You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mary J. Blige Teases More Upcoming Movie Roles at AFI Fest’s ‘Mudbound’ Premiere

Mud was the dominant theme as Dee Rees‘ “Mudbound” opened the 31st edition of the AFI Fest on Thursday night at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

Mary J. Blige, who plays matriarch Florence Jackson, said she still has vivid recollections of last year’s 29-day film shoot in Louisiana, set in rural Mississippi in post-World War II.

“We were in real heavy conditions with heat, mosquitos, and mud everywhere and it was crazy, but there was a lot of respect and love among the cast,” she said. “Working with Dee was a joy because she really is like a gift from God. And being Florence helped me in my confidence.”

The R&B chart-topper also added that she has her sights set on more screen time. “What’s next for me is more movies,” she added.

Garrett Hedlund, who portrays a returning war veteran, said the film took him back to his roots.

“I grew up on a cattle farm in northern Minnesota so mud is something I’ve had to deal with my whole life,” he added. “I know all about mud.”

Hedlund also expressed his admiration for Rees’ clarity of vision: “Dee just knew what she wanted, often there was just one take.”

As for Rees, who teamed with Virgil Williams to adapt Hillary Jordan’s novel for the screenplay, mud has a deeper meaning.

“Mud is a metaphor for race,” she noted. “It sticks to our clothes. We track it in and we track it out. We’ve created this kind of fiction that sticks to us.”

Rob Morgan, who portrays the husband to Blige’s character, admitted that it was startling to look back seven decades

“I have it a lot easier than Hap Jackson,” he added. “I discovered that being put in that environment made me so grateful to have ancestors who dealt with their situation with such grace.”

Frankie Smith, who’s 24, but portrayed 15-year-old Marlon Jackson, said “Mudbound” left him counting his blessings.

“I’m a city boy,” he laughed. “I’m not a farm boy. I appreciate farmers, but I don’t want to be one.”

Rees is planning to re-team with Carey Mulligan, who’s attached to play Gloria Steinem, in “An Uncivil War.” Beyond that, she said, “I want create films that will last.”

Netflix opens the film at 17 locations and on its streaming service on Nov. 17.

More Film

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Yorgos Lanthimos

    Film News Roundup: 'The Favourite' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Boards Crime Drama

    In today’s film news roundup, Yorgos Lanthimos has set up a crime drama, “Here Lies Daniel Tate” is being adapted, and Donna Langley becomes a member of the USC film school board. DIRECTOR HIRED “The Favourite” producer-director Yorgos Lanthimos has signed on to write and direct crime drama “Pop. 1280,” an adaptation of Jim Thompson’s [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business

    Hollywood Agents Blast Writers Guild Over New Proposals

    The war between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents has escalated as the two sides battle over the rules on how writers are represented. The latest volley emerged Friday from Karen Stuart, executive director of the Association of Talent Agents, who accused WGA leaders of misleading its members and asserted that the guild [...]

  • Xavier Legrand Custody

    Cesar Awards: Xavier Legrand’s ‘Custody’ Wins Best Film

    Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody,” a tense portrait of a family torn by domestic violence, won best film, actress (for Lea Drucker), and original screenplay at the 44th Cesar Awards, which took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The awards are France’s highest film honors. “Custody,” which marks Legrand’s follow up to his Oscar-nominated [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content