Charmaine Bingwa interview: ‘Emancipation’

“I thought she was remarkable, how she was almost like this little oasis in this storm of harrowing things that were going on,” declares Charmaine Bingwa about portraying enslaved woman Dodienne, a fiercely loyal wife and dedicated mother in the historical action drama “Emancipation.” For our recent webchat she adds, “She really felt like the heartbeat of the film for me and was absolutely this magnet drawing him home. I had so much admiration for her bravery and her courage under fire. You know, once Peter is taken from her, she has to do everything to protect her family and she does.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

SEE Exclusive Video Interview: Ben Foster (‘Emancipation’)

“Emancipation” is directed by Antoine Fuqua from a screenplay by William N. Collage, based on the real-life story of former enslaved man Gordon (named “Peter” in the film) who posed for photographs of his bare back, heavily scarred from the whippings he endured during his time on a plantation in the South. The worldwide outrage that followed the publication of these now-iconic photos in 1863 gave the abolitionist movement proof of the cruelty of American slavery and provided a rallying cry to end it once and for all. The Apple Original Films drama stars Oscar winner Will Smith (“King Richard”) as Peter, who flees the plantation after being whipped to within an inch of his life, separated from his loving wife Dodienne (Bingwa) and their children. He embarks on a torturous journey north through the swamps of Louisiana, outwitting cold-blooded hunters led by the relentless Fassel (Ben Foster), before eventually joining the fight to bring an end to the darkest chapter in American history.

Bingwa loved working with director Fuqua so much that she didn’t hesitate to work with him again, with the actor and filmmaker together again in production on the South Africa-set “King Shaka.” “I will follow him around for the rest of my life. He works from his soul. He works from such a deeply spiritual and otherworldly place,” she says. “He inspires right from the top of the cast list all the way through to our background extras. There was a scene where, it was the freedom scene. He blasted ‘Amazing Grace,’ Aretha Franklin‘s version, which I love, on loudspeaker, as those soldiers are coming home. I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life. He walked through the crowd of background actors with Peter’s image. Showing everyone individually like, ‘this is what, this is who we’re doing it for. This is why we’re doing it.’ And he’s openly weeping as he’s showing everyone. I would run off a cliff for someone like that. He’s given me notes that will stay with me for the rest of my days.”

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UPLOADED Dec 22, 2022 7:46 am