Atlanta actor on the rise: Carra Patterson in Disney+’s ‘Turner & Hooch’

Carra Patterson in "Turner & Hooch" on Disney+. (Disney/Farah Nosh)

Credit: Disney

Combined ShapeCaption
Carra Patterson in "Turner & Hooch" on Disney+. (Disney/Farah Nosh)

Credit: Disney

Atlanta actress Carra Patterson plays a sidekick in more ways than one in the new Disney+ show “Turner & Hooch,” inspired by the 1989 Tom Hanks film of the same name.

Patterson’s character Jessica is the police partner to Scott Turner (Josh Peck of Nickelodeon’s “Drake & Josh” fame) and his dog Hooch, a Dogue de Bordeaux breed. The concept is simple: man and dog solve crimes together.

“The dog totally steals the show.,” Patterson admits. “It’s Hooch’s show. We are all aware of that. We know what we signed up for. There are actually five dogs. We got to spend time training with them so we could be familiar with each one. They each have different skills. I got to see their different personalities and I could guess which dog was which.”

She said it was fun to bring back the film in TV form. “That was such a timeless film,” she said. “This creative team kept many of those same elements: the heart, the action, a little romance and comedy. This is a show that works as the world is opening up. The whole family can watch it together.”

The series, which was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, is available now on Disney+.

Here are some excerpts from my talk with Patterson:

Atlanta ties: Patterson came to Atlanta at age 11, attending Camp Creek Middle School and graduating Eagle’s Landing High School. She also received a bachelor’s degree at Georgia State University in 2006.

Who inspired her into acting: Tammy Staten Daniels, her high school drama teacher. Patterson watched a performance of Ntozake Shange’s theater piece “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf and “it opened my eyes. I didn’t know there was such material that gave voice to such strong Black women. I hadn’t seen a play before. I would do monologues from that play. Dr. Daniels would enter me in monologue competitions throughout high school.”

Combined ShapeCaption
Carra Patterson stars in "Turner & Hooch" on Disney+ PUBLICITY PHOTO/Stan Demidoff

Credit: Stan Demidoff

Carra Patterson stars in "Turner & Hooch" on Disney+ PUBLICITY PHOTO/Stan Demidoff

Credit: Stan Demidoff

Combined ShapeCaption
Carra Patterson stars in "Turner & Hooch" on Disney+ PUBLICITY PHOTO/Stan Demidoff

Credit: Stan Demidoff

Credit: Stan Demidoff

Getting the acting bug: She continued to pursue acting while attending Georgia State University. “I got blinded by the Hollywood lights as an undergrad. I wasn’t that great a student. I was expecting my big break. I’d skip classes and go on open calls.” She put together a showcase with seven other students and caught the attention of Jody Feldman, Alliance Theatre casting director. She later went to New York University for an acting grad program.

Her first actual big break: She nabbed a role in 2015′s “Straight Outta Compton” as Eazy-E’s girlfriend. She then got cast as a regular in 20 episodes of the E! drama “The Arrangement” in 2017 and 2018.

“Turner and Hooch”: “This is my first comedy. I’m so excited to be doing a comedic role. It’s so much fun.”

Dogs don’t always follow the script: “I love improv as an actor. With a dog on the scene, you have to be prepared for anything all the time. You are supposed to go left. Hooch goes right. I have to always be on my toes.

Light comedy in a police department on Disney show: “I’m a Black woman. I’m an artist. I’m very aware of the context. I’m very intentional about every choice I make. This is what I want to do with my art. It was a conscious choice to be a Black woman in law enforcement. This is a comedy. It’s a family show. I was aware how I was representing her. I wanted to show her in a positive light. My character is very woke.”

Pregnant season one: “I had a baby during the production. They wrote it into the script. Since this is the first time I’m having a child, I didn’t know how hard pregnancy was. Physically, it was exhausting. My back was always sore. I have so much more respect for my mom. She did this four times.”

Compared to the original film: “I wanted to honor the tone that was set in the original film with Tom Hanks. Reginald VelJohnson reprises his role for this series. I wanted to pay homage to him. I wanted to steal some of his tricks. He’s an icon.”


WHERE TO WATCH

“’Turner & Hooch,” available on Disney+