Isaiah Washington has a new gig on “The 100” and it’s stressing him out – in a useful way.
“I have new gray hair, although The CW doesn’t want them to be on the show,” Isaiah laughed, referring to the cost to his appearance that has come with playing Chancellor Jaha on “The 100,” the man who leads the 4,000 humans left alive (with dwindling resources) on a space station called the Ark.
“I’m really taking this stress on, like for real,” Isaiah added when he sat down with television writers, after Warner Bros. flew AccessHollywood.com up to the show’s Vancouver set last fall, where they made us their guests. “My biggest fear is not being credible in anything that I do that you guys don’t believe me. Like me or love me, it’s not me; I didn’t write it, you know what I mean? But if you don’t know what I’m doing, then that’s my biggest fear. … This is truly a pure human drama and… you can’t walk through it; you can’t pull actor’s tricks. You have to feel it, so I felt it last night. I could barely get out of bed!”
The actor explained that playing the role of a man who has the weight of what’s left of the world on his shoulders, in a cutthroat environment where crime can quickly equal death, is something he’s internalized.
“Leaders are not allowed to cry outside, so … I’ve discovered quickly [that with] this character, it’s all inside, literally,” he added. “I just hope I don’t actually come out with a real ulcer.”
Asked by one reporter about what made him take on the project, Isaiah said it was something he connected with.
“I go with my gut. It’s never been about the money for me,” he said.
“[When] I first started off, I just wanted to be an actor and not a black actor. I just wanted to break that code that if you have one African-American lead, it doesn’t mean that’s the only one. And I proved that, that I can be a character actor; I can be a lead actor; I can just be an actor. So once that happened, my focus began to change and then I realized, am I doing enough just as a human being? And this piece, ironically, is exactly where I am in my personal life,” Isaiah explained. “Like we have to ask some hard questions about where we are with our environment, where we are as human beings, our differences, our likes our dislikes, who we are as human beings.”
“The 100” premieres on Wednesday March 19 at 9/8c on The CW.
In related news, Isaiah will also return, briefly, to “Grey’s Anatomy” this season as part of the exit of Sandra Oh’s character, Christina.
-- Jolie Lash