Film , Interviews

Keke Palmer And Common On 'Alice,' Narratives Of Enslaved People And The 'True Existence Of So Many Women In Our Community'

Keke Palmer and Common's latest film is a movie on an enslaved woman who realizes when she escapes...it's 1973.

Having your freedom taken away from you is an injustice to its fullest, but being stripped of what is already yours is grounds for vengeance.

“Revenge is long overdue” is the premise of Alice, which follows the story of an enslaved woman who escapes a Georgia plantation and learns that it’s 1973, and she’s free. The dramatic thriller — directed and written by Krystin Ver Linden — stars Palmer as Alice and Common as Frank, who teaches her about the current era and becomes her partner in crime.

Across the years, Hollywood has seen slavery films such as 12 Years a Slave, Django, and Harriet. While the releases depict the pain of lost lives that are forever etched into history, Alice takes the opportunity to unravel a story that touches on reclaiming one’s power from their oppressor. Based on true events, Palmer’s portrayal of Alice, who is determined to bring her former owner to his demise, exemplifies stories of specifically Black women’s strength that coexist with the ones we’ve typically seen throughout cinema.

In a recent interview with Shadow and Act, Palmer said t that her embodiment of Alice onscreen was backed by her personal experience behind the scenes in real life of always being surrounded by Black women leaders.

“That is what I pulled from because I believe that is the true existence of so many women in our community — in the spirit of our community itself,” she explained. “You have to know when you think about our history that only the strong survive because they were the ones that decided, ‘I want to keep going.’ They were the ones who had the thoughts and the feelings in their head to say, ‘You know what, there’s a reason to keep living.’ And I think we’re often told a perspective that I think is just as equally important. And it’s still somebody’s story that exists totally in a victimized and kind of crippling state. When the reality is our lineage, we would be obsolete if that was all of our stories.”

Similar to Palmer, Common was intentional in bringing the same level of authenticity to his own character in the film.

With his acting portfolio of playing civil rights leader James Bevel in Selma, to now a political activist that finds his voice again with the help of Alice, he’s become in tune of selecting roles where what he has to offer helps to amplify the film’s overall purpose and message.

“I want to be a part of the projects that I’m supposed to be a part of,” he said. “And it’s in alignment with what I want to put out in the world. If they don’t see me, they don’t see me. Sometimes that’s just not what it is. So, I think I learned to bring that to whatever I do [in Hollywood.] And I brought that to Alice as far as being on the set and being who I am.”

Watch the full interview above. Alice hits theaters March 18.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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