Michael K. Williams talks about an emotional moment on the set of ‘12 Years a Slave’, moving Arsenio Hall to tears.
The emotional and spiritual toll that this film must have taken on every single Black cast member…..
There’s an excellent Australian film called Rabbit Proof Fence, about the Stolen Generation - Aboriginal children who were forcibly removed from their families by the white authorities to be raised in government-run schools, and trained essentially to be servants. The film is based on a true story about two sisters and a cousin who, as children, escaped the government school and travelled back, alone and on foot, to their family lands - and it’s an inditement on Australian racism that the Stolen Generation is a recent enough historical event that the actual women whose stories are being portrayed appear at the end of the movie to effectively give the epilogue, about how Molly, the main character, was later taken away again, along with her own children, and escaped again with them. It’s an amazing, harrowing film, is what I’m saying.
But just as happened to Michael K. Williams here, the filming took an incredible emotional toll on the Aboriginal actors. In a documentary about the filming, after they shoot the scene where the children are taken from their mothers, all the Aboriginal women and girls are holding each other, sobbing and shaking and crying, and I just -
This is why we need to tell these stories: because in every way that matters, they are still happening.