Patina Miller at The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2 New York premiere.
Theater geeks may know Patina Miller as the Tony Award-winning actress who portrayed the Leading Player in 2013’s Broadway revival of Pippin. But this year, Patina Miller moved from the theater stage to the screens—both big and small. In the recently released The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Miller tackles the gritty role of rebel leader Commander Paylor, starring alongside Jennifer Lawrence. And on CBS’s Madam Secretary, the actress plays a leader of a different sort: the Secretary of State’s press coordinator, Daisy Grant. We caught up with the actress to chat about both roles and what’s next for her in 2016.
You've got a great role in The Hunger Games. PATINA MILLER: I play one of the leaders of the rebellion. She partners with Katniss [played by Lawrence] and everyone else to overtake the Capitol; to overthrow and get [President] Snow out of there. I don’t want to give it away, but she plays a pivotal role in the end.
Was it fun getting to play such a badass? PM: Yeah! I got to play a badass in Pippin and then I went straight into another badass role. It was fun playing such a strong female character. You don’t get those a lot, so when you get one, you just hold onto it and do the best you can with the role.
Did you have to do any special training? PM: No special training for me. Luckily, I was already in my Pippin shape. Having done eight shows a week—particularly in a show like Pippin where you're dancing and doing acrobatics every night—I was ready for anything that they were going to throw at me.
What was being on set like? PM: It was so amazing. It was my first film [so] I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought we’d be in a studio doing a lot of green screen stuff. [Then], to see the work that went into creating these different sets in the outskirts of Atlanta in people’s backyards, and going to Berlin, it really helped to put you into the world. We were in this one—I don’t even know what you’d call it—some junkyard that they kind of destroyed and made District 8. It was so cool to see the level of detail that they [put into] all the different sets.
How does it feel to be part of such an influential franchise? PM: Oh my god, it’s the most wonderful thing. It frightened me a little at first because you hope that they like you and hope that they’re welcoming, but honestly, the fans are some of the most warm and welcoming fans ever. They really are the best fans in the world. Everyone has just been so open and excited for [me] and can’t wait to see what [I] do. It’s really made the whole process more special.
Do you have a dream film role? PM: There's so many amazing directors that I'd love to work with. I'd love to play another strong female again—a heroine of some sort. I'm loving doing that.
That brings us to your other role as Daisy Grant on Madam Secretary. PM: A little different! I’m not in combat boots [laughs]. I think she’s another strong female character and smart and funny. It’s really fun to go from playing someone like Commander Paylor to playing a press coordinator. [Also], it's TV, a very different medium. I'm lucky that I've gotten to bounce back and forth between all these different mediums of entertainment.
What’s on the horizon for 2016? PM: I’ll be doing a lot of concerts, a lot of singing gigs that I’m really looking forward to. We’ll go straight away into the second part of the second season of Madam Secretary. And from there, anything’s possible. Who knows?