Brie Larson may be one of the first Hollywood actresses to work on a film that has an “inclusion rider” to insure diversity in the cast, but she still says Hollywood has a long way to go before it overcomes its “segregated” past.
The 29-year-old actress stars with Michael B. Jordan in the upcoming biographical drama “Just Mercy.” The film, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, is based on the memoir by Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer who represented a man wrongly convicted of murder in the deep South.
It’s the first Warner Bros. film to come with a so-called “inclusion rider” to guarantee diversity in the cast and crew. But Larson says it’s been no easy task to follow the policy.
“When it came time to implement it, Warner Bros. wasn’t quite [comfortable with] an actor implementing it. So Michael worked with them [as an executive producer].
“‘Just Mercy’ filmed in Atlanta, so they were able to pull from a certain talent pool there, but I also think they had to fly in certain people in order to meet the quota they were committed to,” she added.
The shoot also led her to reflect on the lack of diversity in the film industry more broadly.
She told The Hollywood Reporter:
“The movie was made with more than 70 percent people of color, and it was the best experience I’ve ever had. It was the first time in my career that I had hair, make-up and wardrobe crew that were all people of color. I’ve been in the Screen Actors Guild since I was seven years old. Twenty years I’ve been surrounded by white people. It saddens me to recognize that we’ve been segregated in this way within our industry.”
Personally, Larson says she is determined to encourage greater diversity in future projects.
The actress plays the iconic superhero Captain Marvel in the upcoming movie of the same name. It’s the first time a woman has gone solo in the lead role in a superhero film.
“On the ‘Captain Marvel’ press tour, I’ll be pushing for representation across the board: my interviews, magazine covers, the clothes that I’m wearing. It means spending more time thinking about things than you sometimes want to, but it’s worth it,” she says.
“Just Mercy” will hit theaters in 2020. Click here to see a new trailer from her new Marvel film which hits theaters in March.