Emmy-winning writer, actor, and producer Lena Waithe has made a name for herself with projects like The Chi and Master of None, as well as roles on the silver screen like Ready Player One. The next project that she’s hoping to tackle? A biopic of groundbreaking television icon Mary Tyler Moore.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Waithe revealed that Moore is a personal hero of hers, not only because she grew up watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but also because of the boundaries that Moore broke for women in the television industry.
“I read her autobiography more times than I can count,” Waithe said. “Because I was obsessed with The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I was, like, who is this woman? Who is this person that everybody is wanting to be, that everybody was so happy when she came onscreen? Who was this woman who went from being Dick Van Dyke’s wife [on The Dick Van Dyke Show] to the first woman to wear pants on primetime television? The first real single girl that wasn’t focused on finding a man on primetime TV.”
She continued to discuss her impact.
“She was a feminist in every sense of the word, but she was also a functioning alcoholic. She was also extremely private. She had MTM [Enterprises]. MTM produced St. Elsewhere, Lou Grantand all these other amazing shows. I feel like, I want to tell her story. That is what I want to do, I’m only concerned with doing what I want to do. I don’t want to follow a certain path. I just want to just make dope sh-t.”
Waithe also revealed that while she’s not quite sure how she’ll create the project, it’s something that she wants to pursue, as well as a doing a James Baldwin feature.
“I don’t really know how to do it. I really want to do that and find a dope actress to come in and play her and figure it out,” she said. “That’s the thing that’s on my radar that I want to figure out. But I’m still a queer black girl and want to tell a James Baldwin [story], too. But that’s who I am, that’s what kind of artist I am.”