Mekia Cox shares a slice of life in new film If Not Now, When?

(L-R) Meagan Good as Tyra, Mekia Cox as Suzanne, Tamara Bass as Patrice and Meagan Holder as Deidre in the drama, IF NOT NOW, WHEN?, a Vertical Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment.
(L-R) Meagan Good as Tyra, Mekia Cox as Suzanne, Tamara Bass as Patrice and Meagan Holder as Deidre in the drama, IF NOT NOW, WHEN?, a Vertical Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment. /

Mekia Cox discusses her new project If Not Now, When?

Mekia Cox has a new film out today, and If Not Now, When? is a departure from her roles on Chicago Med and The Rookie.

If Not Now, When? focuses on a group of high school friends who are brought back together years later by a crisis. Described as a feature about “love, forgiveness and the incredible bond between women,” it’s a character-driven film that is also heartwarming.

Mekia joined One Chicago Center to preview the movie and tell us what it was like to play her character Suzanne, who’s different from Dr. Robin Charles or her current role as Det. Nyla Harper on The Rookie.

Learn more about the movie in our interview with Mekia Cox below, and then check it out this weekend on your favorite video-on-demand or digital service!

More from Chicago Med Actors

One Chicago Center: What was it about If Not Now, When? that hooked Mekia Cox?

Mekia Cox: It was very similar to me and what was happening in my life at the time. The script is about four friends who have been lifelong friends. I have four friends, we went to college together and to this day, they’re still my very best friends. We call ourselves 1736 because that was the name of our apartment that we lived in in college and I love these ladies dearly. One of those ladies’ names is Deidre; there’s a character in the movie whose name is Deidre.

And then on top of that, my character was pregnant and at the time I was pregnant. So there were too many parallels. I was like, I have to play this role. I feel like this role was written for me to play.

OCC: The premise of the film rests on you creating that decades-long chemistry with your co-stars. How were you able to craft that dynamic where it does feel like that close friendship?

MC: It was really easy. I’ve now got friends for life. I didn’t have to do all that much homework, honestly, because it was similar to my life. I know what it’s like to have four really good friends who you have your ups and downs with, but it doesn’t matter; you all still remain friends. That’s what happened with these characters.

They’ve gone astray a little bit—I think my character in general has grown a little bit apart—but there’s always something that will bring them back together. There’s an incident that happens with Meagan Good’s character and it brings them all back together. Because honestly, they really care for and they really love each other. That wasn’t really hard for me to find because that’s what I have with my friends.

Mekia Cox
Mekia Cox as Suzanne in the drama, IF NOT NOW, WHEN?, a Vertical Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment. /

OCC: Meagan and Tamara Bass, your co-stars, were also the directors of If Not Now, When? and Tamara was the screenwriter. How was it for you to work on a set where the people you’re in a scene with were the people behind the camera as well?

MC: Meagan and Tamara were doing so much. Tamara wrote this script, she acted in it and she co-directed, so that was a lot. It was really amazing watching them, because this was both of their directorial debuts, and you would never know. They did such a good job. It ran really smoothly. Everyone was happy to be there, and we just had a lot of fun. I really liked watching those two women work; I learned a lot.

OCC: Most of your recent work has been on television, whether it’s Chicago Med, Once Upon A Time, and now The Rookie. How was it to return to a film role with a finite beginning and end?

MC: TV can be a lot different than film. However, the film didn’t have the highest budget and so they had to work within those constraints, and so there’s also time constraints. We didn’t have the luxury of having months to work on this.

But it didn’t matter, because what matters honestly is the story. The story was there and it was easy to connect to right off the bat for me. And I feel like not only did I connect to my character personally, but I connected to so many different characters, which I hope is what happens with the viewers. There’s little pieces of each character that you’re like, I know that. I’ve been there. I understand that. I’ve been there.

OCC: You could also say this isn’t a typical Mekia Cox role. You’ve been playing a doctor, a Disney princess, and a tough detective. Was it fun to play Suzanne in If Not Now, When? as just a regular person?

MC: That’s right. (laughs) She had a lot of similarities to me. However, she’s also going through a lot and you can tell that it’s wearing on her. She’s put on this act of being this put together woman who has it all. She’s got money, she’s got a wonderful house, she has a new baby on the way, she’s got a football player husband. It just seems like she’s doing all the things that are right. But as the movie goes on, you start to see that things aren’t all right.

She’s slowly beginning to crumble from the inside. And she hasn’t had her friends there in the way that she would have liked to—who could’ve propped her up, who could have helped her through some of these situations. She tends to internalize everything and make it seem as though everything is fine, and she’s gotten to the point now in her life where she can no longer do that.

OCC: What were your highlights from the film? Moments you loved on set or scenes that you loved overall?

MC: There’s a scene that I loved shooting and a scene that I loved watching. It’s a scene where, unfortunately, Meagan wasn’t in the scene but she was still there, because she was behind the camera shooting it. So it was all four of us and it’s a moment of fun. The girls are drinking wine, I’m drinking cider, and just laughing and giggling about old times. There were times where it just felt like we weren’t even acting, it just felt like we were girls having a girls’ night, drinking some wine and just having fun.

I’m just really excited about this film. I think right now because we are in this time where we are stuck in our houses, we’ve binged everything we can, it’s nice to have this slice of life story that is outside of what we are dealing with right now. We all know we’re dealing with a lot. And so if you want to just escape into another reality, because it is a story based in reality, it’s a good place to escape to.

Next. Chicago Med producers talk rest of season 6. dark

If Not Now, When? is now available on digital and video-on-demand platforms.