Before we close out the year, we’re having one last look at one of the final film’s of the fourth quarter — ‘Swan Song.’
Our Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden had a chance to speak with one of the film’s stars, Naomie Harris about reuniting with Mahershala Ali for the project and the complexities of ‘Swan Song,’ which tackles tough situations involving technology, love and terminal illness, a trifecta that is masterfully handled in the Benjamin Cleary directed film. Harris plays Poppy, a musician and teacher who is married to an artist named Cameron (Ali). The couple have a young son and she’s currently pregnant with their second child. They’re both still reeling from the unexpected death of her brother and Poppy is totally unaware that Cameron is grappling with whether to tell her he’s also very ill or to resort to a new technology which will allow his family to continue life without ever being aware of his malady.
Check out Janeé’s conversation with Naomie below:
I love that this film was kind of a reunion for you and Mahershala Ali after ‘Moonlight,’ how excited were you to work together again?
I only worked with Mahershala on “Moonlight” very briefly, I think we only had one day together but I remember being really struck by what a phenomenal actor he is but also his humanity, he’s one of the most generous, caring, considerate, sensitive, man full of integrity, he’s REALLY something else he’s just amazing so I was over the moon that I got an opportunity to work with him for a much longer time, and super excited as well because he chose me for this part, he was the one that asked me to be part of it.
‘Swan Song’ is set in the not-so-distant future, where a lot of technological advancements have been made. Which tech creation had you most excited and intrigued?
The central one of the movie was the one that terrifies me the most. That’s the one that intrigues me I would say, as well as really really scares me. It’s also the one that I have the most doubt about whether it would be possible for us. I think you can definitely have a clone that looks and behaves like a human but to have the soul and the humanity and the heart of a human being I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to do that. But time will tell, maybe I’ll be completely wrong.
As we learn more about Poppy’s character in ‘Swan Song,’ we discover her mother has passed away and her brother Andre also suffers a tragedy. How necessary do you think Andre is to Cameron making the decision he makes?
I definitely think without Andre, Cameron wouldn’t have made the decision he makes. I think what fuels his decision is that he just thinks Poppy has been through too much, she’s had too much loss in her life and he just doesn’t think she can bear it and she’s also pregnant as well. You’ve got to add that into the mix as well. There are a lot of things that prompt him to make the decision he makes.
From the outset, this film could seem very morbid but it’s actually quite beautiful, can you talk about the elements that make it work in spite of the darkness?
I always say this movie is an ode to love and what’s so beautiful about it is, so often where movies are presented with the initial stages of love, where two people just find each other, whereas this is about deep love. This is about a couple who have been together a long time and really care and respect and are willing to make more sacrifices for each other and because of that it doesn’t make the movie morbid, it deeply touches our hearts because we’re reminded about what love should really be about.
In ‘Swan Song’ we see this really beautiful, raw portrait of a Black family who love one another deeply and we’re not often allowed to see this kind of vulnerability from our culture on the big screen.
I absolutely loved that aspect of this movie because I think it’s something that isn’t explored enough in movies at all and also to see a Black man in particular really in touch, sensitive, in touch with his heart, deeply expressing his feelings, making these kind of sacrifices for his family, it’s highly unusual and I think people are really going to respond to that. And also the fact that they are a Black family, it’s not an issue, nobody ever raises that, it’s like let’s get on with the important issues in life, which I wish more movies would do.
‘Swan Song’ is currently streaming on Apple TV+
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