand it is. Use you watch and you understand. Does this give you this particular project gave you the time as an actor. To develop this it's television so it could be more rushed. Wasn't. Wu well. It was in an overwhelming it was paid actress. And I really hats and have in the back of my head on dateline. That that was news to me in off any halftime. I sometimes a little bit television and you unity and the fuss at this I mean you know you have a sense of the if you but. But you go to them piecemeal with this for many reasons had to really know it or have in my head from day one when lines and a complete understanding or time lines because they would jump and shoot things that Latin acted like timeline. Thing that nick likes to do. We united for that reason and then Olson had just beak is. How. Real sense. What the shape of things with the for the season. It was important to just stopped. Wave with all of that in the in the U in my day to rank and I'm not that was a lot of material. And pilot escaped those it was it was quite overwhelming. But we did we kind of had enough time. To get it again I don't know how hard you are you mean well. Aaron little are ahead you can tap the bat of right to do but is there a moment not. Like I mean I think this is my best scene this is it but that when you look at you in this season three true detective. That you can look at even a moment and say. I got close to being satisfied with and coming coast what I wanted to do that thing is there a moment. Gosh I mountain. There you know humans. When they make into the screen. Is often it's time to act as you know from lazy day thing that you or if I admire that ending yeah they got leaving it to history that. There a couple of scenes between my question I'm wecht and I think it's because we sat in the truth of the rhythm of the thing. But even that like how often was light not really sure what my presence like he wasn't really sure what I was doing I was day. Fine you I felt very confident in knowing I just trusted the way it was written. And even if on the day it out very disjointed at times and often did between Ian time. I just need that it was going to feel really authentic. When it was pitch again I just knew it and so. There is that there a couple of scenes at the scene at the dinner table between he nine when when it was one of those. Things with a beat just wasn't really it was just all of it just felt all of ands. There's a scene of the one of the buses I had to fill. Me and him the in the school in the classroom. And I'm. And I'm you know it's this very strange that chemical energy between he and I made the two taxes. As a lot of subtext and that's being spent and and again I I can just how I was really sixteen in the right way. At it sometimes seems feel as though they satisfying. The obvious opt. And sometimes seems. It's it's. Is it I don't know. What came from the camera and or for the direct them but I know I was looking at the time. And when I was able to trust that stuff. That's really the stuff I'm proudest of that from. This'll poetry. Go back to the shot because now I know oh lead when what you were raised in London yeah. Raced in on bothers from Nigeria. Discussing this seat when a company. I was right on the best time to have been Mason Unck in my opinion in the eighties when it was like the epicenter of the best music but best. Cults. Best everything I think. And so really interesting swell of pop culture always happening around me. And I grew up in a pretty crazy house I think you know I was one of that axes I've met many of you know let hatch act potty just deal with crazy Nissen. So that some of that. But I also I just was in an environment and going from the UK and in London whacked acting was treated crop and the passion. And the others say it's and what was on the television. Four channels. What was almost four channels with typically eat that American TP. His wife and enough with Americans in mind that American television. Bowl I'm not losing CDC. Television dramas all like the best backs of today. So I just had this real. Law school the croft of apple. And but what gets to that point where you think I'm dean yeah well I had refused. Things I dabbled with along the way I was in the music with. Didn't open what you do you United's up taxables phrase but at some point I had seen make that decision. She take it really seriously slight slight rise relaxes you favorite cajun seasons. And got. Eight back. And got lucky on Asian without having gone to jobs go how old son Ernie. Not that. And was just out doing on one of I'm just I'm Hoss I just element that. And so you heard what eleven years old when he did this movie. That would lead David bowling yet the fat and I want a child act that would like one of these W just send it for this opportunity shortly. We all just somebody well gotten through. Would you do this now Taipei I was not Kidd I try yeah flights. And the G for some people in the business and the KG I would be lapses try some things as maybe. Collapse of the Guinness which was just an incredible experience I had some of those. Went unique and it's like fake. Cake shop and that you make fun than net like fantasy repaid and then. In the next it would be David Botti tap dogs and practicing you know mechanic at Neitzel creek and the parents. Hi campaign for bad and just like and made the normal life. Yet well it was I knew it wasn't I knew it Watson and I know more about it was not one I came from I am working I was working cops go. He came up. In a family. Educated people teaches but not practices and nothing like. And so just decided at some point that I was gonna get my full energy and back and just hustled my way. Her eyes he did say it if you don't every regular old Soviet always a lot. You know bumps in the road you're down. And how you get from that. And how you're doing all these things and then suddenly you're playing Coretta Scott King not once but twice yeah I heard boycott. And the ten. You're playing cards Selma he asked so how is this all. You know I think I without even knowing I think I've been a manifest them from a very young age I think I've been something that's just. That's just had a sense of what I believed I was cave along and went for it. And didn't read the hair and didn't hit it couldn't happen does nothing in my story. He saw when I grew up a piece if you need a dysfunctional came from is nothing. That would mean I'd be doing what I'm doing right now but some people I think. Find them slip past the bears let's not seat that is what you need to keep guy in the game like ten times. As people. And guess you learn from the people you work with and you're lucky in that sense that there's a lot of very did people that you are. It in some especially with David Burnett and end David a yellow and making this did you meet Coretta Scott. I think it's. And she gave me the ultimate blessing she sold boycott which is the past eight happened she'd be approved at the performance. So an Angel that's the best end idea and it's a when and that anyone ever sort of like you know food queries were indicted a British go playing. Saying this great icon I I you I remind myself that the woman herself. Was satisfied with what he so this means life that makes it so wonderful and gave me the courage and the self belief I can do it again in a way that was going to be was me in Selma and I would hide that. She'd be proud about with two very different from the facts. You know who she was in 1955 was a very different wooden. She was just he is before and you've got to do it booked my dad he and I think that's an incredible opportunity and made it into it that you seized beautifully. And I'm in so thankful to Avis the recognizing that I would have. When adults understand that it would be a very different before it can be very different kind of thing if you and the nation. And and that whole movie was just such a Trout blaze such an important moment in the. Great man isn't yet written in every way you know I mean I think that's one of those moves they get to live. Yeah yeah that they don't come out and then they're forgotten it. It really let apps but you have just jumped around you've got a hand on in the show to do you do sparkle. And. I'm sucked out of Matt Roth IRS won't be hopeful about all I look a little thoughts there that weren't being given this whole thing. And Whitney Houston's your mother that I was an experience like incredible ipads and reading amazing people's wet with my and a vote was with any. I've let we've Kenneth fat ass time and acts some of the great direct taxes. He's. I've I've. Been very fortunate in that sense I've had. Great people to remind myself of what to thankful. And then how she wants an excuse can what's not left standing here but the regular is who. But this is why we wanted to do you know and you seem to be able to resist. That because I I would I mean. I really love the top available I'm me believe in the croft of it and I'm not here for another reason if it's. If it's really about the war them all. Like pool that would you take a question or two from the world that's an hour and we'll see what happens there. Oh this would be bound to two detectives surprised by the ending the series play out for you the week on that would. A case and as I haven't seen them. What what happens is immediately dies but there is no real explanation in the shows why. So we cannot fountain mine to mine is it's actually out there in the way out on the DVD special hands. But what happens I think was that that you know that isn't that any great scenes from all of us but just didn't end up in the final. Cot. What right that they. Necessarily. Was anticipated how much do you react to the fact that they didn't get full closure list what happens my heart and the cases. It sought to import taxes that people want it back. So. Yeah I mean I know that that it exists out now I know we filmed that. I wished for the audience and they've got to see this is the first time you've been on the show so you don't reignite and it's great and I wish you combat them. And haven't scratched the surface but. We and install. Just done little bit. Who do you I think and hold you I've I've signed the auction human actions you can. Might. Hates. All of them go the simple Jane's I'm gonna trying to sound out crying at the refinancing not commit my real love is glad to get the most honorable thing. The annual community. I think it yeah. Tent has many cried from Barry's that have been my hope we can call it. But I'll tryouts Fries. God hang. When I was Jan. Because yeah. I have backups own I have about doesn't let me try you can help him run the Rockford art I'm open to send me. The song my mom and I was saying as I would walk to. Sick trying to get to change thing to get into Bettis go sunlight can be changed my life. The bats Weizman in the OK I'll try out time. Not content it. I have a give me some help is. I was doing it myself I was going to. Mind. OK how about. I was given was routes. From. Shining glad that I mean. Man may agrees is seeing do list I the years. That singing time this simple mind to me. Jamie little Jean love me. Help me can't let it. Well well it would be. 09 all moaned but it was this. I'm a nightmare along the he not not. Just you know great that you brought that force fly and then when I arrived here here. We opened I think I gather that soon I will do it then they're back in any of that say he has owned. The place front and back.

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

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