VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Erika Alexander & Derek Luke On Critical Race Theory & ‘American Refugee’
Erika Alexander and Derek Luke discuss Critical Race Theory and the social issues at the backdrop of their new film American Refugee in their new uInterview.
The survival horror movie follows a black family who seeks shelter in their white neighbor’s bunker after the United States economy collapses and the country falls into chaos.
“My character’s name is Helen,” Alexander told uInterview Founder Erik Meers. “She’s a doctor and she’s a mother and a wife. They’ve recently moved out, her entire family, from the city into a rural space. It’s a beautiful house, she has a wonderful family. She has three children, a new baby girl, an older girl, and a boy, who they’ve adopted who is autistic. And she has a husband who’s very handsome and a professor and smart and they’re having issues because they’ve had his issues in their marriage with infidelity and they’re dealing with that. And then suddenly the world collapses and they have to run to their neighbor’s house who has a bunker.”
Luke says his character Greg “feels the burden of the failure and the condemnation of” cheating on his wife.
“He has to make decisions that are more about family, keeping their family together, more about sacrifice than it is about muscle,” he said. “And I think that the film lends itself, or gives people the opportunity to think what and who they are in really chaotic situations.”
The movie almost feels like a reflection of current times with a reference to critical race theory and an economic disaster.
“The backdrop of social issues are now at the forefront in our film,” Luke said. “And I think it’s good, I hope that the suspense and the thriller makes it obviously more palpable for people to digest it. And I love the power dynamics between Greg, my character, and Erika’s character. You know, it’s humbling.”
“What’s funny is that these conversations should be where they actually happen, which is college,” Alexander said. “You have to take Critical Race Theory, no one gives it to you in elementary school, you get American history. The fact that they’ve been able to leverage that inside of schools to make it a point of contention so they can, I think, take over school boards is clever. … And I think as long as they’re able to distract us with conversations that don’t even come up in the high school system or you know the public school system or you know that system, until you go to college, which is, Greg’s character is a professor, so he should rightly have a book about critical race theory. That makes sense. But we don’t have the conversation about American history and teaching it in its fullness.”
Alexander said that she didn’t want to give away the meaning of the movie so she could see the genuine reaction from audiences. “I do know one thing, it takes a village. That’s all I can say.”
American Refugee will be released December 10. Check out the trailer below.
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