Sanaa Lathan’s ‘Shots Fired’ Scenes Were ‘Really Going on in America’ (Exclusive Video)

Emmy contender talks about the pressure of acting out scenes that closely parallel real life

“Shots Fired” is anything but escapism — especially for Sanaa Lathan, one of the stars of the Fox limited series about the fallout from a police shooting.

The Fox drama tackles difficult questions about race and policing by inverting all-too-common news stories in which an African-American man is fatally shot by a white cop. Instead, it asks us to imagine a black cop killing a white youth in a predominantly black neighborhood — and how the scenario changes and reinforces our perceptions of police shootings.

“This subject matter and these scenes that we were playing everyday were really going on in America,” Lathan told TheWrap. “We shot for about four to five months and just the reality of really knowing what we were doing was really happening … was surreal and heartbreaking and hard at times, and yet we felt like we were privileged to be able to tell this story.

You can watch TheWrap’s entire interview with her above. Lathan plays Ashe Akino, a brilliant detective and dedicated mother who is responsible for investigating the shooting. Lathan has earned praise for the performance — but has watched as little of it as possible.

“I don’t think it’s natural for you to see yourself move around and talk and act. I would rather just do it actually and never see it,” she laughed.