About a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.
Directed by Reginald Hudlin and written by Michael and Jacob Koskoff, the film stars Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. It also stars Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown and James Cromwell. We sat down with Emmy award winning actor Sterling K. Brown who also stars in NBC’s This Is Us now in its second season. Check out our interview after the jump.
The Knockturnal: Talk about the challenges in doing your scenes and then [Kate Hudson’s] scenes, the “real scenes.” Talk about the challenges of doing both.
Sterling K. Brown: It was really interesting for both Kate and I because Reggie decided we were going to shoot her version of the events first. Her version was the rape account. I was shocked, in my soul, what it felt like to even pretend to take advantage of a woman in that way. Both Kate and I were really uncomfortable, and I’m happy that I was uncomfortable. You shouldn’t be comfortable assaulting a woman. So I was very happy to get that over and done with. That’s the closest I ever want to come to being that way with a woman. And then we got to make sweet love. And making sweet love is much better than pretending to take advantage of someone in that way. It was really interesting because Eleanor Strubing in real life, I believe, had to go to a mental institution when this whole thing was done. The tremendous amount of duress, of lying, of trying to maintain that lie, and ultimately being found out, and then going back to a situation where she was abused herself with her husband. It was such an interesting turn of events. We did a lot of improv too, because there was some stuff on the script but then we just had to act it out – her stepping up onto the bridge to the jump and me just trying to keep her alive. And at the end of the film, what I found most intriguing, is that here is an African-American man who is found to be innocent. Not guilty. But this woman has to go back into this situation. And this black man has pity for her. And I thought that that was a lovely thing to end on – that I recognized that even though I get freedom, I still have to find my way back into the world in which I’ve admitted that I’ve been with a white woman. And you still have to go home to your husband who knows that you’re unfaithful, who has been abusive. It’s crazy.
The Knockturnal: You yourself in the film go through an emotional rollercoaster. How was that for you doing that personally?
Sterling K. Brown: It is what it is. But it was sometimes exhausting. This character was interesting because he’s so dishonest but he has a reason. He has a justifiable reason for keeping the truth to himself, until, ultimately, Thurgood says, look, if you don’t tell the truth, we can’t win this case. And so, even though his truth means to him on a personal level that he can be risking his life, his truth ultimately sets him free. So, to live with a lie throughout the course of the whole film, that was an intriguing thing that I’ve never had the opportunity to do before.
The film hits theaters this Friday.