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Nicole Beharie ready for ‘Sleepy’ break

112Indispensable_scn22_0102t’s either get out while the getting’s good or always leave them wanting more. Either way, FOX’s biggest hit from the fall season, “Sleepy Hollow,” wraps up it’s first season with the episode airing at 8 p.m. Monday on KMPH (Channel 26.1) It’s ending early because the production is so complicated, only 13 episodes were ordered. It will be back next year with the same amount of episodes to be produced.

The mystery-adventure drama from co-creators/executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (“Star Trek”) offers a modern twist on Washington Irving’s classic, “Ichabod Crane.” Tom Mison (“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”) plays a resurrected Crane who must deal with the modern world – something as alien to him as the Headless Horseman is to those around him.

A lot of this world is seen through the eyes of the police officer played by Nicole Beharie who first encounters Crane and becomes his partner in dealing with the mysteries. She came to this heavy science fantasy show after starring in the feature film “42” where she played Mrs. Jackie Robinson.

Beharie never expected “Sleepy Hollow” to be so physically and mentally challenging.

“I am going to be honest. It’s a labor of love, but a challenge,” Beharie tells me at a party thrown by FOX for the press and the network’s stars. “We had very little time for error. We had no margin to go back and shoot things. The pages were coming in and we were shooting them that day.

“And, they were intense pages. There are dense historical references, emotional story lines. There was never a second to get bored because it is so complicated but also intimate.”

And, because most of the creepy tale takes place at night, much of the series has been filmed after the sun goes down. Because the actors were bouncing between daytime and nighttime schedules, there was little time to rest. She said the schedule started wearing everyone down, but at the same time made everyone a lot closer. They found a supportive bond to get through the first year.

Beharie used that fatigue to play her role. She felt like her character would be exhausted from trying to deal with a world where the supernatural now seems very natural.

Each script presented three levels of work – the fantasy, the historical and the personal. As demanding as all of that became, Beharie calls being on the FOX series a gift. She’s taken that gift and played it so well that Beharie has been nominated in the Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series category for the “The 45th NAACP Image Awards.”

As honored as she is to have the recognition and the series, Beharie says the real honor in her life is having worked on “42.” Recently, she saw a picture of Jackie Robinson and became very emotional because she feels like she helped tell his story to a new generation through the feature film.

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