Code Black, which I discussed at length here, has been doing pretty well since it launched.
Now, actress Melanie Chandra, who plays lesbian doctor Malaya in the show has sat down with After Ellen to discuss her role.
An interesting question that After Ellen posed to her, is whether or not she knew that Malaya was going to be a lesbian when she took on the role.
Melanie had this to say: “We did not know in the pilot that she was going to be a lesbian, but before the show got picked up to series, the showrunner gave me a call a few weeks before we started shooting the second episode, and he said ‘I want to run something by you. We’re thinking about making Malaya gay. What are your thoughts on that?’ and A) I thought it was really cool that the creator of the show was asking me what I thought about it and B) I said I think that’s a really strong idea and I’d love to do it.”
“I think it adds a whole new element for Malaya, and it’s something I can get behind, and I’m really excited to play and tell the story not often told on network TV. I’m sure you guys keep count of every single gay character on TV right now…”
“We talked about how it was gonna be told, and she’s just really comfortable about it, no questions asked, this is just who she is and something she owns, and first and foremost she’s a doctor in this crazy emergency room, but she does have a personal life and this is her story. I thought it was a really strong choice and I was ready to get behind it.”
In our previous article on Code Black, we discussed how Shiri Appleby was set to play Malaya’s girlfriend, and Melanie talked a fair bit about what it was like to work with her.
“She was wonderful, she’s extremely talented and very giving as an actress, you know, the hard part about TV is you don’t have very much rehearsal time. You just meet the other actor who you’re supposed to have this long-standing relationship with, and you have to be able to bring that to screen within a couple of seconds. So yeah, it was, we were kinda thrown into it, but we got to know each other through the process and she’s so funny, she’s actually pregnant in real life, so they just wove that into the story.”
“I could see why Malaya is who she is because of Carla (Shiri’s character) and her backstory with Carla, who made her come out of her shell, who made her stronger and step up and be who she actually was. As an actress, it was a great opportunity to go through that with someone in real life too! She’s got so many great things going for her, and she’s more seasoned as an actress, so I definitely look up to her as well. It was a very natural dynamic that we were able to pull off.”
Read the full interview with Melanie at After Ellen.