Naomie Harris Discusses Why She Almost Turned Down Moonlight Role
Naomie Harris says was conflicted about playing a drug addicted mother in the new independent flick Moonlight based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s autobiographical play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” The actress tells Backstage that she almost turned down the role because she feared it would feed into negative stereotypes about Black women…
Harris feared Paula may be too far gone to save on the screen. She was afraid of drawing her, a drug-addicted black woman living in Miami’s inner city, as a stereotype.
“I always said that I wanted to show positive images of women—black women in particular—and so I’d always drawn the line at playing a crack addict,” Harris explains. She changed her mind after several long Skype calls with Jenkins, who had a particularly personal investment in Paula’s arc.
The actress later changed her mind and took the role…
“The character was based on my experience with my mom and Tarell’s experience with his mom,” Jenkins tells Backstage. “When I explained to Naomie what that was like and how it affected my life, she saw a way into the character that did not revolve around addiction but revolved around the relationship between this woman and her son, and the role that addiction plays in creating a wedge in that relationship.”
Have you seen Moonlight? What do you think of Harris’ depiction as the crack addicted mother in the movie?