Where I've Been

The California Road Trip Jurnee Smollett-Bell Would Take Again

It won’t take long for Jurnee Smollett-Bell to figure out where to flee to when she’s not filming WGN America’s ambitious new drama “Underground.”

“I’m a fish,” she says. “I love water. I’ll go anywhere where there’s a beach.”

Marriott Traveler caught up with the actress during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah, while she joined the rest of the cast of “Underground” to promote the series that debuts March 9. Watch the trailer here.

In “Underground,”produced by singer John Legend, Smollett-Bell plays Rosalee, part of a group of slaves who plan a daring escape from a Georgia plantation to cross 600 miles to freedom. The series films in Baton Rouge, Lousiana, and co-stars Aldis Hodge, Christopher Meloni, Alano Miller, Jessica de Gouw and Amirah Vann.

The show is Smollett-Bell’s first since HBO’s “True Blood” ended its run in 2014. She’s no stranger to television, having essentially grown up on the small screen, acting in “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” “Full House,” “On Our Own,” and more recently “Friday Night Lights.” Her film credits also include “Eve’s Bayou” and “The Great Debaters.”

With “Where I’ve Been,” Marriott Traveler finds out the places people in various industries have recently traveled to that really impressed them.

For Smollett-Bell, it was the coastline between Los Angeles and San Francisco while on a road trip with her husband, singer Josiah Bell.

“It was so surprising how breathaking it is,” she told Marriott Traveler. “We stopped everywhere — Big Sur, Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, Monterey. We went all the way up to Napa Valley.”

Finding time to hang out with her husband is tough, given their rigorous production schedules.

“We work so much and a lot of times our work makes it where we’re not able to get a lot of quality time,” Smollett-Bell says.

But when they do, they often escape to Mexico.

“We vacation there a lot,” says Smollett-Bell, recently enjoying the beachfront village of Punta Mita, in Nayarit, about 10 miles north of Puerto Vallarta.

“It is nice to do nothing when we’re on vacation,” she adds.

However, they may just find themselves in another car heading up the California coast sometime soon.

“It was so fun,” Smollett-Bell says. “I would really like to do that again.”