Sumalee Montano plays a tough CIA officer in 'The Lost Symbol,' the TV adaptation of the book from Dan Brown's hugely popular 'Da Vinci Code' series.
Montano was first seen as nurse Mahal in the medical drama 'ER' in 2002. After almost two decades of playing supporting characters and cameos, the Filipina-Thai-American actress got her first regular cast member role in The Lost Symbol. She says finally getting to the front seat of the table is 'phenomenal.'
"It only took 20 years... I feel like we're literally witnessing a shift now to more meaningful representation for actors of color, and I'm so happy to be a part of that," Montano shares. "When I started, it was my first job as a recurring role as a nurse on ER and I got to say a few lines here and there. But it's been a journey, a lot of pounding the pavement. And I'm so thrilled. I think the most important thing to me is that these characters (in The Lost Symbol) are not tokenized. They really have worked to make sure that we are dimensional and complex. And that to me is everything."
Montano adds playing a complex character and working with her costars in The Lost Symbol has been fulfilling. "I'm amazed every day by how much everybody brings and pours themselves into this project, and to be able to connect with each other the way we do while we're in pandemic is so special."
The actress also recently scored a producing deal in Hollywood for a slate of projects. Her successful career as a voiceover artist, where she has played lead roles, has also sustained her through the years. Montano was part of the Filipino voice cast of 'Trese,' where she played the character Ramona for its English version.