Letitia Wright on Why the Story of “Mangrove” in Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ Is Important

Plus, Wright reveals the last time she was really nervous to film something on set and why.

An interview by Steve Weintraub for Collider.

One of the best films I’ve seen in 2020 is director Steve McQueen’s (Hunger12 Years A SlaveMangrove. The film, which is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, is part of the anthology series titled Small Axe that is comprised of five original films set from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s. Each film tells a personal story from London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will despite rampant racism and discrimination.

If you haven’t seen the trailerMangrove is based on a true story and centers on Frank Crichlow(Shaun Parkes), the owner of Notting Hill’s Caribbean restaurant, Mangrove, a lively community base for locals, activists, and intellectuals. In a reign of racist terror, the local police raid Mangrove time after time, making Frank and the local community take to the streets in peaceful protest in 1970. When nine men and women, including Frank and leader of the British Black Panther Movement Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Letitia Wright), and activist Darcus Howe (Malachi Kirby), are wrongly arrested and charged with incitement to riot, a highly publicized trial ensues, leading to hard-fought win for those fighting against discrimination. Mangrove also stars Rochenda SandallJack LowdenSam SpruellGershwyn EustacheNathaniel Martello-WhiteRichie CampbellJumayn Hunter, and Gary BeadleMangrove was co-written by Alastair Siddons and McQueen.

Shortly after seeing the powerful film, I was able to talk with Letitia Wright. She talked about landing the role after Black Panther, what it was like working with Steve McQueen, why she was so surprised to not have to audition, how the film makes you feel like you’ve been transported to another time and place, and the importance of telling the Mangrove story and tackling subject matter like systemic racism and police brutality.

Check out what she had to say below and further down the page is exactly what we talked about and a few images.

Again, Mangrove is now streaming on Amazon and I cannot recommend it enough.

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