State Rep. Leslie Love on Her Role in ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’

irector Zack Snyder knew exactly what he was doing when he came to Detroit to film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which hits theaters March 25. Detroit had enough character and energy to serve as the backdrop for both fictional cities-Gotham and Metropolis.

After finding his filming location, he needed to find the mayor to lead Metropolis, the city Superman calls home.

Cue Michigan state Rep. Leslie Love, who was running for office during the time of her audition.

"They said to me, 'We loved your audition tape, you kind of have this Coretta Scott King vibe about you,'" Love says, who represents Michigan's 10th congressional district, whose boundaries include parts of Detroit's northwest side and Redford Township. "They consciously picked a Black woman to play the mayor of Metropolis. They could have picked anybody. There were actors from Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Ohio up here shooting, but they picked me, a Black woman from Detroit, to have this awesome experience."

Love filmed scenes at the Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac and a scene at the London Chop House in downtown Detroit with Laurence Fishburne. In the scene Love shot at the studio, she gives a speech as the city of Metropolis erects a monument in Superman's honor.


"I give this great speech about how we are a resilient people, and that no attack or no force will bring us down. We will always continue to rebuild because that's the strength of the people of Metropolis. I thought it was serendipitous because at that time I was running for office (in Detroit)."

Detroit and Metropolis have more in common than filming locations. Love says the two cities have very similar stories.

"I could identify with it because my city was going through exactly the same," Love says. "That's probably why Zack picked Detroit, not only for the filming center but because of our own personal story as a city of having gone through the bankruptcy situation. Where we could be broken down, and you see the sweaters and the T-shirts that say 'Detroit vs Everybody' and yet we’re rising from those ashes now."

Love says she truly got the movie star treatment when she was filming. "I had handlers and makeup and hair and costumes. I had people who walked me to my location-I felt like Julia Roberts."

But she's no stranger to the spotlight. Prior to running for office, Love was director of theater operations and an adjunct professor at Marygrove College and Wayne County Community College District. Before academia, she worked as a standup comedienne, performing on BET’s Comic View and touring internationally with Cedric the Entertainer.

"I see the two so parallel," Love says about politics and acting. "The skill set that you learn in theater is absolutely applicable in politics. You have to be resourceful. If you have a lack of money or resources-the show must go on. We're great improvisers. Theater people are advanced critical thinkers and problem solvers-same thing you need in politics."

Having worked on other people's campaigns early in her career, Love decided to run for office when she thought it was time for her voice to be at the table.

"We need good people in Lansing, who're really in the trenches with folks and really understand, not from this lofty, up-high-on-the-mountain place, but in a real earthy, authentic place."

Some of Love's key initiatives are economics and youth prison reform. Through her work and visiting youth in prison, she's noticed the importance art plays in the rehabilitation process.

"A lot of the time, young people, what helped them cope was drawing or writing poems or songs or rap," Love says.

Love's passion for youth doesn't stop there. Coming up in Detroit Public Schools, Love says the arts at Cooley High-a one-time incubator for performers which counts Law & Order actress S. Epatha Merkerson and rappers Black Milk and Obie Trice among its alumni-is what inspired her to get into theater.

"The bug hit me right in DPS. We didn't have a lot of money to put on plays, but all those wonderful programs back in the late '80s is the same kind of opportunity and exposure we want our children going into the future to have," Love says. "There are endless possibilities for a person who you give the opportunity to. Because I got that opportunity, I'm eager to give it back."

Did you see us?

These real-life Detroiters have also gotten their time in the spotlight over the years

Diana Lewis: The now-retired newscaster played the reporter that introduced Rocky Balboa to the world in the 1976 film Rocky before delivering the news on WXYZ in 1977.

Glenda Lewis and Devin Scillian: Lewis' daughter, also at WXYZ, and the WDIV anchorman also appeared as newsies in the horror flick Scream 4, filmed in Ann Arbor.

Kid Rock: Romeo's own rocker played Robby in the 2001 comedy Joe Dirt.

Ed Welburn: The General Motors design executive played a fictional version of himself in the 2014 film Transformers: Age of Extinction, shot right in the GM Design Center in Warren.

Gil Hill: The late Detroit City Council President earned notoriety in Hollywood for his role as Inspector Todd in the Beverly Hills Cop franchise.

Bill Bonds: The legendary news anchor also played a newscaster in the 1971 film Escape from the Planet of the Apes.

Alana walker is associate editor of BLAC Detroit. Follow her on Twitter @Alana_Renee.

Facebook Comments



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here