Former “Grey’s Anatomy” star Isaiah Washington is back on the Hollywood scene after a long hiatus. Washington is featured in the new independent film The Sin Seer, which he co-produced with director Paul D. Hannah from Marriage Chronicles. The small screen project tells the story of Rose Ricard (Lisa Arrindell Anderson) who possesses the ability to sense the sin in people, but what seems to be a gift feels more like a nightmare when she discoverers that the person closest to her is who she needed to see most of all. Washington will play character Grant Summit alongside A-list cast members Sallie Richardson-Whitfield, C. Thomas Howell and Richard Brooks.
The Sin Seer made its streaming premiere on the Urban Movie Channel, a premium subscription-based video streaming service created by Robert L. Johnson, chairman of RLJ Entertainment and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET). As of February 2, the film is now available on DVD and digital video.
Rolling out caught up with Washington to discuss his role in the film and reuniting with Lisa Arrindell Anderson. He sheds light on the importance of Black-owned media networks.
Can you give a synopsis of the role you play as Grant Summit in The Sin Seer?
The film is basically about a wonderful, young lady named Rose Ricard who has the ability to see the truth and because of that her life is put in jeopardy by many people. She has worked with law enforcement to put away these people for their crime. She helps them solve a lot of cases and in that she finds herself in a dangerous and precarious situation while she is working with her bodyguard. He has a dark past and it all comes out strategically in the film. I play the bodyguard Grant Summit.
Twenty years ago, you co-starred with Lisa Arrindell Anderson in Spike Lee’s Clockers. How was the experience working together for a second time around?
That was one of two major reasons why I said yes to doing the film. Paul D. Hannah told me how he wanted to execute the film, but he didn’t exactly mention that we were going to shoot it in 12 days [laughs]. To be absolutely honest it’s a miracle that we were able to finish. I do know films that have been done in short times like this and maybe less, but to be able to hold on to the uniqueness of it was absolutely insane. The second reason I came on was to take the role as producer so I could bring Lisa back from coming out of her personal life with raising two beautiful children. It was hard, but this was necessary.
Why did you choose to have The Sin Seer released on The Urban Movie Channel?
Robert Johnson and the Urban Movie Channel have been supportive of me since Blackbird. Two years ago, Rob stood out on the edge of a cliff to release Blackbird, which was a film that no one wanted to produce. We are telling amazing stories that Hollywood would never tell. I am just happy that I have a partner with the channel and have my content be promoted on their platform. To have a platform and a distributor speaks volumes. It will either be that or you will be putting out bootlegs and you certainly can’t make money that way.
You are someone who has seen first-hand the hard work and dedication Robert Johnson has put into both BET and The Urban Movie Channel. How did it make you feel when FOX news contributor Stacey Dash denounced the significant role both networks have played in Black culture?
I think if she had more work to do with all her talents and attention that would be more helpful. I am too busy to do a lot of talking about a lot of stuff. When I am working I don’t have an opinion about much. Here is the headline, if you did less talking and more showing then people wouldn’t have anything to say about you. 15 percent of all people in the world are going to dislike you no matter what you say or do and that’s guaranteed. I focus on the 85 percent that’s good and maybe she should too. Everyone has their own opinion. I have worked with Stacey and I don’t have a problem with her. I worked with her on Single Ladies and she was a dream to work with on that show.
What challenges do you face as a producer in terms of funding independent films?
The story is just so unique. If I had $20 million would the execution be different? Absolutely, but there is still no guarantee. I couldn’t say no to Paul D. Hannah and Lisa because they don’t have a $20 million dollar budget. I can’t pass on that opportunity if I say I want to be this great producer. I have to give back, reach back to take my brand and years of experience in order to do something unthinkable when producing a major motion picture. We shot this film in less time, so ultimately it’s about questioning can I perform under theses circumstances and then be a producer. This was my first opportunity to be a producer. He gave me co-producing credit. I want people to look at this and say Isaiah helped produce that. When Blue Caprice didn’t win at the Oscars I didn’t complain. Everybody knows in order to win an Oscar you have to be a slave, a pimp or a killer. That is how it is. If you want to change that you have to stop bootlegging our stuff. Let’s stand up and say Black people be better as opposed to bashing us on Instagram and Twitter. I am tired of fighting. I have had the longest work fight I have ever had in my life and career. If that is how they want to play then let me go over here and work on projects that I believe in and want to help produce. Eventually, I will get to produce a project where everyone will wait in line just to see the film.
View the trailer after the jump.