“It just felt like a family drama, but it felt in-depth, it felt rich. And then Shoggoths jump out. So I’m like, I want to be a part of this,” remembers actress Wunmi Mosaku about her reaction to reading the complex characterizations and eldritch horrors in the “Lovecraft Country” pilot script. But those monstrous demon Shoggoths were just the beginning of where the story took Mosaku. Watch our exclusive video interview with her above.
Mosaku plays Ruby Baptiste, a singer in 1950s Chicago who has a strained relationship with her sister Leti (Jurnee Smollett) and also becomes dangerously close to Christina (Abbey Lee), a woman who introduces her to magic. Among that magic is a potion that transforms her into a white woman, giving her an opportunity to learn what it would be like to live her life without the constant burdens of racism. It threw Mosaku for a loop when she learned of that plot twist from showrunner Misha Green during the audition process: “It’s really interesting when you get some big information like that, when you get it in front of your potential bosses, you have to really take it in your stride.”
It was a challenge for Mosaku to wrap her mind not just around some of the supernatural elements of the story, but the choices Ruby makes when confronted with magic. “Misha always throws these huge questions up. Like, maybe you do do the thing that’s wrong,” she explains. And for a character whose options have been limited by her means and by the color of her skin, maybe it’s hard to resist the woman who gave her a taste of freedom. “Is she gonna do something better with this superpower,” Mosaku wonders, “or is she just going to enjoy it?”
But Ruby is also “courageous” and “daring,” and while her fate at the end of the season was uncertain (Christina claimed to have killed her, but it wasn’t clear if she was telling the truth), Mosaku hopes the show continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible if it’s renewed. “That’s the most amazing thing about the show. You can go to outer space, you can go back in time, you can go anywhere. So my only hope for the show, if there was a season two, is that,” she says. “It’s so key to our success and survival as Black and brown folk to … imagine what could possibly be.”
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