Monday, 9 September 2019
Kerry Washington has taken her critically acclaimed Broadway play “American Son” to the big screen at the Toronto Film Festival 2019, where it has packed an equally emotional wallop, not just on the audiences, but on herself as well.
“American Son” tells the story of interracial parents (Washington and Steven Pasquale), who reunite in a South Florida police station seeking answers when their teenage goes missing. The story of a mother struggling for the truth was one that resonated deeply with Washington, who has a son and daughter of her own.
“In my seven seasons of ‘Scandal,’ it was such a tremendously blessed journey where I got to meet myself in a lot of places, but exploring themes of my motherhood was not one of them because Olivia chose not to be a mom,” Washington told TheWrap editor in chief Sharon Waxman at their TIFF studio. “It’s been really exciting in ‘American Sun’ and also now in ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ (a mini-series she’s currently filming for Hulu), to really be embracing material that is deeply about what it means to be a mom.”
Watch the clip above.
*Also Read:* Letter From Toronto: Films on Striving to Be Black in America
And with parenthood comes the reality of what that means in the world today, especially for people of color. Washington doesn’t think her children will escape that reality or are in any way immune from police brutality just because she’s famous.
“No, absolutely not,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how famous you are or how famous your husband is, you know that when those people in positions of authority with deadly weapons on their hip, when they see a young black kid with a hoodie walking down the street, they don’t know who that kid belongs to. And they don’t care until, maybe, they’re told. But who knows if they’ll have the chance to tell.”
Washington, who also produced the film along with Shonda Rhimes, Jada Pinkett Smith and Gabrielle Union, believes that the characters she plays teaches her something about herself – and Kendra is no exception.
“I’m trying to be of service to other people, but there is a selfish part of it that’s like, ‘Oh, this character has come into my life because there is something that I need to work through,’ and if I can have the courage to meet the material where it is and work through it, then I will allow my audience, the people that come to it, to see a truth and learn something about themselves.
*Related stories from TheWrap:*
Kerry Washington Misses Live-Tweeting 'Scandal' With Fans – So She Gave Out Her Phone Number on Twitter
Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington Burn Up in Hulu's First Look at 'Little Fires Everywhere' (Photo)
'American Son' Theater Review: Kerry Washington Brings #BlackLivesMatter Debate to Broadway