Benjamin Earl Turner is a legend in the making. He’s soft spoken, deep, a fashion lover, but most of all, he’s a phenomenal actor. As an actor he is known for his roles on Blindspotting (2021), Snowfall (2017) and We Were Hyphy (2022). He’s also a celebrated recording artist and a talented writer.
There seems to be nothing that this man can not do.
In celebration of Blindspotting’s second season we spoke with the actor about his role as Earl in the hit Starz series.
ON EARL’S SOFTER SIDE
Earl isn’t your typical man that is portrayed on the screen. He’s strong yet soft, vulnerable yet guarded, and extremely complicated but also not complicated at all. So we had to ask Benjamin Earl Turner about his mindset for playing Earl.
He said, “I think my mindset was mostly that it feels like a character that’s afforded to a lot of folks throughout television, but that we haven’t really gotten a chance to see men play with the way we live. I think that was mostly the relationship between myself and Earl, was, how do I bring elements of the way we’re actually living into this character and avoid falling into the trap of some kind of caricature or cliché of what someone who’s been incarcerated acts like, thinks like, talks like, the things that they enjoy.”
“That was really– the heart of it was I wanted to make sure that there was an honest perspective that was given about the way that Black man exist in the world, and that includes softness. If you are in a position where you’re unable to be soft because that would jeopardize your safety, you would never see that. It’s not so much of that it doesn’t exist, it’s just not allowed to. I was like, “Well, what if it was? What if we can see that? What would that mean? What would that look like? How would it feel?” That was the basis of us developing Earl,” he continued.
Can we all agree that is a great answer? Cause we think it was.
ON EARL’S RELATIONSHIP WITH JANELLE
One of the things that we’re interested to see in season 2 is Earl’s relationship with so many of the characters. It’s so important to see how characters interact, so we get to know them. When we asked about his relationship with Janelle, he peaked our interest even more.
“I think the big thing about both of their stories that’s so important to keep in mind for people who are watching the show, is that we have very little context intentionally, about their lives outside of that one hyper-specific moment of them coming together. Miles having gone to prison and Ashley navigating that, and Earl comes into the mix and we don’t know anything about Earl,” he said.
He continued, “We don’t know if Earl has siblings, we don’t know if Earl’s partnered, we don’t know anything about Earl outside of he likes burritos, he likes to cook, and similarly, I think with Janelle, we learned at the end of season one that she’s married and she had a kid, and all this other context, so yes, they work well together and also they are not two characters in a vacuum, and I think season two does a great job of keeping that in mind as we navigate what their journeys will be both together and separately.”
We’re so intrigued. We need to know more about Earl.
We also spoke with Benjamin Earl Turner about burritos, issues that Blindspotting covers, and more. See the interviews below –
Season 2 of Blindspotting airs Sunday on Starz.