Sanaa Lathan portrays an FBI agent in the heist thriller “Now You See Me 2,” an astronaut in the sci-fi drama “Approaching the Unknown,” and a crack investigator in Fox’s upcoming “Shots Fired” — an event series about the aftermath of a racially charged police shooting in the South. The wide-ranging star says what she enjoys most about acting is the constant change, and the rare opportunity to see various points of view.
What’s the biggest change needed in the entertainment industry?
I’m really happy that this conversation has been going on as of late, but we need more diversity in every way, and more diversity behind the scenes: people writing stories, people greenlighting stories, people acting in stories. What I would love for the entertainment industry to do is reflect the beautiful melting pot of the world we live in.
Do you think this diversity is reflected on social media?
There’s something happening in the last couple years with certain social-media stars: They’re all starting to look the same. There’s a new aesthetic, and I feel like it’s going away from natural beauty. I’m all for celebrating the differences in who we are. I’m really into the beauty of women of all shapes, sizes, colors, features, and hair textures. But there’s something going on — a certain look that’s very plastic, with the injections, the fillers, the nips and tucks.
How have you adapted to new technology?
I have officially made the move to reading everything on my tablet,or even my phone. I love the fact that it’s actually creating a cleaner world in terms of being green. I do everything from reading to watching movies to having video chats — FaceTiming, meetings, catching up with friends. We really are so attached — it’s like another limb.
What’s the biggest life change you’ve endured?
A couple years back I lost a close friend who suddenly passed away. It happened to be a very stressful year emotionally for me, so that was kind of a defining moment. A dear friend turned me on to Transcendental Meditation, and I started meditating on a daily basis. I feel like it saved my life.
What do you love most about acting?
As an actor, I welcome change. Part of the fun of playing different characters is being able to see the world through a different perspective. You’re always going from group to group, in terms of cast and locations. It’s great. The gypsy nature of being an actor makes me very comfortable.
What you didn’t know about Lathan:
RAISED IN: New York and Los Angeles
GUILTY PLEASURE: Reality TV shows
FAVORITE BOOK: Anything by James Baldwin
INDUSTRY ICON: Alejandro G. Iñárritu