Interview: Antonique Smith talks ‘Luke Cage’ Season 2 and her Fandoms!
We are just a day away from the world-wide release of Season 2 of Marvel’s Luke Cage. Here at Fan Fest, we could not be more excited. If you are looking for us, we are more than likely binge-watching the Season!
One character that will be entering the scene this season is that of Detective Nandi Tyler. Although the backstory of her character is nearly unknown, we do know one thing – that she will be crossing paths with the tenacious Misty Knight. Detective Tyler will be played by Antonique Smith, who has quite a remarkable resume of her own! For those of you music lovers out there, you will certainly recognize her quite amazing and powerful voice!
In 2015, Antonique released her first body of work titled “Love Is Everything”, whose success came from her incredible Kickstarter campaign – which raised over $50,000 in 30 days.
Antonique co-wrote her Grammy nominated single titled ‘Hold Up Wait A Minute (Woo Woo)’. She has also written songs for several television shows including Shots Fired, where she co-wrote the show’s theme song.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Antonique, and she was such an incredible person to talk to!
I have to say, she is also extremely excited for the release of Luke Cage‘s Second Season!
Jules: The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is constantly ever changing and growing, how does it feel to be a part of this amazing comic book gone digital world?
Antonique: Honestly, just absolutely amazing. Goosebumps, Gratitude, Excitement. I’m a HUGE fan of Marvel so I am really honored. I have been a long time fan. They really are the best (laughs). They really never do cease to amaze. Everytime I go to see a new Marvel film or show that they have done, they just blow my mind. Ever since Iron Man you know? Iron Man wasn’t really one of the ones I knew about. I, of course, knew Spider-Man! We all know Spider-Man! They have such incredible and quality work – amazing!
Jules: I know you can’t tell me everything, but what can you tell us about your character in Luke Cage? We are so excited for Season 2!
Antonique: Me too! (laughs) Her name is Nandi Tyler and I am a detective, I’m a badass (laughs) and it was so much fun. Misty Knight and I, as you guys know from The Defenders, Misty lost her arm. I’ve known her since high school and we have a little history. I can’t get too much into it, its not necessarily like we are ‘besties’ for sure (laughs). She lost her arm, she’s not at the prescient and I take full advantage of that on my entrance. THAT is how I enter the scene. You know, throwing a little bit of shade towards Misty Knight who is struggling right now (laughs). I can tell you that much. I do get into some stuff that I can’t talk about because it is Super spoiler alert.
This season is just amazing. If you like the first season, it was great. I was a fan of the first season, but this season is just unbelievable. They wrote the hell out of this season – it was just so amazing. I think that everyone who loved the first season is really going to be blown away this time.
Jules: Were you familiar with the story of Luke Cage before you joined the Netflix show?
Antonique: I watched the first season and absolutely loved it! Before I started the show I did a bunch of research to learn more than what you find out on the actual show itself. The comics and research beyond that. I loved Luke Cage! Luke Cage shows some real light on a lot of real world issues that we have going on in our country and it’s really a fantastic read, he has a really amazing story. I watched the first season and I thought ‘man this is really dope!’ and then here we are with the second season! I got the call and I was just so excited! It has really been such an honor.
Jules: Your character, as you mentioned before, plays across the table from Misty Knight. Do you prefer that ‘head-strong’ and ‘gotta go get ’em’ type of a role? Or do you enjoy some of the more bubbly characters that you have previously played?
Antonique: Yeah, I’ve played both! I really enjoy both of them. There is just something about having a character with layers, you know? A badass woman is just so much fun. It is really the layers that help. Playing one dimensional characters is not as much fun. Having someone who has a certain identity and then there are other things bubbling underneath the surface that they hide or just different parts of their personality – I just love being able to dig in and show those layers. You know, the psychology on those type of things.
But working with Misty Knight – man! (laughs) I come in the scene on Episode 2 and I’m there through Episode 10!
Jules: What was it like working on set with Michael Coulter?
Antonique: Oh my god, Mike is such a sweetheart! He’s so funny too. I guess you could say that Luke Cage is a sweetheart, especially with the ladies. He plays such a badass guy. He never looks for trouble, it comes and finds him. But he puts it down – he handles his business! Luke Cage gets the job done. That’s what so interesting is seeing Michael, this sweet guy, playing this tough character. There were times that me, him and Simone were on the set and it was such a family environment. We worked in a world where everyone was just so excited to come to work every day. We were all grateful to be there! At the end of the day, everyone was always excited to come back tomorrow – and that doesn’t always happen. For four months I shot and I was so sad when it was all over.
Jules: Was there someone on set that really inspired you? Someone who was like your big sibling who you could look up to?
Antonique: Simone! I had a lot of my scenes with her and I will say Simone just really was very encouraging. I’ve known her husband for a really long time and I really didn’t get to meet her until my first day on set. We were in the hair and makeup room and I walked in and was like ‘oh my god!’. Right off the bat we hit it off and it just became this beautiful sisterhood. I definitely had an amazing and encouraging time working with her.
Jules: What would you tell all of us Luke Cage fans out here to look forward to the most in Season 2? Spoiler Free!
Antonique: Oooo! Well there were a lot of surprises in Season 1, like with Cottonmouth. There are going to be a lot of surprises and ‘oh my god!’ moments that you aren’t really going to see coming. You’re gonna be binging, wanting to see what happens next! It is very dark, and very heavy. I can’t say much, but the villains…. the characters… it is all going to be great!
Jules: So aside from Marvel, what are some TV Shows that you like to Binge Watch?
Antonique: Oh man, well first of all Netflix is the best. They know how to do it! Lately I have been watching Black Mirror. I love HBO! West World! I like a little bit of everything. I even watch those competition shows. I have such a diverse taste! I love Chicago P.D, which I was actually just on for a little and I love Grey’s Anatomy too! There are just so many good things out there – it is just terrible! (laughs) It is a good and a bad thing. It’s good because we get to watch all of this incredible content and it is all right there. It’s bad because there is not enough time out there to watch absolutely everything! (laughs)
Jules: You’ve made such an incredible career in the music industry! You co-wrote your own Grammy nominated single and you’ve slayed it on Broadway with your performance in ‘RENT’. Who was your biggest musical inspiration growing up?
Antonique: Thank you! You know, I started singing when I was three years old. I have to say that my biggest musical inspiration was Whitney Houston. When I heard her voice, I became obsessed with wanting to sound just like her. From that point on, I knew that I wanted to be a singer!
Jules: Do you have any other hobbies that you like to do in your free time?
Antonique: Well it’s not really a hobby, but I absolutely LOVE amusement parks! You know Six Flags, Disney – my family and I have a timeshare down in Orlando and it is like our second home. I know Disney back and forth – I don’t even need a map anymore! I love video games and laser tag! I’m kind of like a big kid (laughs). I guess that is why I love all these superhero shows and movies!
Jules: I think that we just became best friends!
Antonique: Yes! So much fun! (laughs)
Jules: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Antonique: You know what? I have actually thought about this! I don’t think I have nailed down the exact one! However, I really do a lot of things all at once. I would love to be able to just be able to get somewhere at the snap of my fingers whenever I want to so I could go back and forth between the East and West Coast to see my family and be everywhere I need to be! It’s something I need more than something I want, I would say (laughs)
Luke Cage Season 2 arrives on Netflix on Friday, June 22nd!