THE EQUALIZER's Laya DeLeon Hayes on Delilah's Training: 'She's Ready to Have Control Over Her Life' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE EQUALIZER’s Laya DeLeon Hayes on Delilah’s Training: ‘She’s Ready to Have Control Over Her Life’

November 18, 2022 by  

The Equalizer Laya DeLeon Hayes interview

“Gaslight” – When a widowed single mother claims her dead husband is attempting to kill her from beyond the grave, McCall and the team help uncover the truth, on the CBS Original series THE EQUALIZER, Sunday, Oct. 16 (8:30-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. Gloria Reuben guest stars as Trish, a recently widowed gallerist who rekindles a romantic relationship with Aunt Vi. Pictured: Laya DeLeon Hayes as Delilah. Photo: Michael Greenberg/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

With so much out of her control, THE EQUALIZER’s Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes) made a big decision: She wanted to train, in order to protect herself in the future. (When your mom is a badass vigilante, odds are good it’ll be needed.)

Robyn (Queen Latifah) wasn’t fond of the idea, so D asked Mel (Liza Lapira), who turned her down. Mel relented, and agreed to help with her training. Mel’s one condition? The blame falls on Mel if/when Robyn finds out what they’re up to.

It was a win for Delilah, but it also puts her in the uncomfortable position of having to lie to her mom for the foreseeable future.

“In season 2, anxiety was a big thing for her,” Hayes acknowledges to Give Me My Remote. “Finding out what her mom did for a living and coming to terms with it, [that] took an emotional toll on Delilah. In season 3, though, her being able to train with Mel is her way of taking agency and having control over a situation that in season 2 she felt she had no control over. In season 1 and season 2, there were definitely white lies that Delilah would say to her mom or think that she could get away with just because she was a teenage girl. In season 3, in her coming into her own, it feels like it’s now life or death. It almost feels like a way of survival, the stakes are so high.”

“Her mom not saying that she can train is discouraging, but it also feels like all right, she just has to take matters into her own hands,” she continues. “I think PTSD, and the ways that that was affecting her in seasons before, was because there was a lack of control. She really didn’t understand her mom’s job and where she fit in this new world, knowing the honest truth from her mom. But in season 3, with those walls finally coming down, she’s ready to take agency and she’s ready to have control over her life and also protect the ones that she loves. And with training being the biggest option for her and what looks like the best solution, there’s a lot more confidence that comes with that as opposed to anxiety.”

Prior to the season starting, Hayes spoke with THE EQUALIZER writing team for the annual chat to talk about potential character stories for the season. Hayes mentioned she really wanted to do stunt work and they were “super open” to it. As Delilah officially begins her training in the Sunday, November 20 episode of the CBS drama, Hayes is getting to play out her wish.

“It’s been so much fun,” she says with a laugh. “I’ve only gotten to do little stunts here and there; they’re warming me up into it.”

“But for me, it’s just been fun getting to know how to fight on set versus actually fighting,” she continues. “I’m the type of person who goes headstrong; I go in fully and ready to go. And fighting or doing stunts on-camera is just so technical, to make it look like you’re actually doing something intense, but nobody’s getting hurt at the same time. And it’s almost been magical seeing different tricks and different things you can use to make sure that you’re not hurting your costar or hurting a stunt double. So that’s been a lot of fun to learn and to also pace myself with so I don’t get too excited.”

It helps that while Hayes is still relatively new to stunt work, Delilah is also still learning how to fight.

“I was kind of nervous to start out,” Hayes admits. “I’ve never really done stunts before. I’ve never had a stunt double on EQUALIZER before. And both the stunt coordinator and our talented stunt doubles have been so gracious, kind, and helpful in making sure that I felt the most comfortable. But Delilah is starting out in it as me, Laya the actor, is also starting out in it, so the punches and the kicks, they don’t have to be completely perfect. And we do have very talented stunt doubles who absolutely kill it as well.”

“So it’s been really great conversing with them and figuring out how I can make it look realistic,” she continues. “But a big portion of it, so far, has been, ‘Hey, and if it doesn’t look perfect, don’t worry, because Delilah isn’t perfect, and she’s also learning how to do it as well.’ Which has taken a lot of the weight or pressure off of me. But it’s also been fun. I feel like sometimes with me and Delilah, our paths are kind of coinciding. And this has been another way for our paths to coincide, so it’s been a good time.”

The Equalizer Laya DeLeon Hayes interview

“Blowback” – When a smuggler being detained by the CIA must be transferred quickly to a secure debriefing site, McCall works with Carter Griffin to ensure he arrives unharmed. Also, Dante deals with the possibility of his father being released from prison, on the CBS Original series THE EQUALIZER, Sunday, Nov. 13 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. Donal Logue guest stars as Colton Fisk, one of the CIA’s most decorated agents. Pictured (L-R): Liza Lapira as Melody “Mel” Bayani and Laya DeLeon Hayes as Delilah. Photo: Michael Greenberg/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Of course, there can be other uses for the on-screen training, too. “What I actually learned from Liza Lapira—I was doing some of the stunts with her, which you’ll see in in episode 3×06—was, ‘This is a great thing to actually learn and actually practice when you’re at home, so if an opportunity comes where you have to use it, you are prepped and ready for it,'” Hayes recalls. “That’s the cool thing about acting: you’re able to learn so many things about different subjects or topics or career paths even by just playing a character. She was like, ‘I’m gonna learn how to flip this person over, so if the time comes and need to do it, I can flip them over.’ Who knows, maybe that’ll open something up for me in the future, where I’ll actually want to try like jujutsu. But as of right now, I’m just trying to build my stamina so I can keep up with our stunt coordinators.”

The decision to train wasn’t the only big thing that’s happened to Delilah this season: Mel and Harry (Adam Goldberg) came to family dinner at the house, allowing Robyn’s two worlds to collide in a real way. (And, of course, things got further intermingled in the season premiere when Robyn was kidnapped and nearly everyone came together to find her.)

Filming the dinner scene “was the best, I gotta say,” Hayes says with a laugh. “Mainly because when we first started the show, it was 2020—it was deep into COVID time, we were all in different zones. We’re still getting tested every day, which is a good thing, but it was so scary. It was just completely unknown, vaccinations weren’t out yet. And so I didn’t meet a lot of our writers and the other actors that I wasn’t filming with until the last episode of season 1. I never met Adam Goldberg. I never met Liza Lapira. I had maybe one conversation with Tory Kittles before season 2. So being able to be in one room together, and to bond with…I think one of the biggest joys of acting is working with your other costars and working with such talented people. And to be able to be in one space with them, finally, is really special.”

“Not to mention, we never have guests over at the house,” she continues. “It’s usually just like me, Aunt Vi, and Robyn McCall all eating together or hanging out in the kitchen. And me and Lorraine [Toussaint], we get so excited every time we have guests sit down in our dining room—it almost feels like a real family, because we spend so much time with each other. So I’ve been having a ball and that scene was one of my favorites of season 3 to film.”

Can’t wait until Sunday’s new episode? Watch an exclusive clip from “A Time to Kill,” as Robyn talks with a grieving mother…

THE EQUALIZER, Sundays, 8/7c, CBS


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One Response to “THE EQUALIZER’s Laya DeLeon Hayes on Delilah’s Training: ‘She’s Ready to Have Control Over Her Life’”

  1. Charley on November 20th, 2022 11:24 pm

    So not a fan of this storyline. Feels like it’s jumping the shark