During our recent webcam chat (watch above), “Moonlight” star Trevante Rhodes described his character as, “the most beautifully flawed individual,” someone who, “shields himself from the world because he’s afraid that the world will judge him.” Written and directed by Barry Jenkins, this A24 release centers on Chiron, a young man who must come of age in a rough Miami neighborhood in spite of several emotional obstacles. Rhodes, whose biggest credit up until now has been a bit spot in the “Westworld” pilot, plays Chiron as an adult during the film’s final act.
“Moonlight” is unique in that it uses three different actors to portray its protagonist at different stages of his life: childhood (Alex Hibbert), adolescence (Ashton Sanders), and manhood. Rhodes believes this structure, “was the most brilliant thing Barry could do for this particular story, by showing that throughout our lives we do change so drastically, depending on what happens to us.”
He reveals that the filmmaker wouldn’t let him or co-star Andre Holland, who plays the adult version of Chiron’s childhood friend and one-time lover Kevin, view any of the footage from the other two segments because, “he didn’t want us to mimic.” Yet, “the script was just so vibrant,” that, “you just knew who this person was.” When he finally did view the film for the first time, he reveals, “it was like this reincarnation of me,” because of the three actors’ striking resemblance to each other.
The film has proven to be an art house hit in limited release, grossing nearly $1.5 million domestically. “It’s something that’s so specific that it becomes this universal thing that we all can relate to,” says Rhodes. “It touches on so many topics, whether it be identity, love, sexual orientation.” He adds, “we all at some point go through some semblance of that in our lives. So it’s just speaking to everybody.”
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