Wilson has starred in the Resident, Billions, Black Panther, and this summer’s new Indiana Jones film.
Illustration: Ryan Inzana
“When I got back from Cannes, my body just shut down,” says Shaunette Renée Wilson, who was at the festival to support Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. At the time, she thought it was fatigue, but it turns out the culprit in this case is mold due to a water leak in her building. Even with the film’s release set for next week, she was back in Brooklyn dealing with insurance headaches and seeking comfort food wherever she could find it: her favorite brunch at Cozy Royale, oxtail in East Flatbush, and — of course — her parents’ home in Queens for some of mom’s cooking.
Saturday, June 17
I was up early to clean up my apartment. I have some water damage, and I’ve been trying to consolidate my items before I can replace my floors. I have no floors right now. I’m figuring things out with my insurance. Mold remediation might be needed. It’s a whole situation.
So I ordered breakfast from Win Son Bakery. I get their delivery a lot, even though I’ve only been to the restaurant in person twice. The scallion pancakes and their bacon, egg and cheese are my go-tos. I like a savory, heavy breakfast. On set, I tend to eat lighter because I don’t want to get too lethargic, but I knew how much packing I had to do, so I wanted to fuel up.
Later, I went to Falansai in Bushwick. It’s a nice, small restaurant, very homey. The food is so flavorful. I first went when it was new — a year or so ago — and the food still slaps. I got their Dad’s Fried Rice and Dad’s Egg Roll. That rice is amazing. I also got a late-in-the-day iced coffee. I usually don’t drink iced coffee past four o’clock, or whatever the professionals and doctors suggest, but because I had so much work to do, I needed it.
And I ordered a chocolate cream slice from Petee’s Cafe in Clinton Hill. I wanted the sugar. I think packing up my apartment is harder than being in an action movie.
Sunday, June 18
For breakfast, I ordered from Lakou Cafe in Crown Heights. I encountered them for the first time during the social upheaval and uproar in May 2020. People were expelling a lot of energy and anger. I, myself, needed to expel some anger, kicking over fucking traffic cones and trash, throwing shit at police cars — just going at it. We were marching from Flatbush to Union Square, and we’d marched over the Brooklyn Bridge. There were some vendors, giving out free stuff. Lakou Cafe gave out chickpea patties and I thought they were so fucking good. They’re just handing them out for free, giving people water and whatever pastries that they had. It’s black-owned Haitian cuisine, and it’s amazing there.
I got a breakfast smoothie with coffee, almond milk, granola, oats, dates, banana, and cinnamon. It was the first time I’d seen it on their menu, and I’d never had a coffee in a smoothie before. I like the idea of coffee and almond milk, and the thick texture, but when they say “cinnamon,” they mean it.
I took a break from my apartment chaos for a solo brunch at Cozy Royale. I love their chicken and scallion waffles. The other weekend, I went twice and had the same thing both times. Those waffles do not miss. I like the restaurant for brunch because, especially this time of year, it’s outdoors and I get to sit and chill a little bit.
Later, I met up with a friend in Bushwick for dinner at Tabaré for Uruguayan food. I picked it, because I’d never been. I like to try new places pretty often. I ordered the ribeye with duck confit potatoes. It was good. I was initially going to order branzino, but I made a pivot at the last-minute when my friend got a burger.
I’m on antibiotics and steroids because I was sick from the mold in the apartment, so I wasn’t drinking. They made me a pineapple drink from their cocktail menu and left out the vodka. It was really good, actually — very refreshing and light.
I try to not drink when I’m on a project. I was adamant about it on Dial of Destiny. Like, “I’m not going to drink when I’m working with Indiana Jones.” But of course, when I met Phoebe Waller-Bridge in person for the first time, that didn’t matter. We’d flown up to Glasgow and on the night we got in, she was like, “What are you doing later? Let’s meet downstairs and look for a drink — just one.”
“One” drink became us closing down the lobby bar. I’m like, “Phoebe Waller-Bridge wants to hang out with me and have drinks” and every time, she was like, “Another, another.” I was like, “Yeah, another.” The next day wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, or feared.
When I got back home to my moldy apartment, I had another slice of Petee’s — salty chocolate cheese pie — that I’d ordered the night before.
Monday, June 19
During a normal week, I wouldn’t go out for breakfast so much, so I decided to test-run cooking in my apartment in its current state: an egg-white scramble with asparagus, spinach, Parmesan cheese and red-pepper flakes. I kept having to stop and wash things because if I stood still for even two seconds, everything was covered in dust. It will be amazing to have people over here for dinner… once it’s back to normal.
I had some salmon I’d bought and decided I couldn’t cook it there, so I went home and had my mom cook it. I’m from New York and my parents live in Queens. My mom is definitely a better cook than I am. The things that she knows how to cook, like oxtail or curry chicken, are unmatched. Eventually, I should learn how to make some of these dishes from her, but because my parents are so close, I just go there if I’m in the mood for something. One of my favorite things that she makes is this lamb shepherd’s pie. It is perfection, every time.
Dealing with my apartment has been such a pain in my ass for so many reasons. I’ve had to cancel so many things, I was supposed to go on this speed dating thing over at this new queer bar, the Bush. It’s a dance spot for femmes and whoever. It’s like, Pride Month is my favorite and usually I go so hard. I haven’t been able to do it because I’ve had to deal with this. These antibiotics I’m taking are anti-gay, and anti-Black. It’s ridiculous.
Tuesday, June 20
I went to work out and, afterwards, got a peanut punch smoothie and two Jamaican patties from Natural Blend in Crown Heights. The patties were callaloo and lentil.
I was feeling a little nostalgic, so I drove down to Flatbush. I’ve had a car since December of 2020. It was a gift to myself for leaving The Resident. It was a congratulatory: You did it. You’ve done so much in these lovely four years and they’re letting you out of your contract. So here you go — give yourself a car. I love driving in the city. I love the convenience of it, but I also just love being in my own space, having time to think my own thoughts, clear my head. That kind of privacy is really quite a luxury.
My parents are pastors of a small church in the East Flatbush area, close to where I grew up. A block or so away is this Jamaican spot that always had a line after church. The food was always so good. Their oxtail with peas and rice and a little bit of cabbage salad was my go-to. It’s called Tasty Delicious, which I didn’t even know until I Googled it. I went back there to check it out and it’s still really good. I really just needed a big solo day out. I maybe need to look into moving to a different building, but I could never leave the city.