Robinne Lee Stars in New Scary Show While Being a Best-Selling Novelist

Television

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When you are an actress working on a horror series, the concept of bringing your work home can take on a terrifying meaning. “We had an episode with a doll recently and I had a dream that weekend that this doll was sitting at the edge of my bed. I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I’m bringing my work home,’” actress Robinne Lee, star of the new Syfy network series “Superstition” tells the AFRO. “For the most part you’re there, you go to the special effects trailer and you see all the stuff they do. It’s amazing and really cool but it’s obviously able to not take it too seriously but every once in awhile something pierces your subconscious and messes with you.”

Robine Lee is one of the stars of the new Mario Van Peebles created show on Syfy, ‘Superstition. (Courtesy Photo)

Nightmares notwithstanding, Lee’s character, Bee Hastings, is a dream for her to play she says. “She is this very strong, kind of elegant, reserved woman who is the matriarch of the family.” Bee is married to the enigmatic Isaac Hastings, played by Mario Van Peebles, who is also one of the show’s creators. Elaborating on her character, the Yale and Columbia Law grad Lee says, “She is this smart, dynamic, no holds barred kind of woman. Whether she is fighting infernals or raising her son, there is something very graceful and elegant, and regal about her. It’s so rare that we as black actors get to play that kind of role. She is very refined and worldly.”

Peebles is also Superstition’s showrunner. He had a vision to create a family who, while existing in creepy circumstances, audiences could still look up to. “Mario had this idea he wanted us to feel kind of like the Obamas,” Lee says. “The way we hold them on a pedestal and they felt like people we could aspire to be: Interesting, creative and educated Black people who are well traveled, worldly and speak different languages. He sold it to me as The Huxtables meets the Addams family.”

Audiences will recognize Lee, who grew up near White Plains, New York from her turns in “Fifty Shades Darker,” “Being Mary Jane,” and the Will Smith starring vehicle, “Hitch.” Horror is fairly new for her except for a guest appearance on the cult favorite “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” perhaps the modern gold standard in horror television shows.

In “Superstition,” the Hastings family are upstanding citizens and have been owners of the only funeral home in the town of La Rochelle, La. for generations. Peebles chose a southern town because, as he explained to reporters, “The American South is sort of this very rich sort of setting. This fictional town of La Rochelle that has this American Gothic kind of quality.”

Though excellent physical specimens and pillars of the community, there is much more to the Hastings than meets the eye. They are also the town’s protectors and keepers of its dark secrets. Their biggest antagonists are the so-called “Infernals.”

Peebles describes them as being a metaphor for the ills of the modern world. “I like that the Infernals, which would be, you know, the bad guys if you will, are coming now more than ever to put us human beings in check because of our recklessness and how we’ve sort of not cared for the planet.”

Philosophical and literary references punctuate the dialogue in “Superstition.” One of the first things Lee, whose romance novel The Idea of You is a best seller, most admires about the show is that, “We’re reaching into all those different stories or fables that have been passed down for centuries. We’re reaching for all of those different stories whether it’s something that happened in the Old Testament or happened in Moor Spain or ancient Egypt. All of that is woven throughout our storylines.”

Familiarity with the level of research needed to create verisimilitude in her books has heightened the respect she has for the behind the scenes scholarship that goes into creating a show like “Superstition.” “Every little thing stems from something real in history or has been part of the lore and different superstitions from different cultures across the world.”