Movies

Janelle Monae recalls ‘triggering’ experience filming Antebellum on plantation


Janelle Monae had a ‘triggering’ experience on-set of her new horror Antebellum (Picture: Lionsgate, Getty Images)

Janelle Monae had a particularly harrowing experience while filming her new horror movie Antebellum due to some scenes being filmed on a former slave plantation. 

The Electric Lady singer stars as fictional character Veronica Henley, an author who is transported back to the 19th century against her will and enslaved. 

During a Hollywood Reporter roundtable alongside actresses including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Helena Bonham Carter, Janelle opened up about filming on-location and admitted: ‘Oh, I brought all of my ancestors home with me.

‘And we were filming most of the stuff at night on a plantation, and I felt everything.’ 

Janelle, 34, revealed that she would also struggle to hear ‘certain conversations’ at craft services, stating: ‘If I heard [it] would be triggering for me. 

‘I couldn’t even talk to my family sometimes. It was kind of unhealthy when I think back.’ 

Antebellum, directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Benz, also stars Jena Malone, Gabourey Sidibe, Jack Huston and Eric Lange. 

Explaining why she chose to take on the harrowing role, Janelle told her Hollywood peers: ‘This is a project that is so of the times, and it was not going to be a yes for me because I knew the responsibility and the weight of it and I knew what this character was going to have to go through physically and emotionally.’ 

The Homecoming actress recently started her own production company to provide more opportunities for black women in the movie industry, where they would otherwise be sparse. 

‘I have a company now, called Wonderland Pictures, and we hope to be bringing Steven Spielberg, George Lucas trilogy-level science fiction franchises to the world,’ she explained. 

‘Obviously, I’m a black woman, so I’m always gonna bring that take to whatever it is I do. I’m ready to start getting those scripts that the Johnny Depps were given, and that the Julia Roberts were getting. And I’m ready to see other women of colour have that same freedom and choice to make decisions about their characters.’ 

Janelle has been vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks and has deleted her former Instagram posts, to refocus it on the campaign. 

In her first new post, the actress said: ‘I do not consider myself an activist or an organiser. 

‘I have a platform, YES, BUT there are people who ARE REALLY ABOUT THAT LIFE DAILY. 

‘I want to amplify their voices. Drop your name and org and WAYS YOU NEED SUPPORT. Black AND BLACK LGBTQ+ folks to the front PLEASE.’ 

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