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Lea Michele spoke with members of Obama's team to prepare for 'The Mayor'

Actors Lea Michele and Brandon Micheal Hall are shown in a scene from the television show "The Mayor." THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-ABC-Tony Rivetti MANDATORY CREDIT
October 04, 2017 - 5:55 AM

TORONTO - With its blend of music, comedy and a fast-talking perfectionist character, "The Mayor" offered Lea Michele "a little bit of everything" she was looking for as a follow-up to "Glee."

She just needed help from some political pros to play the driven chief of staff to Brandon Micheal Hall's lead character, a young rapper who runs for mayor of his Northern California town in an effort to build buzz for his mixtape.

"Jeremy Bronson, who is the brains, writer, creator, genius behind 'The Mayor,' put me in touch with some incredible women who worked with Obama, actually, and helped me prepare for this role," said Michele, who received two Golden Globe nominations for playing Type A teen Rachel Berry on "Glee."

"So I got to get some really great insight on what it's like to be by someone's side from Day 1 and believe in them despite other people, what they believe and don't."

Debuting Saturday on CTV after its premiere on ABC this past Tuesday, the comedy series sees Hall's character surprisingly win his bid for mayor, leading to an entertainer-turned-unlikely leader scenario reminiscent of what's unfolding in the U.S.

"To play someone who is not only a rapper and is passionate about music but who is also passionate about community was a huge thing that struck me and drew me to the part," said Hall.

Although the show was created before U.S. President Donald Trump was elected, it is timely. In the first episode, for instance, there's a reference to White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.

"This show talks about some important political issues but it does it in a really lighthearted (way), and we're delivering this message through music and through comedy is so great, but also the issue of diversity," Michele, 31, said in a recent interview in Toronto.

"It's the best time to do it because a lot of kids will be able to relate to the show," added Hall, 24, who was doing the interview with Michele via speakerphone because he couldn't make it to Toronto for the press day.

"They're finally going to see people that look like them or people that act the way that they act, and they're going to see them in these really powerful and strong but also witty and comical positions during a time where things are a little bit grey and a little bit not so comical anymore."

The Juilliard-trained Hall is a relative newcomer, with only a handful of TV credits to his name before landing "The Mayor."

He did have some hip-hop experience, though, having been a part of a rap group when he was younger.

"We used to rap in the basement of my cousin's house back in South Carolina," he said. "After that I really just got into poetry and writing my own poems and just found a different outlet to express myself and express my thoughts. Recently I just started getting into beat making, got into Logic Pro and trying to find a way to incorporate that back into my artistic life."

"Brandon also went to Juilliard, so if the role was to be a dragon, he could be a dragon," added Michele. "He's that talented."

But does Michele have to rap in the show?

"This is the question for me now, asking if I'm going to rap," she said with a laugh. "I think I should learn a sick rap and be like, 'Yes,' and then bust it out. I should learn the Nicki (Minaj) 'Monster' rap or something really fast."

"We can do a duo," added Hall. "I can do Drake and you can be Nicki."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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