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'Found' Star Shanola Hampton Wanted Her Next Project to Have 'Grit and Layers' After 'Shameless': 'I Like Drama'

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Source: mega

Dec. 4 2023, Published 8:30 a.m. ET

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Though Shanola Hampton is known for playing Veronica Fisher on the Showtime dramedy Shameless, she was hoping her next role would be darker — and fortunately, that's what she got when she scored the lead in NBC's new series Found, which premiered on October 3.

"It has so many beautiful stories, and we're doing a show that is with purpose. I am able to be the villain and the hero at the same time — not that Gabi Mosely is a villain, but people have taken a lot of issue with the choices she's made. You can be two people and that makes you human," the 46-year-old exclusively tells OK! about the series, which focuses on Gabi Mosely and her team finding America's missing people forgotten by the media — except she has her own childhood kidnapper locked in her basement, played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar. "You want to root for her because you see her pain and how powerful it is. You can see what moves her and that makes you love her."

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Source: mega

The star was excited for her new role post-'Shameless.'

"This is exactly what I wanted in my next project — something that had grit and layers. We talk about missing people who are in underserved communities and don't get media attention, we talk about trauma and how easily you can go from sane to insanity," she adds. "It's gritty, dramatic, a thriller. It has all the components that make a great procedural, but also has the twist that people love."

As for what it's like to for the actress to play such a complex character, she insists it was "fun."

"It was exactly what I wanted to do post-Shameless. I wanted something that was layered and playing a beautifully flawed character," she says. "It has more than one thing going on and you're not just one person. You are represented in so many different places, and for Gabi to have the passion she does for finding missing people — but also be a person that is still healing — is such a big reason I wanted to play this role."

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"I like drama. I like to get into the mind and exercise that part of myself. I am not a crier, so I get to cry at work now!" she adds.

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Source: Todd Williamson/NBC

The two appear on NBC's new series 'Found.'

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Though the material is dark, it doesn't take much for Hampton to get into character. "The writers do a fantastic job. It's all on the page. What I had to do is take out any judgment of why she would take a man and put him in the basement. I had to get behind what her purpose was," she shares. "Once I was able to tap into that and get into wardrobe, it helped."

To prepare, the South Carolina native didn't want to research too much, as she likes to "bring my own self to characters and not be influenced" by anyone else.

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Source: Bryan Bedder/NBC

The actors have great chemistry on 'Found.'

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Additionally, Hampton also raved about working with the Saved by the Bell alum, 49. "I didn't know I would have a partner I could adore," she gushes. "He's very comfortable. I say he's like chicken soup for me, and I call him my oxygen on the show. He helps me to breathe — and breathe a little bit better."

The two didn't discuss their characters or the script prior to making the show, as they wanted to prepare in their own way. "Everyone has their own process. We locked eyes and we just got it," she says.

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Now that the strike is over, Hampton is thrilled to be back promoting the show — and she insists the story is only just beginning. "There's going to be so many twists and turns," she notes. "The train is off the tracks and it is not going back! It's going to explode. You will be satisfied at the end but still want dessert for Season 2."

Hampton is also grateful to be working on the show, which already got renewed for Season 2. "It was 10 years before I got Shameless. It's setting goals and manifesting so that you can say, 'I deserve this.' It's really cool to be in this moment, and I have to remind myself to very present," she says.

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Source: Matt Miller/NBC

Shanola Hampton enjoyed playing a controversial character on 'Found.'

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New episodes of Found air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

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