The second season of hit scripted drama series Saints & Sinners premiered Sunday night on Bounce TV. The gritty cable serial revolves around the Johnsons, first family of Greater Hope Baptist Church in the fictional city of Cypress.
At the helm of the Johnson clan — and of the city — is Lady Ella played by veteran actress Vanessa Bell Calloway. I caught up with Calloway ahead of tonight's Season 2 premiere to find out what's in store for the Johnsons this time around.
Daytime Confidential: Congratulations on the ratings for Season 1 of Saints & Sinners! What we can expect from Season 2 of Bounce TV's most-watched program ever?
Vanessa Bell Calloway: You can expect a lot of surprises, twists and turns. Especially in the first episode. I’ve been telling everyone, what happens is jaw dropping. This season, you’ll continue to meet new characters and see the old characters you love struggle to try to figure out their relationships with each other and their place in the world.
DC: Lady Ella finally has the power she desires, as the new mayor of Cypress. Is she worried about what she might have to do to stay on top?
VBC: Lady Ella isn’t worried about anything. She’s just one of those people. She’s not afraid of success or failure. She doesn’t look at tasks as being difficult to achieve or challenging. She’s determined and she’ll get what she needs. Lady Ella will do whatever it takes to stay on top.
DC: Jaws dropped during the first season premiere when viewers learned Lady Ella is bisexual. Will she be exploring relationships with both men and women in Season 2?
VBC: No. Her relationship with Mayor Clayborne (Gloria Reuben) was about convenience. That was manipulation on Lady Ella’s part. She’s opportunistic. She’s whoever she needs to be to get what she wants. The mayor had something she needed, and she had something the mayor wanted. It was an even exchange to her. That’s how she views things.
DC: Lady Ella has, shall we say, complicated relationships with her children. How will she deal with Christie's pregnancy and Kendrick's volatile nature?
VBC: Yes, Lady Ella has a complicated relationship with her children, especially with Kendrick (Tray Chaney), the new son she’s discovering. She’ll deal the way she always deals, not so well. Her kids are her achilles heel. Her heart’s in the right place and she loves them. She just doesn’t know how to express it and somehow always messes things up. But with Christie’s (Jasmine Burke) pregnancy, she’ll handle it the only way she knows how. With criticism and judgement.
DC: Black soap operas are all the rage right now. As an actress, did you ever think you'd see a day when so many character driven dramas starring people of color were on television?
VBC: Well, I’ve been doing this for a minute. I always hoped we’d see this day. I come from a time where, on TV shows, there was one black person on the whole street, or in the whole town, or there was just that one black friend. It’s great to see so many black people on screen, but it’s even better that so many black actors are working. When I come to Atlanta to shoot Saints & Sinners, I see so many of my friends out there, and they all have work. It’s nice to see a continuing drama with so many black faces. And now there’s even white dramas with a lot of black characters, which is a nice change.
Saints & Sinners airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on Bounce TV.