‘Book Of Clarence’ Exclusive: RJ Cyler And Anna Diop Discuss Diasporic Disciples And Jeymes Samuel’s Push For A ‘Godly’ Outcome


The Book Of Clarence is finally here and we’re excited to check out the movie and the soundtrack.

The Book of Clarence assets

Source: Courtesy / Sony Pictures

The film, which is director Jeymes Samuel’s take on the Hollywood Biblical epic, stars Stanfield as Clarence — a young Black man, struggling to make it in Jerusalem. He’s down bad, no money to his name, indebted to the brother of the woman he loves but isn’t worthy to be with. His twin is a disciple of Jesus, who is performing miracles left and right and has the people in awe. Clarence forges a plan with his friend Elijah (RJ Cyler) to become a kind of Messiah himself, and after faking a few miracles and performing some actual good deeds, he slowly finds his way to betterment. Anna Diop plays Varinia, Clarence’s crush and the incredible cast includes Omar Sy, David Oyelowo, Micheal Ward, Alfre Woodard, Teyana Taylor, Caleb McLaughlin, Eric Kofi-Abrefa, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch.

GlobalGrind Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden chatted with Anna Diop and RJ Cyler ahead of release day and got some great insight into the on set dynamics working with a group of fellow global superstars.

The Book of Clarence assets

Source: Courtesy / Sony Pictures

“That was really exciting,” Diop told GlobalGrind about the diasporic group. “We had LaKeith and RJ who are from America, I’m Senegalese-American, a lot of our apostles and cast you have Caribbean-British, Nigerian-British, Omar is Senegalese too, French-Senegalese, so there was nearly almost across the entire diaspora of Black people a part of this. For me that’s always really self-affirming when we’re all together, because no matter where we’re from, we share so many similarities. No matter where we’re from, we share so much of the same sense of humor. So that’s always exciting for me.”

“I get to take in new ways of how you guys also approach the craft,” RJ added about working with the international ensemble. “I just have the American way of approach, so to be able to be with other artists from other countries, they all have different learning styles, different tools in the kit and I feel like I get to bring my tools and say, ‘Hey, you want to use my hammer? Go ahead and use that, the bottom of it is coming off a little bit so watch your hands.’ But yeah you just get to enjoy this buffet of greatness to be honest.”

The Book of Clarence assets

Source: Courtesy / Sony Pictures

Cyler and Diop spoke to GG about their characters in the project. Cyler plays Clarence’s best friend Elijah.

“Elijah is just the person that we all got in our corner you don’t like to listen to at times, but we listen to,” Cyler described. “We don’t always push each other to do the best things, because we’re just in the space of wanting the best for each other. If you say you want to reach for the end of the rainbow, ‘Alright, I’m down. Let’s reach for it!’ That’s that person that Elijah is, which everybody deserves. I have those in my in my group like Aaron, Azizi, Jade, my wife. My wife first. She’s my first homie… She’ s always like, ‘I’m down baby!’ And I’m the same for her. I don’t understand all her plans but, ‘I got you big dog!’ So that’s what Elijah is, he’s the, ‘Well if we die, we die, but we gonna die together big dog!’”

Diop spoke about how her character Varinia is reluctant to admit how drawn she is to Clarence, despite their undeniable connection.

“That’s exactly Varinia’s conflict. I think all along she’s known there’s like this undeniable chemistry and love that she has for and with Clarence,” Diop told GG. “It’s the conflict between her heart and her mind, because in no way does she see logically that he makes sense for her, but in every way she feels that he does and so we get to see her reject him over and over until it comes to her that maybe he is and has always been who she was meant to be with.”

We’re so excited for the world to see this great film.

The Book Of Clarence is in theaters now