Delroy Lindo on working with Kerry Washington in ‘UnPrisoned’

Delroy Lindo stars opposite Kerry Washington in the new Hulu dramedy, “UnPrisoned.” 

Premiering March 10, the show was inspired by creator Tracy McMillain’s life and follows Paige Alexander (Washington), a marriage and family therapist who is a single mom to a teen son, Finn (Faly Rakotohavana).

Her life gets turned upside-down when her father, Edwin (Lindo) gets out of a long stint in prison and moves in with her. 

“What attracted me to this role was the possibility of shedding some light on an aspect of what it means to be a formerly incarcerated person, not only re-entering society, but also reconnecting with family,” said Lindo, who is best known for a slew of Spike Lee movies (“Da 5 Bloods,” “Malcolm X”), as well as projects such as “The Good Fight,” “The Cider House Rules,” and “The Harder They Fall.” 

“Based on the conversations that I had with Tracy McMillan and Kerry Washington, who approached me to do this work, I thought there was a real opportunity to illuminate a situation that people maybe have prejudiced thoughts about, when they think about somebody who has been in and out of prison,” he told The Post. “Kerry made it really clear to me not only why she wanted me in particular to do this work, but what I had meant to her as an actor. It was humbling, frankly.”

Delroy Lindo smiling holding his arms out.
Edwin (Delroy Lindo) is a formerly incarcerated man in “UnPrisoned.”

Edwin (Delroy Lindo) with his grandson, Finn (Faly Rakotohavana).

Kerry Washington smiling.
Paige (Kerry Washington) in “UnPrisoned.”

Each half-hour episode follows Edwin and Paige as they get used to living with each other and experience personality clashes, as Edwin tries to mentor his grandson, give Paige dating advice, and look into his own job prospects.

“I read Tracy’s memoir, and I also met with her dad,” said Lindo. “The character is based on Tracy’s own father, and he and I spent quite a bit of time together. I don’t think I borrowed direct characteristics from him. It was more of an impressionistic response that I had…but, he had a habit of saying ‘baby girl,’ and I stole that for Edwin.”

Lindo also went to a halfway house in Los Angeles and met with the residents.  

“They very generously told me about their lives, how they had come to be in the situation where they were incarcerated in the first place, and what their journeys had been re-entering society. So, all of those things gave me valuable insights into this world, and a firm point of departure as I was starting to create this character.”

Delroy Lindo smiling at Kerry Washington.
Edwin (Delroy Lindo) and his daughter, Paige (Kerry Washington) in “UnPrisoned.”

Delroy Lindo stands with his hand over his heart.
Edwin (Delroy Lindo).

Delroy Lindo sitting on a couch and holding a TV remote, smiling.
Edwin (Delroy Lindo) gets used to life outside of prison in “UnPrisoned.”

Although his projects are different from each other, Lindo sees “UnPrisoned” as sharing some commonalities with his past roles. 

“It’s this term I’ve gotten into the habit of using. ‘The Harder they Fall’ was what I refer to as a ‘historical corrective,’ in the sense of placing African descended people at the heart of this story set in the Old West,” he said. “‘Da 5 Bloods’ put five black men at the heart of a story about Vietnam. [‘UnPrisoned’] is placing a family at the heart of a story that has to do with how people re-engage after incarceration.” 

Delroy Lindo smiling.
Delroy Lindo on “UnPrisoned.”

Delroy Lindo smiling at Kerry Washington.
Edwin (Delroy Lindo) spending time with his daughter and grandson on “UnPrisoned.”

Up next, Lindo is also set to co-star in a new “Blade” movie with Mahershala Ali taking over the role that Wesley Snipes first made famous. 

“I have not formally signed an NDA, but mum’s the word. What I can tell you is that I’m in it, an Mahershala Ali is in it, and will be playing Blade,” he said. “We’re revamping the script as we speak, it’s very much in process. Based on what I’m hearing, it will be released in the fall or Christmas of 2024.”