VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Saniyya Sidney Talk Race & Superheroes In ‘Fast Color’
The first black female superhero has finally arrived! Fast Color, directed by Julia Hart (Miss Stevens) from a screenplay by Hart and Justin Horowitz (La La Land) is set to be released Friday. The film, which stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle) as struggling superhero Ruth who returns home to her estranged daughter and mother (played by Saniyya Sidney and Lorraine Toussaint, respectively) to learn to harness her powers. And in the process, she discovers that they’ve all been struggling with these powers.
“Really, throughout the movie, it’s kind of a about these three generations of women coming together to learn how to own their powers,” said Mbatha-Raw of the film’s plot.
The film premiered at last year’s South by Southwest Festival, and was picked up by Codeblack Films. It also stars Christopher Denham (Argo), David Strathairn (Good Night, And Good Luck) and newcomer Levi Dylan Martinez.
Mbatha-Raw and Sidney – who is best known for her role in American Horror Story: Roanoke – sat down with UInterview exclusively to discuss the message they hope the film will convey.
“I hope that people will be inspired and feel empowered to know that you don’t need a cape, you don’t need a weapon to be powerful,” said Mbatha-Raw. “You have all this power within you, and certainly as women we have so much power within us and it’s really just about tapping in to it.”
“It’s just really awesome getting to have this opportunity and hopefully inspire people with this movie, it’s really exciting,” echoed Sidney.
See the full transcript of the interview below:
Q: “Who are your characters in the film?”
MBATHA-RAW: “Well I play Ruth in Fast Color, and Ruth when we first meet her in the story is a woman on the run, we’re not sure what she’s on the run from, but we know she’s in kind of a desperate situation. And we follow her as she escapes out of seeming captivity and escapes into the desert, and she actually arrives at this farmhouse which we discover is her childhood home and the home of her mom and also her daughter played by Saniyya. And she hasn’t been there for about ten years, you know, she’s been out struggling with addiction, struggling with these powers that she has, these special abilities, where she has these seizures that she’s not able to control. And really, throughout the movie, it’s kind of a about these three generations of women coming together to learn how to own their powers.”
SIDNEY: “I play the daughter of Gugu, I play Lila, and she is living at this home with her grandmother, as well as her mother named Bo- well I call her Bo, her real name is Bonnie – played by Lorraine Toussaint. And she’s special because there’s something about her that is very unique and she loves to fix things. She fixes things around the house, she is currently fixing on the truck that was her mother’s, she likes fixing record players, toasters, things like that. Her power is she knows how to disintegrate things and put them back together. She has this bowl that was her mother’s and she showed her mother her power of what she can do and it can turn into these beautiful particles. And she also can see the colors.
Q: “How do you feel about this being the first black female superhero film?”
MBATHA-RAW: “Well, it’s really exciting. I mean for me, it wasn’t really ever something that was about race, it’s really a story about these three women. But I think Julia Hart, our writer/director, cast the wonderful Lorraine Tussant and myself and Saniyya and for me it’s really empowering because we’re not used to seeing female superheroes very often, and we’re certainly not used to seeing female superheroes of color. So you know I love the fact that this world is very grounded and gritty and sometimes feels almost like a Western in the imagery of us out in the desert, so to see three women of color with powers in the desert, I think it’s certainly about time that we had that and I think the imagery goes into our subconscious, it’s powerful in itself, so I’m really excited that it’s happened.”
SIDNEY: “I think it’s very important like Gugu said, I didn’t really focus on the race either, I focused on what this can do for people, and you know others are excited that we are African-American women doing such a great movie and what it resembles. But at the same time, it’s just really awesome getting to have this opportunity and hopefully inspire people with this movie, it’s really exciting.”
Q: “What’s the message of the film?”
MBATHA-RAW: “Well for me, the message – I think people will bring their own experiences to the film and interpret it in their own way – but for me I hope that people will be inspired and feel empowered to know that you don’t need a cape, you don’t need a weapon to be powerful. You have all this power within you, and certainly as women we have so much power within us and it’s really just about tapping in to it.”
SIDNEY: “I really focus on the beauty of generations, and how important it is to know that you may have gifts that women from centuries or more have passed down to you. And people to open their eyes and ask what they may have that they can pass on to their children. And I think it’s really important for society to recognize that. And like Gugu said, I hope it inspires people too.”