Sanaa Lathan Stars In New Audible Original ‘The Justice’, Reveals She Wishes To Portray Her Character Onscreen

"I want to play this in a movie. Let's put it out there," the actor manifested.

Throughout her career, Sanaa Lathan has taken on roles illuminating the Black experience while captivating audiences in dramatic on-screen portrayals. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the iconic 1999 film “The Best Man,” which went on to reach franchise success. In 2000, she was cast in “Love & Basketball,” which continues to serve as the unofficial rule book of how to fall in love. Then in 2018, she taught us how to embrace our hair's natural kinks and coils in Netflix's "Nappily Ever After."

Now, Lathan stars in a new project where her voice is the star of the show. In the Audible Original thriller “The Justice" –out now exclusively on Audible– written by legendary storyteller James Patterson, Lathan steps into the shoes of newly appointed associate Supreme Court Justice Beth Garner as she embarks on a mission to bring justice, even if it means taking down people she once admired along the way.

Audible Original

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“I just want them to get lost in the story,” said Lathan of what she hopes audiences take away from the eight-part episode. “Life is hard for so many people these days so it's nice to just sometimes escape into a thrilling story that takes you away from your problems, even hope for a moment, and is entertaining at the same time. I just want people to be entertained and kind of swept away into the story.” sat down with the star as she dished on the intricacies of her role in the audio book and how her path may have gone in a different direction if she hadn’t become an actor. What drew you to this role of Supreme Court Justice Beth Garner in Audible’s “The Justice,” and how did you prepare to portray her? 

Sanaa Lathan: Honestly, I love doing voice acting. I have done a bunch of animation [including] "The Cleveland Show," "Family Guy" [and] the Harley Quinn series. There's something so nice about going into the booth and just being able to let yourself go wild. I did a book on tape years ago, and I really liked the experience because that is kind of an extension of that. When they offered me this, I jumped at the chance [because] it is a great role, and James Patterson is a staple. Anytime you go to the bookstore, he's in the top 10 best sellers. He's a real icon in the thriller genre. So I just jumped at the chance. Have you always been a fan of James Patterson and/or audiobooks, or is this a totally new adventure for you?

Sanaa Lathan: I am a fan of audiobooks. It's interesting [because] I used to be such a bookworm. I don't know if it's social media or the fact that we've become such online people, but there's something that has kind of taken me away from actual book reading, but I have not let go of listening to books as an alternative to music. I love listening in my car and it's just a different way to experience a story. Beth appears to be a powerhouse much like yourself. Do you share any other similarities with her?

Sanaa Lathan: She is a go-getter. Any Black woman who is ambitious in this world has to have a level of perseverance, strength, and a single focus. She's smart and educated. I take what I do very seriously. I've educated myself. I think she has a strong moral compass. I'd like to think I do as well. So there are some similarities. I'm definitely not interested in being a lawyer judging people. I'd like to play it, but not be it. If you had not become an actress, what career path would you have pursued?

Sanaa Lathan: I love helping [and] I'm so interested in self-growth and mental health. So it would probably either be a teacher, because it just comes naturally comes to me, or maybe a therapist. This role is quite different from others you’ve starred in because it’s not on a sound stage. Though you’re no stranger to thrillers or even voice work, was it challenging to get into character in front of a microphone inside of a booth? 

Sanaa Lathan: You know, you show up in a baseball cap and sweats. One of the things that I realized really quickly is you have to match the voice. So for me, it wasn't a lot of preparation [and] because you're reading, you can't really mess up, otherwise, you do another take, but you have to really relax. It's a lot of reading and you're there for hours and it takes a lot of focus. My preparation was kind of voice preparation, kind of getting my voice to where I wanted it with her. It's like you almost have to go into a meditative state because if you're too hyper or thinking about other things, you just can't do it. Is there another collaboration on the horizon between you and Patterson?

Sanaa Lathan: I told them when I was reading it, "I want to play this in a movie." Let's put it out there. You're also starring in "The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat," alongside Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor and Uzo Aduba. What can fans expect from this film?

Sanaa Lathan: It's based on a 90s book about three best friends in the South who grew up from childhood and all the trials and tribulations they go through in their lives and how they kind of hold each other up. I think they are each other's soulmates. It's a beautiful film that is coming out later this year. That film reverberates around sisterhood. How has that dynamic inspired your journey in Hollywood?

Sanaa Lathan: I've always been a girl's girl. I have some friendships that are 30 and 40-year friendships, where you get to witness someone in their life, unconditionally and vice versa, and all the trials and tribulations that we go through as human beings. And there's something very touching about that kind of relationship. And I'm finding at this stage of my life, you really appreciate it as you get older. Sometimes you separate and then you come back. I think it's like another form of a soulmate, like your chosen family. There's something very special and touching to me about that kind of relationship. It's important in your life.

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