Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba star in Charter Communications’ new on-demand service, Spectrum Originals, Bad Boys spinoff, L.A.’s Finest. The drama series picks up after Union’s character Sydney “Syd” Burnett had taken down a drug cartel in Bad Boys 2. A former DEA agent, Burnett takes a job with the LAPD as a detective.
To find her on-screen and off-screen partner, Union wanted someone just as committed and strong-willed as her.
“Going into the creation of the show, it was already a revolutionary act,” said Union. “You have two female leads, one of whom is black, who’s in charge, and who gets to have a massive say in who the other powerhouse is.”
Union eventually found that powerhouse in Jessica Alba, who would play the role of her partner and a mother, Nancy McKenna.
“There’s not too many women that run a billion-dollar company” — Alba co-founded The Honest Company — “and have established iconic characters who can kick ass, who has the same work ethic that I do, and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind,” said Union.
Alba gravitated towards the show because of its underlying portrayal of female empowerment and equality.
“It felt really modern to tell the story of this friendship and partnership between these two women, and to not have to call out that we were women all the time,” she said. “We’re just people.”
The visions for Union and the producers, early on, were at its center, a family-friendly environment, and motherhood.
“We created what we’d never seen,” said Union, “and Jessica was one of the first people to know that when we did the pilot, I had just shot an embryo into our surrogate. So we created a world for Jessica that I was hoping for myself.”
Union knew Jessica would be the right person to trust with the process.
“I needed somebody that was going to be on board with a new way of filming, a new way of doing Hollywood,” Union said. “By the time the show got picked up and we’re shooting, my baby’s due literally in the middle of the season and came early. I needed someone who was going to have my back, and that was Jessica.”
Union is used to putting her life on hold when it came to the demands of a filming schedule. She knew the amount of time and work given to any project in Hollywood.
“I’ve been in the business almost 25 years, and there is zero consideration for your life and your health,” said Union. “How do you get to the dentist? How do you get to the doctor? How do you pick up your kids? How do you account for any kind of emergency? They don’t care. That’s the quick answer.”
When Union found out how flexible the shooting days would be for L.A.’s Finest, she was taken aback.
“They schedule you in a way that allows you to come in, do great work, and get home,” said Union. “And they listen.”
The first three episodes of L.A.’s Finest are available to stream now on Spectrum Originals.