Gina Torres Reflects On Sci-Fi Roles

Celebrity Q&A, Featured Article
on July 21, 2013

Gina Torres is great on “Suits,” but does she miss her sci-fi days? I enjoyed her on “Firefly.”
—Margaret Monoson, Dallas, Ga.

Torres, 44, considers Jessica Pearson in “Suits” to be a warrior woman who goes after what she believes in, so in a sense, it isn’t that different from her roles as the shotgun-toting mercenary Zoe Washburne in “Firefly” or as Cleopatra in “Xena: Warrior Princess”—except for the costumes.

As Jessica, she wears very expensive, designer business suits instead of midriff-bearing, Egyptian costumes, or strapping on a gun.

But she credits science fiction for launching her career, especially since she appeared on so many shows in the genre early on, including “M.A.N.T.I.S.,” “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and “Cleopatra 2525.”

“I think by virtue of my physicality—being so tall—there is no way I would ever be cast as a wallflower, so I have been given the opportunity to play fascinating women,” says the native New Yorker, who is 5-feet-10-inches tall. “I couldn’t start my career being the girlfriend or the wife, because I hover. Sci-fi and action gave me a world where I was not odd. I could fit. I could be a warrior.”

When she started working on science-fiction shows, she wasn’t a fan, but she did acquire a taste for it. “Some of it is so bad that I am not just an all-around fan of the genre, but when it’s done well, it can be brilliant and really expand our minds to what’s possible.”

Torres’ other sci-fi/action credits include TV’s “Angel,” “Alias,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “24,” “FlashForward” and “La Femme Nikita” and the films “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions.” She has also voiced the roles of Vixen in “The Justice League” series and Superwoman in “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.”

Married to Laurence Fishburne since 2002, Torres also has a recurring role as his character’s wife on NBC’s “Hannibal.”