Interview With Salli Richardson-Whitfield (“I Will Follow”)
By Monique, on March 11th, 2011
Today, Ava DuVernay’s I Will Follow premieres in theaters across the U.S. Recently I had a chance to talk to the film’s star, Salli Richardson-Whitfield on a part she just couldn’t pass up and how it has taken twenty years to get it. We also discussed celebrating black entertainers through our own awards ceremonies and creating our own stories…something many of you have been discussing over the past couple of years at Shadow and Act. Please check out my interview with Salli after the break…
Your latest work I Will Follow won the best first feature film award at the Pan African Film Festival last month, which is quite an honor, but unbelievably it’s your very first leading role in a movie. After twenty years in the business are you still amazed at the limited roles available to woman (particularly women of color)?
I read that Ava really wanted you for this part but having such a short period of time between when you got the script and when the shooting began, how did you prepare for the role of Maye? Could you relate to her situation?
How did you cope with such a tight filming schedule, 15 days?
With this being Ava’s first narrative film, was there ever a time where you had a brief moment of apprehension? What was your experience like working with such a relatively new director?
Have you ever worked with other women filmmakers before, do find that there is a difference in how they approach directing as opposed to men?
I would like to ask you a few questions about the industry, since we just wrapped up another Oscar season, I wanted to know what you thought of events like that; do you feel that being acknowledged by these organizations validate your talent in the industry or do you personally define your career achievements by other measures?
Do you find that there is a complacency that comes with doing a television show like Eureka? Like it makes finding quality film roles harder because you have a steady gig?
Is it hard to balance family life with the demands of filming a TV show and other projects such as I Will Follow?
You been in the business for a while now, I’m sure you’ve seen and heard a lot. What words of wisdom could you impart on actresses just starting out?
For me, that was a wonderful note to end the interview on.
I would like to thank Salli Richardson-Whitfield for taking the time to speak with us here at Shadow and Act about her new film and her career. She was great to talk to; a very warm and intelligent woman.
I Will Follow opens today, please check your local movie listings for theaters and times in your area.
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