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Exclusive: Melissa L. Williams Talks “Ruthless” & The Mindset of Her Character

Melissa Williams is a prolific actress who has finished filming for the first season of her new show, “Ruthless”. We caught up with her to discuss her role as main character, Ruth Truesdale, and what we can expect as the season goes on.

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The Knockturnal: How do you get into the mindset of Ruth Truesdale?

Melissa L. Williams: Initially, I would get into the mindset of Ruth by watching and researching cults online. Then, I broke down my scenes, pulled information from what other characters were saying about her, and set specific intentions and objectives for the season; that puts me in the mindset technically and literally.

The Knockturnal: How would you describe the audition for Ruthless and the moment when you were chosen for the role of the main character?

Melissa L. Williams: I would describe all of it as surreal. From the moment I got word that I’d be flying out to Atlanta for a callback… like, I was at the gym! I was sitting on the floor at the gym screaming. I remember I had three roles to audition for on both “The Oval” and “Sistas.” I told my then team via email, “I’m not coming back without a role!” Then, to make a great story even greater, I’d received news that I booked Denise in “The Oval” while I was celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday in Jamaica. I get back to the states and Tyler Perry calls my phone and tells me that he wants me to play Ruth.

The Knockturnal: “Ruthless” looks like a very intense show. What can we expect in the coming episodes?

Melissa L. Williams: “Ruthless” is very deep. It highlights an existent reality that we just don’t speak about. The viewers can expect another mind-blowing season, new relationships, and alliances. Our show is not for kids, by the way.

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The Knockturnal: How does the experience working on “Ruthless” differ from working on “The Oval”?

Melissa L. Williams: Well to start, the shows are different in tone and genre. “Ruthless” is almost horror, I’ve been told people have nightmares. It’s just so dark.

The Knockturnal: You were often in local theater productions throughout your early years and even during college. What plays were you a part of during that time?

Melissa L. Williams: Sound of Music, Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, FAME, and The Miracle Worker to name a few.

The Knockturnal: If you were going to appear on Broadway, what would your dream play be?

Melissa L. Williams: I played Ronette in Lil Shop of Horrors in high school and I’d love to do it that on Broadway someday. 

The Knockturnal: What kind of technical training did you get in order to create your own projects?

Melissa L. Williams: I have a background in media production and worked in production as well. I also do my own research and study the actors who’ve done it.

The Knockturnal: Can you explain a bit more about the Young Storytellers? What activities does the group have?

Melissa L. Williams: I got introduced to Young Storytellers about two years ago and I volunteered mostly at Foster Elementary School. It’s a semester-long program where students get to work one on one with their mentor on scripts that are entirely their own, and then actors perform those for the students and their peers live. It’s important to uplift the next generation and make sure their voice is heard. 95% of teachers noticed an improvement in their kids’ writing skills!

The Knockturnal: Could you talk a bit more about your life in Oklahoma City? What experiences there shaped you into the person you are now?

Melissa L. Williams: My life in Oklahoma City will have to be fleshed out in a book probably haha…it was interesting as I’m sure most childhoods are. But, OKC is mostly where I laid my acting foundation and was really my training ground in that regard. Thanks, Ben Hall, thank you.