WSF: We’re interviewing Joseph Lee Anderson on behalf of the Wendell Scott Foundation. He recently portrayed the first African-American driver in NASCAR, Wendell Scott, in the second episode of the second season of Timeless, which aired this past Sunday, March 18, 2018. The series premiered on NBC October 3, 2016, and follows the adventures of history professor Lucy Preston (played by Abigail Spencer), scientist Rufus Carlin (played by Malcolm Barrett) and soldier Wyatt Logan (played by Matt Lanter) as they attempt to stop Garcia Flynn (played by Goran Višnjić) from changing the course of American history through time travel.
In 2015 you appeared the TV Series Chicago P.D., and more recently in the 2017 film Belong to Us, which is awaiting release, and you have made countless other appearances in commercials, television shows such as Hawaii Five-0, full-length feature films, and short films. You’re one of Hollywood’s promising new actors who gives clever, convincing performances coupled with a certain charm and handsomeness that wows your audience.
WSF: What would you say was unique about this role and the opportunity to play Wendell Scott in the NBC
Joseph Lee: It’s a role that only comes around once: an opportunity to portray someone that was so important, but no one ever talks about him. I was very sad that I never heard of him beforehand even though I attended a private school that had lots of focus on black history.
WSF: In what ways did playing Wendell Scott, a historical figure, in a historical dramatization challenge you as an actor?
The accent was the hardest thing. I spent hours watching videos of him and wanted to mimic him, but I didn’t wanna seem like I was trying too hard on camera. So I had to find that balance!
WSF: Wendell Scott is a man who wrestled with adversity and defied the odds as the first African-American to compete in NASCAR motorsports. Wendell was fond of saying, “When it’s too tough for everyone else, it’s just right for me.” If you wouldn’t mind addressing a personal question: Have you ever found yourself challenged by adversity in your life endeavors, and if so, how has it challenged you to grow as a person?
When I was in 7th grade I dealt with racism in Catoosa, Oklahoma from students and at the time, the basketball coaches. So I was definitely able to connect with him from that point of view.
WSF: Did you learn anything new, whether about yourself, history, or even the character you depicted?
Learning about Mr. Scott was new to me. All of the hardship that he and his family went through to achieve his dream really motivates me to keep pushing forward!
Thanks again for your time. We sincerely wish the best in your professional endeavors in film, television and all walks of life.
#Timeless #NBC #BlackHistory