HBO’s series is both a celebration and condemnation of onscreen heroes, so IndieWire spoke to King about her remarkable role that can’t betray reality.
When viewers are first introduced to Sister Night — the heroic moniker chosen by Regina King’s “Watchmen” character, Angela Abar — she drives to her secret hideout, dons her leather uniform, and speeds to a local trailer park. As the music pulses and her long coat swirls in the wind, Sister Night kicks in a door, punches the napping Tulsa citizen square in the face, and drags the guy into her trunk, all without a warrant or even a warning.
“I’ve got a nose for white supremacy,” she tells her boss, Chief Crawford (Don Johnson). “And he smells like bleach.”
Shortly thereafter, wouldn’t you know it, Sister Night is proven right. The guy is working for the white supremacist group who just shot one of her fellow officers. When she looks at her boss, she doesn’t need to say much. Just one word: “Bleach.”
Every second of this extended sequence, from Angela’s transformation into Sister Night up through the interrogation of her suspect, is fucking cool. It’s exciting. It’s clever. It’s the kind of television that makes you chuckle to yourself because you’re watching awesome people do awesome things. And yet, like just about everything else in “Watchmen,” there’s another side to that coin. Sister Night didn’t just go out and catch a bad guy; Angela Abar illegally broke into a private home and beat down a fellow citizen, using her shield as a free pass because she had a hunch — because she “smelled bleach.”
When asked about how easy it would be for that line to sound too scripted, too unnatural, too cool, King remembers the challenge behind it right away.
“[Someone could easily] fuck it up!” she said in an interview with IndieWire. “Look, to be honest, that’s the beauty of editing. The first couple deliveries felt like, ‘Yeah… drawing out ‘bleach’ doesn’t work because I’m hearing myself say it.’ I feel like that’s a sign I pay attention to: If I feel like I’m hearing myself saying the dialogue, then I’m saying the dialogue — I’m not internalizing it. I’m not being it. It’s not actually me.”
Read the full article/interview in our press library.