Naomie Harris initially didn’t want to play "a crack addict" in ‘Moonlight’.
The 40-year-old British actress was, at first, unhappy about depicting drug addicted mother Paula on screen before she signed up to star in Barry Jenkins’ gritty drama – which has received eight Oscar nominations – because she thinks they are enough "negative portrayals" of "black women" in film.
Naomie explained in an interview with The Daily Telegraph newspaper: "I didn’t want to play a crack addict. I feel that there are enough negative portrayals of women in general and black women in particular. I grew up with this really strong mother – really intelligent, powerful, independent, and I’ve always admired her. She was part of a group of strong, powerful women, as well. I very rarely saw those women represented on screen. When I started my career, I set out to represent them. So I initially said no to the role (of Paula)."
Naomie has been shortlisted for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance in ‘Moonlight’ and ultimately she is very proud to have portrayed the character due to the challenges of taking on an alter ego so different to herself.
She said: "The more layers I have to hide under as a character, the happier I am. So with Paula in ‘Moonlight,’ despite the tortuous journey to get to her, once I found her was incredibly comfortable on set. Because she is so far removed. She is like the polar opposite to me.
"It was wonderful to jump inter her skin because there was so little Naomie left and that’s where I’m happiest."