Talking about the movie Friday at the PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly photo and film studio at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, Union, 49, discusses how challenging it was for her to play a role with which she could not identify. She is also the movie’s executive producer.
As an actress, I typically search for roles where I see little of myself in the characters. However, she adds of her character, Inez French, “I didn’t see that in Inez.” Because of her deeply held religious beliefs, the homophobic prison guard character struggles to accept the reality that her son Ellis French Jeremy Pope, is gay. He eventually receives her disapproval, which leads him to enlist in the Marines.
In the end, she discovered that my darkness characterized the vulnerable space we shared with Inez, allowing me to see that I, too, am competent. Everyone is at risk when you are centered on the oppressor’s conception of who you must be in order to be regarded worthy of everything, even though it won’t present in the same way.
I usually look at homophobes as rubbish, said Union, who is the mother to Kaavia James and stepmom to Zaya, Zaire, 20, and Xavier, 8, from husband Dwyane Wade’s prior marriages. ‘Google is free, and I’m not performing free labor for you to find out how to appreciate your kid.
However, as we go through this, I start to think, Perhaps I’m not so distinct in terms of what got me to that point,” she says.
Never will I turn my child away. None of my offspring, even mine, are thrown away. But I understand the strong desire to be regarded as deserving, and for some individuals, that involves their children. Anything that undermines that desire may be removed.
Union believes that the complicated movie, which was based on the life of writer/director Elegance Bratton, is a triumph if it can help one family come together and heal.
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