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As a prison guard in & # 39; Clemency & # 39; Alfre Woodard wanted to honor the lives involved

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Alfre Woodard enters a hotel suite with a white dress. On the other hand, she is always beautiful. The renowned actress apparently cannot do less than her best; For more than four decades of acting, she has collected a Golden Globe, an Independent Spirit Award, various SAG and Emmy awards and an Academy Award nomination, along with buckling points almost everywhere.

Some of her recent roles include the ill-fated Aunt Josephine in the dark comic Netflix show & # 39; Lemony Snicket & A Series of Unfortunate Events & # 39 ;, the voice of Sarabi in the remake & # 39; The Lion King & # 39; and the ambiguous criminal Mariah in & # 39; Luke Cage. & # 39; & # 39; I think that was one of my best turns ever & # 39 ;, she says about the last one, with clear joy.

Her final role is Bernadine Williams in the Neon movie & # 39; Clemency & # 39 ;. As guardian of a prison with death row prisoners, Bernadine enforces the law down to the smallest detail, regardless of the effect on her own psyche. Written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu, the film sheds light on the overlooked victims of a policy that kills a person – those who perform the work. Like Bernadine, Woodard sinks to a fathomless place as she struggles to reconcile her spirit and her task.

The actor came up with the same approach that she applies for each image. "You take that responsibility so deeply," she says. "It doesn't matter if it is Bernadine or Josephine. Anthropologically I work out who that person is, where they come from – not in what state, what province in that state. What happened to them? If it's not in the script, you make it up. And so you leave all of you behind. Not only your way of speaking, your way of moving, but especially your way of looking at the world. Because your opinions and everything about yourself as a practitioner should not be present. & # 39;

Woodard adds that she never sits down to think a character in existence, & quot; because people live in motion. If you sit, it is still cerebral. You have to activate things. & # 39; She adds, laughing, that the cashiers at Erewhon Market always know when she is working on a new role.

"I am a mature woman, very mature, and I am educated, and I have been politically aware and socially active since I was a teenager, so for me to go, & # 39; Whoa, I didn't know these people & # 39; – I thought that if I didn't know, the majority of people wouldn't know. & # 39;

Alfre Woodard

When she read the & # 39; Clemency & # 39; script, Bernadine hit her & # 39; in the solar plexus & # 39 ;, so she had to wear it. “It was a world that I was not aware of. I am a mature woman, very mature, and I am educated, and I have been politically aware and socially active since I was a teenager, so for me to go, & # 39; Whoa, I didn't know these people existed & # 39 – I thought that if I didn't know, the majority of people didn't know. It is always another reason to go to work: there is something to tell. And if there is something where life is in balance, you always want to honor it. & # 39; She also signed as an executive producer.

Woodard and Chukwu visited four prisons and met female guards listening to their stories. "What we discovered is that their PTSD percentage is just as high as people we send for multiple duty cycles," she says. “They have different marriages – if they marry. They keep it in a certain way because nobody can understand what they are doing. It is not for someone who is weak or sadistic; it is only for a person who can make decisions, take incoming fire and can rest in the knowledge that he has supervised a dozen executions. And some people will do that work for us. "

Everything must go according to protocol. "That is why Bernadine gets upset when something goes wrong," early in the film, "because it deprives the condemned of his dignity."

The photography was so intense that two of the background actors who had to tie up the prisoner while preparing an execution scene could not continue and had to be replaced. "They were activated," she notes.

The film is just as challenging to watch. "It starts with the bases loaded," Woodard admits. "I don't think the characters or the audience are off the hook. It's a world where people aren't meant, whether it's the prisoners or the prisoners. So it can do desperate acts." "I just became very sad."

To ease the mood, the conversation focuses on her other latest project, & # 39; See & # 39 ;, on Apple TV +. In the futuristic series about an exhausted, blind population, she plays Paris, priestess and adviser to the tribal leader of Jason Momoa.

Woodard laughs at the role he mentions. "I bring to the universe," send me something that will challenge me, that I have never done before, something to test myself with. "Well, don't ask what you're not ready for."

She talks about seven months of working outside in the wilderness of British Columbia, & # 39; to our calves in mud and snow and water. They would send bear warnings every day! It was like I signed up for the Shackleton expedition, I'm not kidding. It was such an adventure. & # 39;

Yet she is ready to retest herself; they start photographing the second season in February.

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