ComingSoon.net Managing Editor Tyler Treese caught up with Jennifer Hudson and Jeffrey Wright to discuss their new film Monster, which is out May 7 on Netflix. Based upon the novel by Walter Dean Myers of the same name, it follows the trial of Steve Harmon, a model youth that gets accused of participating in an armed robbery that left a convenience owner dead. Hudson and Wright play Harmon’s loving parents that are put in every parent’s worst nightmare.
Check out ComingSoon.net’s Monster Interview with Jennifer Hudson and Jeffrey Wright in the video below (or read a full transcription further down the page):
Tyler Treese: Jennifer, you really did a great job in the courtroom scenes. They were quite emotional. You being a mother, was it easier to get into that role and really embrace yourself there?
Jennifer Hudson: Well, I can relate to the court scene for many reasons. Then obviously having a son and imagining… Not wanting to imagine him being in that position, but even on set, we felt like a family. So it’s like it came, I want to say naturally and I just tried to be present in the moment and react instead of act.
Jeffrey, as somebody that lived in New York City, how was it like to be in a film that shows so many great aspects of New York, like its vibrant art and community, while also some of the more unpleasant realities such as the racism and some violent crimes?
Jeffrey Wright: New York is a complicated place. I’ve been living here for over 30 years now and raised my kids here. My son, who’s now 19, the story was very much a story for him and for my daughter as well, but particularly for my son because New York is a wonderful place. It is an exciting place. A vibrant place. It can also be a dangerous place for a young man, and for a young black man, even more so in some respects.
That age 16 to 17 is in some ways a dangerous age for young men. I did a film in a prison in Indiana almost to a man they told me, “Got my first case when I was 17.” “Well, first I was 18.” That age when the hormones are raging and you know, the desire to be out in the world is raging combined with some of the challenges and the temptations that you find in a city like New York can be a complex recipe. This film explores that, I think, in an interesting way. So I just try to bring as Jennifer did my experiences as a parent to the table and let them be. It was pretty close to my chest, this role in this story.
Jennifer, you know, Monster was filmed a few years back and it’s just getting released now. Obviously, the book is written in 1999, but since it speaks to so many institutional issues with themes, do you feel like it’s even more relevant today in 2021? Yes,
Jennifer Hudson: I do. I think the timing is just right. I think it’s the time when we’re all still. It cannot be missed and it’s a message that definitely needs to be heard, you know? With so many things like it happening as we speak, it’s necessary right now.
Thanks to both Hudson and Wright for their time and Netflix for setting the interview up.