Janelle Monae got candid about how ‘triggering’ it was to film her upcoming horror movie Antebellum last year.
In the film the 34-year-old plays a writer in the 21st century who as a result of supernatural forces is trapped in a reality where she is enslaved.
‘Oh, I brought all of my ancestors home with me,’ revealed Janelle during the new Hollywood Reporter Drama Actress Roundtable.
Giving her side: Janelle Monae got candid about how ‘triggering’ it was to film her upcoming horror movie Antebellum last year
She joined Jennifer Aniston, Zendaya, Rose Byrne, Helena Bonham Carter and Reese Witherspoon for the interview via video-conferencing technology.
‘This is a project that is so of the times, and it was not going to be a yes for me because I knew the responsibility and the weight of it and I knew what this character was going to have to go through physically and emotionally,’ said Janelle.
‘And we were filming most of the stuff at night on a plantation, and I felt everything. There were just certain conversations even at craft services that if I heard would be triggering for me,’ she explained.
‘I couldn’t even talk to my family sometimes. It was kind of unhealthy when I think back,’ shared the actress and musical artist.
Premise: In the film the 34-year-old plays a writer in the 21st century who as a result of supernatural forces is trapped in a reality where she is enslaved
‘But, also, this past year, I filmed Antebellum, I went on tour and then I started Homecoming, so I didn’t have a break mentally.’
Janelle is part of the main cast of Homecoming, an Amazon Prime drama show starring Julia Roberts as well as Rose’s longtime love Bobby Cannavale.
The first season of the program premiered in 2018 while the second, which Janelle filmed after Antebellum, bowed May 22 this year.
During this hectic period in her career she also ‘was dealing with mercury poisoning’ from the fish she ate but found a way to utilize it in her work.
Candor: ‘Oh, I brought all of my ancestors home with me,’ revealed Janelle during the new Hollywood Reporter Drama Actress Roundtable
‘I used it for Homecoming – I didn’t know I had it in Antebellum, but looking back at the footage, I used the disorientation and unraveling in my personal life onscreen.’
When Helena asked about Janelle’s symptoms she got specific about the particular effects of mercury poisoning she underwent.
‘It might not be the same for everybody, but memory loss. I lost a lot of hair. What else? Coordination, high anxiety, shyness. I didn’t want to talk to people,’ she said.
‘People would reach out, and I apologize now if you were one of those people last year who reached out to me and wanted to talk or engage in business or whatever. I just didn’t have it in me. I became kind of a recluse.’
Whirlwind: ‘But, also, this past year, I filmed Antebellum, I went on tour and then I started Homecoming (pictured), so I didn’t have a break mentally,’ said Janelle
Antebellum is written and directed by the duo of Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, who are making their feature film debut with the project.
Its producers include Sean McKittrick whose credits include Donnie Darko, Get Out, BlacKkKlansman, Us, Southland Tales and Pride And Prejudice And Zombies.
Although the movie was originally slated to bow in April, its release has had to be shifted to August because of the coronavirus pandemic.