Playing Rosa Parks in TV Movie, “Behind the Movement”, Gives Meta Golding ‘Honor of My Career’

Meta Golding as Rosa Parks in ‘Behind the Movement,’ an original movie for TV One.
(Photo: ‘Behind the Movement’)

When Meta Golding heard the makers of “Behind the Movement” were interested in casting her as Rosa Parks, it felt like the opportunity of a lifetime.

“As an actor, you hope and pray that you will get a chance to play an icon, someone who really affected history,” says the actress, whose credits include two “Hunger Games” movies. “I was like, ‘Of course, I will read it!’ ”

“Behind The Movement” premieres at 7 p.m. Sunday on the TV One network. Set in 1955 during the days preceding the Montgomery bus boycott, it chronicles the behind-the-scenes story of how Parks sparked a landmark civil rights protest by refusing to give up her seat in the “colored section” to white passengers.

The ensemble cast includes Isaiah Washington, Loretta Devine and Roger Guenveur Smith as Raymond Parks, the husband concerned for his wife Rosa’s safety. Actor Shaun Clay plays Martin Luther King Jr., then a 26-year-old reverend who emerged as a national figure during the boycott.

“Behind the Movement” shows the complexities of a moment that’s sometimes been reduced in the retelling to Parks being too weary to move. It reveals her background in activism, the thought put into choosing her arrest as the boycott’s catalyst, and the intense planning and strategy involved in the protest, which became a year-long campaign.

The boycott eventually ended when the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that racially segregated seating violated the 14th Amendment guaranteeing all citizens equal protection under the law.

Nearly two weeks ago, the movie was screened at the Rosa Parks Museum of Montgomery, Alabama. At the special event, TV One executive D’Angela Proctor talked about how other film depictions of Parks haven’t quite done her full justice.

“I don’t think that a lot of people knew that Rosa wasn’t tired. She was sick and tired,” said Proctor according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Golding echoes those sentiments, noting that Parks had spent years working for justice before the bus incident.

“She’d been fighting for civil rights for her entire adult life. By the time this happened, it was just so much being built up. In the moment to moment thing, it’s one person saying no. Just no.”

Golding has had numerous credits on TV series and films and recurring parts on “Criminal Minds” and “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation.” She portrayed a fierce, knife-wielding antagonist in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.”

The Cornell University alum, who majored in political science, speaks four languages and grew up living in countries around the globe as her parents worked for food relief groups. For the Parks role, she took a deep dive into the available research, reading everything about her she could get her hands on and watching archival interviews.

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SOURCE: Detroit Free Press – Julie Hinds