Chanté Adams of 'A League of Their Own' says Angela Bassett is her greatest acting inspiration

Chanté Adams of 'A League of Their Own' says Angela Bassett is her greatest acting inspiration

Updated on August 13, 2022 17:58 PM by Ava Sara

Chanté Adams

Chanté Adams is a rising star, but one actress in particular has encouraged her to keep aiming for excellence in the acting world.

Adams discussed her new Prime Video series, A League of Their Own, which premieres on Friday, and how she became bitten by the acting bug. "My freshman year, first day of high school, I auditioned for a play because my friend was auditioning and I didn't want to be left alone and appear pathetic. So I told myself, "I'll just go with you and wait for you."" Adams, 27, elaborates. "My theatre teacher then told me, 'If you're going to wait here, you have to audition.' And I was like, 'OK, girl.' Please give me the lines.' So I read the lines, and the next day my name appeared on a cast list for a play."

Adams tells Media

Adams adds, recalling her own reaction at the time: "'What?' I thought. I mean, I have a couple months till cheer tryouts, so I'll do it to pass the time.' And then I was like, 'I suppose I can do the next one,' and then I was like, 'I guess I'll do the next one,' and then I had a degree in acting before I knew it." Adams has been performing since she received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University. But, without hesitation, she tells media that legendary actress Angela Bassett motivated her to pursue her dreams even farther.

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'Iconic' Adams

"Iconic," Adams describes Bassett, 63. "I remember the scene so well from watching her in What's Love Got to Do With It. They asked me on the Megabus on my way to New York, 'Have you ever seen What's Love Got to Do With It?' 'No,' I replied." Seeing Bassett's performance inspired her reconsider her goals for her own acting career. "I saw that movie and thought, 'Oh, that's what I want to do.' That's exactly what I'm going to do.' "She remembers. "I want to make others feel the way she made them feel."

"I feel like those two are my primary people that I'm just totally enamoured with," Adams says of Bassett and Regina King.

Adams played rapper Roxanne Shante

So far, Adams has been able to fill many of her "dream positions" on her résumé. She played rapper Roxanne Shante in the Sundance Film Festival blockbuster Roxanne Roxanne, and she co-starred in A Journal for Jordan with PEOPLE's 2020 Sexiest Man Alive Michael B. Jordan. She has also appeared in films such as Monsters & Men, Voyagers, and The Photograph. "God comes up before I have the opportunity to stop," she adds. "While I'm working and on set for 16 hours a day, five to six days a week, there are times when I think, 'I'd rather be doing anything else at this point.' But then I remember that many others have this goal, and I'm just one of the fortunate few who get to live it. So I just go back to that place of thanks and say, 'I can manage this.'"

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Being Black, LGBT, and a woman were difficult tasks of 1900s

Adams will next be seen on the baseball field in Prime Video's remake of A League of Their Own. She plays Max Chapman, a queer Black woman in the 1940s with dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. "Max, she's waging three wars," she explains. "Being Black, LGBT, and a woman in the 1940s was especially difficult. Add to that the fact that she's attempting to play baseball. But the fact that she is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her dream of joining a team and playing baseball with like-minded people, I believe should motivate every human who watches the show to go after it and do the dang thing."

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Narrative of a generation of women who played baseball

"Even if you get a lot of no's, you're not going to get a never," she adds. The remake, which comes 30 years after the original 1992 film starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, and Rosie O'Donnell, analyses Max's own perspective in comparison to star/co-creator Abbi Jacobson's character Carson Shaw, which is significantly different owing to race. "It's not the All-American Professional Girls Baseball League's narrative. It's the narrative of a generation of women who played baseball, and it's not just about white women "Adams' role is inspired by three real-life Black female baseball players: Mamie Johnson, Toni Stone, and Connie Morgan.

It's crucial to have women of colour

"It's crucial to have women of colour in that narrative, in that story," she explains, "because we're trying to give a very true portrayal of that historical period." "So we couldn't just develop a tale about white ladies playing baseball. That has already been completed."

A League of Their Own will be available on Prime Video on August 12.

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