Missing star Nia Long is in love with the prospect of supporting fellow co-star Storm Reid as two Black women in the industry.
“Black women in this industry, there is an instant sisterhood that is unspoken, and although there moments were we have to be competitive, it’s healthy competition,” said Long to Shadow and Act’s managing editor Trey Mangum. “But age, gender, none of that really matters. I think Black people in this industry understand that we are stronger together and when we support one another we create opportunities for each other and the next generation of artists and Storm is no exception to that.”
“When I see my young women, I have this maternal instinct to protect and to just be there…just to be present with them. I remember when Whoopi Goldberg did that for me,” Long continued. “I remember when we were doing Boyz in the Hood and Angela Bassett did that for me. And now I hope to do that for women who are new, for women that are blossoming…for women that have the beautiful careers that are just starting out who are in their 20s.”
Reid also loved having Long in her corner, as she said, and further commented on how the film highlights the epidemic of the media not caring as much about Black women going missing as they do when other women go missing.
“I think the entire producing team specifically will and nick did a great job of depicting what it’s really like for a woman to go missing and how there are some people care and try to figure out where that person is, and how other people are more relaxed and [act like], ‘Oh, it kind of is what it is, we’ll try to get you information,'” she said. “Especially pertaining to the severity that is when Black women go missing and the seriousness that people either choose to have or not to have.”
The film which follows Reid’s character June trying to find her mother (Long) who has gone missing while on vacation with her boyfriend (Ken Leung), takes place across multiple computer and phone screens, similar to its 2018 predecessor Searching, starring John Cho and Michelle La. With June using every mode of technology available, audiences are given an over-the-shoulder view of the videos, online articles and messages June utilizes to save her mother from danger. But the amount of technology and screens meant new challenges for Long and Reid.
“It was very challenging, something that wasn’t normal because we filmed the entire movie basically through a computer screen,” Reid said. “So having to be emotional and be in the moment while also having to follow all of these eyelines and if June gets a notification she has to look up to the right corner of the screen–it was just a lot. But once I got use to the technological challenges that I had, it became a lot of fun.”
Long also said that the filming was “super-challenging” in a healthy, fun way, but did force her to get around a learning curve.
“There were days when I felt completely lost and confused. I didn’t know where to look, I didn’t know where to stand,” she said. “I consider myself a pretty technical actor, so I’m very aware of where the camera is and where the light is, what the scene is about and then you lock in and do it. But for most of the movie, everything was kind of done from a different perspective, from someone looking into what was happening. so that was tough, it was not easy.”
The trick for Long was to rethink her relationship with the tech that was helping tell the story.
“…I started to make friends with the idea that all of these different devices served as additional characters and once I leaned into that, it kind of freed me to trust the process and not worry so much about what I should be doing versus what I needed to do to tell the story. It’s cool,” she said.
Watch the full interviews below. Missing is now playing in theaters.