Jurnee Smollett has broken her silence regarding her Lovecraft Country co-star Michael K. Williams’ death.
Smollett posted a tribute message to her Instagram with pictures of her time with Williams. In the message, she wrote how her “heart hurts” from his death and how she didn’t want to believe the news at first.
“When [Smollett’s brother] @jakesmollett called to tell me, my brain went, ‘hell naw that’s not true,let me call Michael.’ And I called him,” she said. “I called him over & over until my brain said stop, he’s gone. I coudln’t breathe.”
She wrote how she expected him with the Lovecraft Country cast for the Emmys and “still can’t make sense” of Williams’ passing.
“Perhaps its selfish of me to want to hold onto this beautiful man tha came into my life & forever changed it,” she wrote.
She recounted one her first scenes with Williams on Lovecraft Country, after Courtney B. Vance’s character Uncle George dies. She wrote how the scene led them all to tears.
“After finishing the scene, Courtney came over, held Jonathan, Michael & I as we cried in each other’s arms like babies…No, like the sons & daughter of such familiar, profound paternal grief,” she wrote. “We became the three musketeers afterwards.”
“I take comfort in knowing that you’re finally free, somewhere dancing, being mighty, showing the angels how to really get it,” she said.
Smollett joins fellow co-stars Vance and Jonathan Majors, who have previously talked or written about Williams’ legacy. Vance also wrote an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter about the importance of therapists on set, tying the issue to some of the challenges Williams faced in his life. In the article, he said therapy is “essential” for actors, writing in part, “Michael talked openly about how certain characters triggered him, which is why it was so important during the filming of Lovecraft Country that HBO and the producers understood the importance and value of making sure that Michael got the support and help he needed in real time.”