‘Sleepy Hollow' star Nicole Beharie: Kerry Washington ripped open 'hole’ for black actresses

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Straddling reality with the supernatural

Like Olivia Pope, Abbie Mills manipulates the idea of a typecast, creating an original protagonist who establishes her own expectations.

First off, she’s an intelligent, young, pretty woman, and she’s a cop with her own prerogatives. She’s single, opinionated, dealing almost silently with the death of her father, overcoming office bureaucracy, and last but not least, bending her beliefs on ethereal powers.

With little measure of predictability, the real challenge, says Beharie, is achieving balance.

And also, she had to learn to shoot a gun.

“It was my first time shooting a gun on screen, and running and falling over and explosions and all that stuff, which was a lot of fun,” the star recalls.

“As we go a lot deeper, audiences will be surprised, and they’ll have some more laughs and kind of buckle up and stay open,” she remarks. “They’ll see a lot more of Abbie’s backstory if they’re interested in that…Moving forward and fighting the Headless Horseman character, and there’s so many discoveries that happen while she’s in this dark mourning place. How to balance that so it’s not just like she’s depressed, so she moves forward, and the piece still moves.”

Defying the status quo

As Beharie patiently makes her way into the spotlight, she prefers to maintain the allure she has at the moment, to be defined by her array of work rather than as a figure of Hollywood inquiry.

If she can make people “feel,” then she’s attained a simple yet remarkable achievement.

“Finding myself in people’s living rooms every week is amazing, and I hope that’s enough for right now,” she says about her goals as an actress.

But for those desiring a tiny peek into Beharie’s personal narrative, look no further than her Twitter page, which she’s draped with a photo of a woman from the 19th century.

The lady is black, wearing an English-style bodice dress accented by a magnificent Afro, and she looks like she’s got her mind set ahead.

“Back in the day, I think a lot of the women were pressing their hair and this woman had a blow out, which I think was cool because it wasn’t the status quo,” Beharie remarks. “She has on the corset and everything, and the bodice and maxi skirt, but she’s rocking an Afro.”

Sleepy Hollow airs tonight at 9/8c on Fox.

Follow Courtney Garcia on Twitter at @CourtGarcia