New Carmen Ejogo Interview: Movies, Music, and Knowing Your Audience
We may know Carmen Ejogo best as fierce MACUSA president Seraphina Picquery in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but she keeps busy with diverse and challenging roles, from Coretta Scott King in the historical film Selma to taking a sci-fi turn in Alien: Covenant. In a recent interview with the Bay State Banner, Carmen Ejogo talks about her new film It Comes at Night, a horror/thriller picture written and directed by Trey Edward Shults. Ejogo’s character, Sarah, is a wife and mother hiding out with her family as a mysterious threat looms ever closer. Tensions rise when another family seeks refuge with them, leaving everyone uncertain of whom to trust. Though the film was made on a modest budget, Ejogo was eager to sign on:
Coming into it, we knew we were going to be working with a visionary director in Trey Edward Shults, having seen his first film, Krisha. It was so striking and original that you knew that any movie he made was going to have a unique stamp on it.
Ejogo goes on to describe the film as “ambitious,” “high-risk,” and “a reinterpretation of the genre.” She praises her co-stars, Joel Edgerton and Riley Keough, as well as Shults. She also discusses underlying themes in It Comes at Night and hints at an ambiguous ending:
I think Trey’s intention was to leave it enough open to interpretation so that multiple messages might be taken from it. But there was no agenda or particular intention other than the film’s being an examination of human nature at its best and worst, and of what the family unit can descend into when survival and tribal mentality kick in.
Sounds fascinating! We can’t wait to see this unusual take on the horror genre. Ejogo seems to have a gift for selecting scripts destined to become interesting films. How does she do it?
I really go with my personal taste and with what’s on the page in terms of character. But beyond that, there’s a complexity about the scripts I tend to respond to. I’ve not lost my curiosity about how the world functions. And a script that can embody that and thematically explore bigger questions in a way which seems fresh is likely to get my attention. Frankly, I also have an eye for what will appeal to an audience, as opposed to a self-indulgent exercise that isn’t taking the audience into account.
With that balance of personal curiosity and instinct for her audience, it’s no wonder Ejogo is so adept at finding the right roles! Between her thriving film and TV career and her additional job as a mother, is there anything Ejogo can’t do? It doesn’t sound like it, but there is one thing she would like to do more of: musical roles of all kinds!
What is your favorite Carmen Ejogo role (aside from Seraphina Picquery, of course!)? Do you plan to see It Comes at Night? Let us know!
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