Interview with Cynthia Kaye McWilliams of “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” on Apple TV+ by Suzanne 2/28/22
This is such a great series. It started out a little depressing, but it gets much better. I hope you can watch it! It’s only 6 episodes. All of the cast is great in it, especially the two leads, Samuel L. Jackson and Dominique Fishback. They get the majority of the screentime. Cynthia’s character, Sensia, is seen in many flashbacks or hallucinations. It was so nice to chat with her!
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
Suzanne: So, tell us how this part came about for you.
Cynthia: Much like any, just an audition from my agent, but as soon as I saw it, I mean the second I saw it, I saw Walter Mosley’s name attached, who’s a novelist I’m a huge fan of. I immediately got interested a little bit more. Then, of course, when I saw that Sam Jackson was leading, I just thought, “What? Sam Jackson’s doing television? Oh, my goodness! What is this?” And I started thumbing through the pages, and I instantly thought, “Oh, I have to be a part of this.” I loved the script. I love the book. I love this incredibly dynamic, fierce woman in Cynthia. I loved the way that she loved him without apology, and boldly. And I really enjoy the character that exists in a memory but is so alive because of how fully she occupied his present when she was there and the way that that vibrance is able to pierce through the fog of his dementia and anchor him and motivate and challenge him to be bold again and go after his memories.
Suzanne: As for your experience acting in the role and filming it, what did you like best about it?
Cynthia: Oh, well, I mean, definitely, just being able to be on a set with such incredible performers. Sam, of course, leading that cast, but all of them. I mean, I think it’s just such a joy. It’s such a joy when you get to have like sort of the trifecta of working on good material with fantastic actors and in an environment that is actually supporting and encouraging, you know, creativity and play, and where the producers and the cameraman and the directors are all serving the story. I think that’s just the most exciting thing for any actor is to be in a space. And there’s no actor, no actor I’ve ever worked with who is more interested in serving the story than Sam Jackson. He’s such a persona. He’s such an icon, but he is also just a gifted, trained, practiced actor, and he loves what he does. He loves the story. He’s so passionate about it. And sometimes I think that’s where all of that, you know, Sam mother-effin Jackson comes from, because he’s so just passionate about getting the mother effin story, right? You know?
Suzanne: He makes it look easy to doesn’t he?
Cynthia: He sure does. Man, I tell you, I am blown away. I got to watch just a bit of the series, and I was so excited just to see what it looked like. I just am so impressed with every time we think we’ve seen all of what Sam Jackson can do, he just wows us with another thing. I’m excited for audiences to see this other character, this new and different and challenging place that he’s gone. Very excited.
Suzanne: Yeah, I binge-watched it a Saturday, I think. Oh, my gosh, it was so good. It was really good. It makes me wish there could be a sequel, but I don’t see how they do that.
Cynthia: I know; I know. It’s one of those things, you’re always like, when you get involved with something that’s a limited series, there’s a joy about it, but there’s also like, “Oh…” I’m from the theater, so I am very used to the idea that like we’re in this space and time and everything we share with an audience this night is all it’s ever going to be, and it’ll never happen again exactly the same way. And that’s sad, because you kind of wish you could trap it, or [if] you have a great night, you’re like, “Oh, I wish I could just take that performance and put it on and keep giving it to the audiences,” but it’s also the most beautiful thing. That’s what I loved about theater is just that it’s so special because it’s only that once, and it’s just between us. And I feel like a limited series is very similar and that we’re giving you this thing. We’ve labored for this one piece of art, and we’re gonna give it to you, but once it’s done, it’s done.
Suzanne: Yeah, that’s for sure. Have you ever played anyone from the past before?
Cynthia: In theater? Yes. On television? No, like not an actual historical figure, I don’t think. I’m scanning my memories really quickly and making sure I’m not lying and passing something up, but no, I don’t think so. Yes, in television. I’ve done all contemporary pieces, whether that be comedy or drama. Yes, I’m trying to [remember]. I’m scanning so hard when people ask me what have you ever done, and you’re thinking, “I can’t remember everything,” but no, I don’t think so.
Suzanne: Yeah, I do that too. It’s like, “Oh, I interviewed that person? I don’t even remember it was so long ago.”
Cynthia: I can’t remember what I for lunch yesterday. I don’t know. [laughs]
Cynthia Kaye McWilliams was born in Berlin, Germany, grew up primarily in Kansas City, Kansas and graduated from the prestigious Theater School of DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Just out of college, Cynthia booked a supporting role in Warner Brothers’ The Lake House, followed by a recurring role on FOX’s Prison Break. She then landed a lead role in the pilot, Family Practice and later, another FOX series, Chicago Code.
She moved from Chicago to Los Angeles for a dream job to play sitcom wife to Damon Wayans in a CBS pilot. Though the pilot didn’t go, a few months later she would land a series regular on NAACP award winning comedy, The Real Husbands of Hollywood opposite the hilarious Kevin Hart. Cynthia filmed 5 seasons of RHOH and meanwhile had recurring roles on Survivors Remorse on STARZ, ABC’s Nashville, Bosch on Amazon and booked the lead in the NBC drama pilot, Love is a Four Letter Word.
Switching gears, Cynthia took on the role of sitcom mom Regina in the Netflix’s Prince of Peoria taped in front of a live studio audience at famous Sunset/Gower studios. She associate produced and starred in the holiday comedy, Twas the Chaos before Christmas, returned to the stage in Inda Craig Galvan’s, Black Super Hero Magic Mama at the Geffen Playhouse and joined the cast of Disney Channel original Upside Down Magic which is now streaming on Disney+
Cynthia recently returned from Mexico where she was filming the new drama series, Coyote starting Michael Chiklis. Coyote premiers January 7th, 2021 on CBS All Access. Cynthia also thoroughly enjoys her voiceover career having voiced for multiple characters and shows on Cartoon Network, animated feature film, Bilal and several video games including narrating Valorant, voicing Senna in League of Legends, T-Bug in CyberPunk 2077, Spartan Tanaka in Halo 5, roles in Disintegration, Far Cry 5 & 6, State of Decay 2, Tell Me Why and more.
Cynthia champions women & minorities creating their own content, supports arts education and loves all things food, wine and travel.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey
Release date: March 11, 2022
“The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” stars Samuel L. Jackson as Ptolemy Grey, an ailing man forgotten by his family, by his friends, and by even himself. Suddenly left without his trusted caretaker and on the brink of sinking even deeper into a lonely dementia, Ptolemy is assigned to the care of orphaned teenager Robyn, played by Dominique Fishback. When they learn about a treatment that can restore Ptolemy’s dementia-addled memories, it begins a journey toward shocking truths about the past, present and future.
The six-episode limited series will debut will debut globally Friday, March 11 on Apple TV+ with the first two episodes, followed by one new episode weekly, every Friday.
Ptolemy Grey’s memory is getting worse. After learning his grand-nephew is no longer there for him, Ptolemy’s niece assigns him a new caretaker.
Kicked out by Niecie, Robyn moves in with Ptolemy and accompanies him to a doctor’s appointment for an experimental treatment.
Ptolemy begins treatment to restore his memories, drifting in and out of fever dreams about his life as Robyn keeps vigil at his side.
From Apple TV+
ABOUT “THE LAST DAYS OF PTOLEMY GREY”:
“The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” will premiere with 2 episodes globally on Friday, March 11 with new episodes premiering weekly on Friday thereafter, exclusively on Apple TV+.
Jackson stars as Ptolemy Grey, an ailing man forgotten by his family, by his friends, by even himself. Suddenly left without his trusted caretaker and on the brink of sinking even deeper into a lonely dementia, Ptolemy is assigned to the care of orphaned teenager Robyn, who is played by Dominique Fishback (“Judas and the Black Messiah”). When they learn about a treatment that can restore Ptolemy’s dementia-addled memories, it begins a journey toward shocking truths about the past, present and future.
In addition to Jackson and Fishback, the Apple Original limited series stars Walton Goggins (“Justified,” “The Unicorn”), Marsha Stephanie Blake (“I Am Your Woman,” “When They See Us”), Damon Gupton (“Black Lightning,” “Bates Motel”), Cynthia Kaye McWilliams (“Coyote,” “Real Husbands of Hollywood”) and Omar Miller (“The Unicorn,” “Ballers”).
“The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” is produced by Apple Studios and Anonymous Content. Serving as executive producers alongside Jackson and Mosley are David Levine and Eli Selden for Anonymous Content, Diane Houslin, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and Ramin Bahrani.
ABOUT APPLE TV+
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Proofread and Edited by Brenda