antebellum tongayi chirisa interview

When Zimbabwean actor Tongayi Chirisa first read Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz‘s script for Antebellum, he leapt at the chance to star in the ambitious horror parable. It was something new, envelope-pushing, and powerful, even if Chirisa is playing one of the most common roles offered to Black actors: a slave.

“I didn’t have any qualms or thoughts on that, because I judge the story by the context of what the script is trying to say,” Chirisa told /Film in a Zoom interview ahead of the VOD release of Antebellum. Chirisa takes on the role of Eli, a fellow slave a the plantation where Janelle Monae‘s character is trapped, who also bears suggestions of another life.

“I think he’s a representation of society,” Chirisa said. “He’s a representation of Black men, not only in America but the world over. I think society and the systems in America need to stop seeing Black people as stereotypes as tropes, or fantasy, or one dimensional.”

Read our interview with Chirisa below.

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