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“Queen & Slim” director Melina Matsoukas immediately knew Jodie Turner-Smith was the right person to play the female lead opposite Daniel Kaluuya as soon as the pair met.

“We brought her in for a test with Daniel and he shrank in the first meeting. He became Slim. You need someone who shows up to meet Daniel Kaluuya for a Tinder date and is disappointed,” Matsoukas said during the Variety Screening Series presented by Vudu. “That is not easy to achieve. Their chemistry was undeniable from the start.”

Turner-Smith and Kaluuya play Angela “Queen” Johnson and Ernest “Slim” Hines, a couple who goes on the run after a traffic stop with a police officer turns deadly. Matsoukas and Lena Waithe, in her screenwriting debut, knew they wanted to tell a brand new type of love story with “Queen & Slim.”

“Lena and I know the importance of diversity in this industry and we really wanted to use this as an opportunity to break a new black actress. And we also wanted for her to be dark-skinned. We wanted to have a love story between two dark-skinned people represented on screen because it’s not something we see, and [we wanted to] redefine what love and beauty looks like,” Matsoukas said.