During our recent conversation (listen above), “Kingdom” star Kiele Sanchez likened her character of Lisa to “a lioness.” As she explains, “Lisa goes out and hunts and does all of the things that need to get done.” This critically acclaimed Audience Network series, which recently returned for the second half of season two, centers on Alvey Kulina (Frank Grillo), a mixed martial arts trainer and gym owner struggling to keep his family together. Sanchez plays his pregnant girlfriend, who runs the business side of things while managing the career of Alvey’s son, Jay (Jonathan Tucker).
“She’s sort of the Svengali behind the scenes making sure everything’s working as well as it possibly can be,” says the actress. “She’s incredibly ambitious, and is emotionally the strongest character in the show.” Her place within the family is threatened by the return of Alvey’s estranged wife, Christina (Jessica Going), who wants to reconnect with Jay and younger brother Nate (Nick Jonas). “She’s very threatened,” admits Sanchez, “that she could lose it all.”
Sanchez, known to many as Nikki on “Lost,” drew upon personal experience for the role. “My dad was a professional jockey,” she reveals, “and actually, the two worlds are very similar.” As she explains, “they have to cut weight, which is pretty excruciating. They usually come from poor backgrounds, and you have to work extremely hard for very little reward sometimes, unless you become one of the greats. And they’re both very dangerous sports. So I didn’t have to do a whole lot of research into MMA because I understood what it takes for these men and women to put themselves on the line in a physical way like that, and the heart it takes.”
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