Dumezweni wants viewers—Black women in particular—to find this in themselves, as well. “In a post–George Floyd world, for me as a Black person, I do feel I will move through the world in a much more different way than I would’ve in January or February,” she says. “All shields are down now. Be vulnerable. Be honest. Speak what you need to say. I’m looking forward to that experience going forward in the world because I think a lot more people are feeling that way.”
Becoming this self-assured isn’t easy, of course. Dumezweni admits even she suffered from intense impostor syndrome at times on the Undoing set. “There was a day where I thought I was going to be fired,” she says. “I thought I was that bad. I’d just gotten in my head they’d chosen the wrong person. I was like, ‘I’m a theater actor. I’m working with Donald Sutherland, Nicole Kidman, and Hugh Grant.’
“I went home and cried and thought I’d fucked it up,” she continues. But the father of her daughter helped change her perspective. “We’re doing the coparenting thing, and I was explaining the situation. I said, ‘The woman who’s directing recently did Bird Box [on Netflix].’ He went, ‘What? That was great. Oh, Noma, step up your game.’ It was someone saying, ‘Come on, stop being self-pitying. You can do this.’ We both started laughing.”
Dumezweni vows to never feel like this again on future projects. “There was a bright new day a few days later going, ‘Oh, I do know what I’m doing,’” she says. “‘It’s okay. Let go of that fear. Let’s do the work.’”
So what will that future work be? Well, she stars in an upcoming series for HBO Max called Made for Love alongside Cristin Milioti and Ray Romano—but what about a second season of The Undoing?
“A second season doesn’t work because we’ve done it,” she tells me. “That was the story we told, based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s novel. That was the book.”
As for a Haley-centric spin-off, that’s something she might be open to. “What I love about my job is I do get to meet other characters,” Dumezweni says. “I do get to meet other people. What other opportunities are coming in terms of storytelling? I’ll never say never.”
And she does have some requirements, should a spin-off come to fruition: “[Show writer] David E. Kelley would have to write it. [Show director] Susanne Bier would have to direct it. If someone offers it to me, I’ll think very deeply about it.”
For now Noma Dumezweni is looking forward—while still trying to wrap her head around Haley fever. “I finished this job in June of last year and I’ve let go of Haley,” she says. “But I’ve rediscovered her in the watching and reactions of other people. And that has been so humbling.”
Christopher Rosa is the staff entertainment writer at Glamour. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrosa92.