Rising star Hilary Ward can be seen playing the important role of Coretta Scott King in HBO’s film All The Way. Not only does she star opposite the likes of Bryan Cranston, Anthony Mackie, Melissa Leo, and Bradley Whitford, she has had guest roles in hot shows like Criminal Minds, Castle, Grey's Anatomy, and more. Inspired by her role in All The Way, she is working on a script involving the role of women in the Civil Rights Era.

Hilary says it was an honor to play Correta Scott King

Colleen Bement: What was it like to play Coretta Scott King?

Hilary Ward: It was an honor both to portray this woman who did so much to support her husband and the movement as a whole, as well as to get the opportunity to work with the phenomenal cast.

It's very rare to get to be part of a project that helps us to get a better understanding of our history and offers perspective about today, so I jumped at the chance.

CB: I read about your incredible family history and I have to say wow!

HW: My great-grandmother didn't vote until 1974, a full 10 years after the events portrayed in the film, and when one thinks about that, it blows the mind. She was a master gardener who was threatened by the KKK for teaching black farmers to increase production. My great-grandparents helped to house, feed and educate an entire generation of young black students at Okolona College in northern Mississippi. Their son, my great-uncle, William Raspberry, came to prominence covering the Watts riots.

My big takeaway from my family is that every single person has a responsibility to participate in the community. You vote; you do well in school; you stay informed; you help people on the margins, because ultimately, what happens to the least of us, happens to all of us. The way that I'm hoping to change the conversation around race and identity is by telling stories in this very powerful medium of television and film.

Ward has a script in the works

CB: Are there any projects on your horizon that you are allowed to share with your fans?

HW: I'm developing a series with my writing partner, Daniel Travis, but it's still in early stages. I've also been inspired by All the Way to start investigating the role of women in the Civil Rights Era and am researching with the goal have having the script done in September.

I am a co-founder of Chalk Repertory Theatre, which produces intimate theatre here in Los Angeles and our production of the new play In Case of Emergencyis premiering next week in the garages of several private homes in the area. We produce in unconventional spaces and have had the chance to work at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, La Brea Tar Pits/Page Museum and UCLA's historic William Clark Library.

CB: What was it like to land the part of Yelena in the LA stage production of Uncle Vanya?

HW: My love of theatre is what made me get serious about acting in the first place and although I was exposed to the plays of Anton Chekov in college, I started to become a bit obsessed with them in graduate school.

The plays are messy and often unresolved. The people don't usually get what or who they want. That's what makes them so similar to real life. When I read Uncle Vanya, I didn't understand Yelena at all, which is the reason I wanted to work on her. For years, I would revisit the play, imagine her life, her thoughts, her motivations, so when it was proposed to produce it, I campaigned hard to play it. Not only did I think that I could finally play her, but I felt like it was really important that there be a production that had a black woman at the center as an object of desire. As a black woman, I'm often expected to portray toughness, tenacity, pragmatism. As positive as many of those qualities can be, they also put you in a certain box.

Yelena had none of those qualities. She was beautiful and spoiled and disappointed and aloof and timid and that's why I knew I HAD to play her. I hardly made a dime on that project, but my artistic bank account was overflowing.

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