‘It’s beyond thought’: Gugu Mbatha-Raw on making ‘The Morning Show’s’ toughest scene

Gugu Mbatha-Raw in a scene from the Season 1 finale of "The Morning Show."

In the latest episode of The Times’ TV podcast, “Can’t Stop Watching,” host and staff writer Yvonne Villarreal asks “The Morning Show’s” Gugu Mbatha-Raw how she prepared for a challenging scene in the Apple TV+ series’ first season in which her character, TV news producer Hannah Shoenfeld, is coerced into sex by a powerful anchor played by Steve Carell:

It was reading. It was talking to friends who had been in similar situations. It’s really just stripping away, in retrospect, all the things that we rationally decide are the logical ways to respond to those moments and going back to “fight or flight” moments. And not even fight or flight — I think “freeze.” Personally, I have not really been — thankfully — in a situation like Hannah has been, in that respect. But I have been in a couple of dangerous situations, and I have definitely felt the freeze response when I have felt at risk. ... It’s beyond thought. It’s much more primal, and it’s much more instinct-driven.

Listen to the full episode to hear Mbatha-Raw talk about “The Morning Show’s” handling of the #MeToo movement, working with an intimacy coordinator for the first time, and the portrait of George Floyd she recently painted. Then check out our conversations with “Mrs. America’s” Uzo Abuda, “Watchmen’s” Jean Smart and more.