We get to talk with Saniyya Sidney, a rising young star!
Fences has been nominated for 6 Critics Choice Awards and Saniyya has some great on-set memories. In Fences, Saniyya plays “Raynell Maxson”. Troy’s (Washington) young illegitimate child whose constant need for care and support convinces Rose (Davis) to take Troy back into the house. Raynell is the only Maxson child that will live with few scars from Troy and is emblematic of new hope for the future and the positive values parents and older generations pass on to their young.
Saniyya tell us a little bit about your character in the movie Fences? Do you share any similarities with your character?
I play Raynell who is Denzel Washington & Viola Davis’ daughter. What we share is we both have a strong mind, great hope and want others to find their happiness.
How did you get the part and how tough were the auditions? Did you find it intimidating to be working with such an A list cast?
I put myself on tape. Then my call back was with Denzel. He flew me to Pittsburgh to meet and work with him. I have been working very hard at my craft since I was five-years-old. I had always hoped to receive a call one day from Denzel. So when it came I felt like I had prepared half my life for it.
Have you read August Wilson’s “Fences” or seen the play before doing the film?
I researched it while I was preparing my role. It is such an honor to be a part of the very first August Wilson play to be made into a film.
How was it like working on set with Denzel Washington & Viola Davis?
A dream come true. They work SO hard at finding the truth in every moment. Telling a great and important story is very important to them. They inspired me to always seek to become a better actor.
If you would work with another actor or actress, who would it be and why?
I would love to work with Casey Affleck because he’s an actor and director. Amy Adams because I’ve been a fan for many years. And Denzel Washington and Viola Davis because I would love to do every movie with them.
Were there any funny behind the scene stories you can share with us while filming?
Denzel was teaching me to hit a baseball for the first time, and I got the ball stuck way up in the tree. So he kept trying to lift me way up so I could get it. They kept calling him to set, because, you know, he was directing the movie. And he said “Can’t you see I’m busy playing with Saniyya?!”
How supportive has your family been about your acting?
I have the very best family in the world. They have always supported my dream and allowed me to make it my own. They have taught me the great value of discipline & always being kind and grateful to others.
What was the defining moment when you decided you wanted to be an actor?
I guess it happened the day I was born. I’ve just always know that this is what I want to do.
Who is the most famous actor you have met and what have you learned from them? Are there any celebrities you want to meet?
I guess it would be Denzel. He taught me to always seek the truth in life and in every performance. Beyonce’ is the celebrity that I most want to meet. I am definitely part of the Beehive!!!!!
What is playing on your iPod?
Destiney’s Child, Solange, Beyonce’, Michael Jackson and Janet.
Is it difficult to maintain being a student while acting? How do you fit in all of your schoolwork?
It always seems to work. I think when a person really wants to do something they find a way to get it all done.
If you could guest star on any TV show which one would it be and why?
How to get Away With Murder, of course. That way I get to act with Viola again.
Where can we find you on social media?
Twitter/Instagram: @saniyyasidney FB: Saniyya Sidney
Any advice for other children getting into acting?
Be honest with yourself why you want to become an actor. If you truly love it you will do it from and for your soul. If you want to do it to become famous. There are many other things that bring fame. Become a great scientist to find cures to save the world!
Tell us why everyone should go out and watch Fences?
Denzel Washington. Viola Davis. Drop the mic.
Special thanks to Saniyya Sidney for taking the time out to talk to us!