“Bessie” fans, did you miss any of our exclusive chats with the cast and crew of HBO’s acclaimed biopic about groundbreaking blues singer Bessie Smith? We’ve listed them all below for your viewing pleasure, including our interviews with director Dee Rees and stars Queen Latifah, Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander and Tika Sumpter.
Queen Latifah on her personal connection to Bessie Smith: “I don’t think my ego ever got as out of control as Bessie’s did, but being humbled in different ways, getting up and dusting yourself off, partying too much and hanging out too much, sleeping with the wrong person maybe. All those things I’ve kind of been through.”
Dee Rees on why she responded so strongly to Smith’s story: “And this Tennessee black queer woman – I’m a Tennessee black queer woman, so on a personal level I was like, oh yeah, this is me. I relate to this story. I can imagine what that must be like.”
Michael Kenneth Williams on embodying the struggles of African-Americans in “Bessie” and “Boardwalk Empire“: “Having played Chalky White definitely was instrumental in me getting into the mindset of Jack Gee. Their struggles were very similar: black men trying to make it in America. One was a bootlegger, and one decided that he was going to marry the woman of his dreams and use her as a vehicle to getting him a better way of life. In the same time-frame, it was do or die for both men.”
Khandi Alexander on finding the humanity in Bessie’s resentful sister Viola: “I felt that she was frustrated and deeply resentful because their mom died and she had to take over that role at such a young age. And it was during a very hard time in this country, economically as well as racially, so I just felt she was very bitter and very angry.”
Tika Sumpter on playing Bessie’s lover, Lucille: “What I love about Lucille is she’s kind of this ride-or-die chick, this girl who loved her regardless of the excess in Bessie’s life and still held on and still was there when people were fighting over her.”
Make all your Emmy predictions and you could win a place of honor on our leaderboard, a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys line-up), and one of three contest prizes: $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Prizes will be bestowed as gift certificates to be redeemed at Amazon. See our contest rules for more info.
Average Gold Derby users just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our User racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.
The Top 24 Users did the best at predicting last year’s Emmy nominations (78.55%) when competing against Gold Derby’s Editors (77.68%), all Users (74.78%) and the Experts (74.64%). Which group will be victorious this year?