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Sarah Wayne Callies On The Power of Television: “We Are Defined By The Stories That We Tell”

Sarah Wayne Callies has been an integral part of popular and acclaimed TV shows (Prison Break, The Walking Dead), and now she explores the family drama genre with Council of Dads. In the video below, Callies talks about what she loves about working on television and how growing up in Hawaii impacted her own storytelling passions.

COUNCIL OF DADS — Season: 1 — Pictured: (l-r) Steven Silver as Evan Norris, Thalia Tran as Charlotte Perry, Michael O’Neill as Larry Mills, Michele Weaver as Luly Perry, Emjay Anthony as Theo Perry, Clive Standen as Anthony Lavelle, Sarah Wayne Callies as Robin Perry, J. August Richards as Dr. Oliver Post, Blue Chapman as JJ Perry — (Photo by: Jeff Lipsky/NBC)

The series centers on how a family utilizes a “council of dads” after patriarch Scott Perry (Tom Everett Scott) is diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Scott’s trio of friends incluce his doctor Oliver (J. August Richards), his chef friend Anthony (Clive Standen), and a gruff but well meaning guy named Larry (MIchael O’Neill).  Sarah Wayne Callies stars as Perry’s wife Robin (she’s also a doctor), and Michele Weaver is Scott’s eldest child Luly (she provides the voiceover in the pilot episode).

I really enjoyed the pilot and I’m really interested to see how they expand the storyline arcs with each of the council members and the diverse group of Perry kids. Along with Callies spearheading the ensemble, it will be interesting to see if Council of Dads fulfills its potential.

NBCUNIVERSAL EVENTS — January 2020 Press Tour Portrait Studio — Pictured: J August Richards, Clive Standen, Sarah Wayne Callies, Michael O’Neill, “Council of Dads” — (Photo by: Maarten de Boer/NBC)

Here are Callies’ remarks regarding why she loves television and the feedback she received from her past show The Walking Dead (video is right after the quotes).

I grew up in Hawaii, and Hawaii has a very rich, indigenous mythology. Part of why I am the person that I am is that I grew up with that mythology and those representations of female power, when I came to the mainland, were very absent from some of the spritual mythology that I was presented with there.
I think I learned early on that we are defined by the stories that we tell. One of the things that I love about television is I’m not in a classroom teaching people. I’m not telling folks how to live their lives. But maybe I can present something that expands somebody’s idea on what it means to be a person. That offers a different kind of model.
Sometimes It gets me in trouble. On (The) Walking Dead, there was an expression of female sexuality and of maternal rage that made people feel uncomfortable. But I’ve also had a lot of women come up to me, and most of them are moms, and (say) ‘that was the first time I saw myself on TV.’  So yeah, it’s cool, you know? What an honor!

Council of Dads has its series premiereson March 24 (NBC, 10/9c) and moves to its regular timeslot starting Thursday, April 30 (8 pm et).

Greg Srisavasdi
I've been a movie reviewer/interview since 1991 (as a UCLA Daily Bruin scribe), worked at Westwood One, Deepest Dream owner, co-editor of Hollywood Outbreak, podcast co-host of "CinemAddicts" and "Matt and Greg Used To Interview Movie Stars." I can be reached at for inquiries or whatever the case may be!

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