Season two of Justin Simien’s racially charged visual syllabus Dear White People brought some surprises for fans of the franchise. When the series was adapted from the 2014 year film about a fictional college in New England coping with prejudice on campus, several cast members made the transition to the small screen, but the film’s leads, Tessa Thompson (Sam) and Tyler James Williams (Lionel), did not.
However, after a successful first season, the sophomore season saw the return of both actors to the series in cameo roles, and one in particular brought actress Logan Browning, who now plays Sam, face to face with her big-screen self in a showdown that is not to be missed.
“Tessa is amazing and she’s so committed,” says Browning. “I’ve always admired Tessa as an actress so to have an opportunity to one, play a character she’s already played and two, playing opposite her… I enjoyed it. And it was was really freaky.”
Simien quells any notion that there was any bad blood between him and the actors when the film went to series.
“There was just so much love. First of all, we were just so not crabs in a barrel. We’re not in that mindset and if anyone thought that “oh they didn’t want to do the show” or they got recast. There was no love lost. People just were busy.”
He then reveals what inspired the meeting of "the two Sams.”
“With Tessa we thought it would be so meta and so awesome to get [her] in there. And of course in my imagination it would be a showdown between the two Sams. And I literally one night wrote this monologue between the two of them and I didn’t know how, but somehow I have to lead to this moment. And it just so happened that the TV gods worked out and aligned so we could get Tessa with her crazy schedule and make it work with ours. And it was just so beautiful when it came together because Logan and Tessa are just beasts. So to see them in the acting Olympics was just fun.”
So if you haven’t made it to that episode of Dear White People season 2, hurry up and get on it!
(Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival) (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)