‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ Star Lauren E. Banks Reflects on Her Audition & Working With David Oyelowo (VIDEO)

Lawmen: Bass Reeves has brought the true story of Bass Reeves’ legendary career as a U.S. Deputy Marshal to life. But at the core of the story has been the love between Bass and his wife, Jennie Reeves.

David Oyelowo and City on a Hill alum Lauren E. Banks were tasked with telling this true love story, and Oyelowo (who executive produced the season in addition to starring) tells TV Insider they “searched far and wide” for the perfect actor to play Jennie. They found what they needed in Banks, whose audition Oyelowo says was one of the best he’s ever seen.

“I’ve produced a few shows now. I don’t think I’ve ever had an audition tape have quite that effect on the brain trust as hers did,” he tells TV Insider in the video above. “It was just such a no-brainer, and that continued to be the case as we shot it. Chemistry is something that you can’t predict, but I certainly felt that with her. I completely bought our family, and my goodness do I buy her and Demi Singleton as mother and sister as well.”

Bass Reeves saw Oyelowo’s character trekking all across the American West to bring criminals to justice. This meant Jennie was left behind to tend to their home and 10 children (Singleton plays their eldest daughter, Sally Reeves). But the Reeves family was the anchor of the season, which debuted its finale on Sunday, December 17 on Paramount+, and Bass always returned home. Oyelowo says not every actor is eager to play a character “tethered to domesticity” like Jennie is, but Banks was game. Working with her on set was “an absolute dream.” And for Banks, it was a special moment to work with an actor she so admires.

Oyelowo is “an extremely thoughtful” scene partner, Banks shares above, adding that acting with him was a memorable learning experience.

“There’s a grace to David that he moves with, and an awareness of everything and everybody at the same time, and an understanding of responsibility as a leader,” she says. “But it’s really both the courage and the softness as a leader that is important. It can’t be muscled, even though I know he’s playing a really strong guy, someone who is a vicious competitor as it relates to bringing in the bad guys. That had to be juxtaposed to what we saw at home for him, so that permeated, I think, into the relationship between Jennie and Bass.”

“There’s no one side” of any human being, Banks goes on, “so I think the best actors of our time offer a lens into that human spirit that is multifaceted.”

Learn all about Banks’ Bass Reeves audition in the full video interview above.

Lawmen: Bass Reeves, Season Finale, Available Now, Paramount+