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Lunch with Amandla and Russell

by Murtada Elfadl

At a lunch to celebrate The Hate U Give at The Whitby Hotel in midtown New York, I got the chance to chat with the film’s stars Amandla Stenberg and Russell Hornsby about the film and their performances.

During the Q&A portion of the luncheon Amandla told the audience about how she read the book early on and pursued the project because it really spoke to her. So when I had a moment to speak to her later, I asked her what other ideas would she like to push forward with her upcoming projects. She informed me that she’s taking her time with a project she’s working on as a writer and director. However she also wanted to share the truth on screen:

I would love to be in a narrative that was not heteronormative where I don’t have to play straight where I could express myself  with authenticity.

As we discussed on a recent podcast, Russell Hornsby has the very difficult task of having to spell out the themes of The Hate U Give in a few speeches he gives to his onscreen children. In particular I asked him about the speech in which he tells his kids about how to behave if ever stopped by the police. Hornsby talked about doing research but then discarding it to be in the moment and finding the truth in the scene:

I looked at Amandla, I looked at those kids and in every turn I was talking to my kids. It wasn’t Maverick, it was Russell talking to his children. This is a passionate honest moment for me as a father, trying to hold my emotions at bay because it hurts so much that I have to do this.

The Hate U Give is still playing in a few screens nationwide so there’s still time to catch these two amazing performances! 

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Reader Comments (3)

So pleased you got to go to that. and So cool that Amandla wants to tell queer stories.

December 3, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I was really impressed by Russell Hornsby’s acting in this film, his intensity and sincerity and steadfast holding to what he knew was true.

I liked Nathaniel’s observation in your podcast that if Hornsby was a more well-known name, it would be an automatic Best Supporting Actor nomination for him.

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Nice pic of you and Amandla, Murtada!

December 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

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