SACRAMENTO – Most every actor realizes that talent will take them far in their careers but, they will also tell you that a little luck doesn’t hurt
either. No one knows this better than Christina Elmore.
After landing a small part in director Ryan Coogler’s critically acclaimed debut film, “Fruitvale Station,” the up and coming actress who grew up in Sacramento and Los Angeles, admits “luck” contributed to her getting a plum role in Michael Bay’s new Navy drama, “The Last Ship,” which premieres June 22 at 9 p.m. on TNT.
“The Last Ship,” is based on author William Brinkley’s 1988 post-apocalyptic fiction novel which is about a virus that has caused a global atastrophe and wiped out most of the Earth’s population. Due to its positioning, the Navy destroyer U.S.S. Nathan James avoids falling victim to the devastating tragedy. Now the crew and its captain, Tom Chandler (Eric Dane, “Grey’s Anatomy”) and Lt. Alisha Granderson (Christina Elmore), are faced with the reality of living in a world where they may be among the few remaining survivors.
“I just love the entire concept of the show,” said Elmore during a recent phone interview from her home in Los Angeles. “The characters in “The Last Ship” are really so well developed. I play an officer working on the Bridge and in communications. I am responsible for listening in on broadcasts from survivors around the world. And as you might expect from Michael Bay (“Transformers”) who is the king of action adventures, there is plenty of great stunts and set sequences that audiences will enjoy.”
Elmore is very excited about latching onto such a promising show like “The Last Ship.”
She said her parents, Sacramento’s Dr. Ronn and Aladrian Elmore, are equally thrilled about her big television debut.
“They have supported my dreams from day one,” said Elmore who graduated from Elk Grove’s Franklin High School and went on to earn her B.A. in African American Studies from Harvard University. While at Harvard she was bitten by the acting bug. She performed on stage in “Nine,” “Twelfth Night” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
Elmore then earned her MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater (ACT), graduating in 2012. She has also starred in ACT productions of “A Christmas Carol,” “Bright Eye of the Moon” and “A MidSummer Night’s Dream.”
Elmore admits that if someone had told her that she’d be one of the lead characters in a major TV drama without having any prior TV experience, she wouldn’t have believed them.
“I feel like I am the luckiest person in the world,” Elmore added.
“The crazy thing is that I almost didn’t even make it to the audition for “The Last Ship.” Right when I was getting ready to leave, my car battery died on me. Here was the biggest day of my career and then that occurred.”
Elmore said it didn’t help that this happened on one of the hottest days in Los Angeles. “It was a nightmare. I was sweating like crazy. By the time the tow truck arrived with a new battery, I was two hours late to the audition. I just knew my chances were shot.”
They weren’t. It turns out that Elmore wasn’t the only one having a bad day. As luck would have it, the auditions weren’t going so smoothly and the casting directors were running about two hours behind schedule too.
“They told me to come in, have a seat and they’d be with me shortly, “said Elmore. “They didn’t mention me being late.”
The extra time allowed Elmore to relax, regroup and focus again on the auditions although she admits she was still worried. “I kept thinking that they wouldn’t consider me because I hadn’t even done a guest starring role on a TV show. So I felt it was a long shot.”
Fortunately, Elmore’s talent kicked in and she wowed everyone and got the part. “Somebody was definitely looking out for me during the entire process,” she said with a laugh. “I can laugh about it now, but it sure wasn’t a laughing matter at the time. I guess it was a combination of luck, talent and fate that made it all happen.”
Elmore said she feels empowered by that entire experience and believes it’s a sign of other good things to come. Elmore already has plenty reasons to be happy and celebrate. She recently got married and plans to do more theatre. Her next projects include: “The Purple Lights of Joppa, Illinois at South Coast Repertory and she’s doing “Romeo & Juliet at the Shakespeare Center in Los Angeles.”
“I really enjoy television and film, she said. “But the theatre is really special to me. Honestly, I’m ready to tackle everything that comes my way.”
Editor’s Note: Be sure to catch Christina Elmore in the action drama,
“The Last Ship” which debuts June 22 at 9 p.m. on TNT.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Special to the Observer