“Clemency” continues Aldis Hodge‘s commitment to be “a part of art that has the potential to move the needle, to push the conversation for a progressive reason.” Considering “where we are now culturally,” the actor wants to be “conscious of the imprint” he’s leaving, so he chooses projects “that can hopefully do more good out there in the world.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Hodge above.
Hodge stars in this Neon release as Anthony Woods, a death row inmate facing imminent execution for the murder of a police officer. As his lawyer (Richard Schiff) fights to save his life, the prison warden (Alfre Woodard) struggles with her personal demons in her effort to carry out his sentence.
Writer and director Chinonye Chukwu “did a serious deep dive into the subject” of capital punishment, “so it was coming from a place of truth.” As a result, Hodge’s own views on the controversial issue “were solidified. Oftentimes we say how we would act in a situation that hasn’t really presented itself to us.” However, “you don’t really know until you’re in that situation.”
That’s especially true of capital punishment. “If somebody that I loved was taken from me, and the death penalty was laid at my feet as an option to vote for or against when it came to the offender, how would I react?” Hodge wonders. “My honest answer was I didn’t know.” But in showing how the issue “affects everybody” involved, “this film has definitely shaped my perspective to say absolutely no, I would always vote against capital punishment.”
This performance has already earned Hodge a Gotham Award nomination for Best Actor (Woodard was also nominated for Best Actress). He previously won a SAG Award as part of the ensemble cast of “Hidden Figures” (2016), and he was also nominated with the cast of “Straight Outta Compton” (2015). On the TV side, he earned a Black Reel bid in 2017 for his leading role in the drama series “Underground.”
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