Lorraine Toussaint (‘The Village’) on the show’s timely message about connecting with our neighbors [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Although it seems idealized, Lorraine Toussaint finds “The Village,” NBC‘s new drama about the residents of a Brooklyn apartment complex, to be pretty accurate. “I’ve lived in New York City on-and-off for the last 40 years,” she explains, “and I’ve lived in a building very similar to this. On some level, this kind of building feels like a coming home for me.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

SEE Emmys 2019 exclusive: Universal Television and NBC categories for ‘The Good Place,’ ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ‘Russian Doll’ and more

“The Village” features a large ensemble spanning races and generations of people who have built strong connections with each other. The show comes at a critical time, Toussaint believes, because “we’ve moved into an era where we’re being told to be afraid of our neighbors, in the micro and in the macro. So it’s a lovely moment where we can remind ourselves of who we have been and who we, I think, at heart are as human beings, as Americans, as community.”

Toussaint plays Patricia Davis, a social worker who’s married to the building’s superintendent (Frankie Faison). In the first season, Patricia finds out she has cancer, “so she’s going to need this little village of hers that she has helped to nurture” to get her through it. The actress has “friends who are survivors,” so she “wanted to get this one right” and do her “homework,” researching the affects of the disease and its treatments.

SEE Emmys 2019 exclusive: Universal Cable and UCP categories for ‘The Sinner,’ ‘The Act,’ ‘Homecoming’ and more

Prior to “The Village” Toussaint had a memorable role in the second season of “Orange is the New Black,” which brought her a SAG Award as a member of the ensemble cast and a Critics Choice Award as Best TV Drama Supporting Actress. She also earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress for Ava DuVernay‘s “Middle of Nowhere” (2012). This year she additionally appeared in the television shows “Into the Badlands” and “She-Ra and the Princess of Power.” She’ll next be seen in the films “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” and “The Glorias: A Life on the Road.”

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