Mallori Johnson: ‘Kindred’ captures heaviness, beauty of Octavia E. Butler’s time-travel tale

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Starring Marori Johnson

Marori Johnson in “Kindred” Photo credit: FX

New York, December 27 (UPI) — Actress Marori Johnson said she was always conscious of gravity when creating her TV adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s 1979 novel. relativeswhich follows Dana, a modern black woman who time travels to the pre-Civil War South.

All eight episodes of the series are streaming via Hulu’s FX.

“There’s this line she says, ‘It’s almost like a video game.'” Johnson recently spoke about playing Dana in New York during a Comic-Con panel discussion.

“I had a moment where I was like: ‘Yeah, OK, I’m in my script. I’m doing my thing. I’m just figuring out my situation.’ There were moments when I was doing a scene, and she recalls, “Oh, I can feel the presence of my ancestors here.”

“We were shooting in Georgia, so there was something about the land. You could feel this weight when you looked down at the lake or touched the ground. It’s devastating.”

Writer and executive producer Branden Jacobs Jenkins confirmed that the show was filmed on land most likely where black slaves worked more than 200 years ago.

“There was always a general sense of spookiness around us,” Jacobs Jenkins said of the African-American members of the cast and crew.

“It’s part of the show’s tension. It takes a modern sensibility and puts it back there, forcing us to question our supremacy and our assumptions of safety and security.”

Jacobs Jenkins pointed out episode 2 where Dana keeps forgetting that it’s socially unacceptable to look into white people’s eyes at this time and place.

“But it was true,” he stressed. “It’s a small thing, but we’re so used to existing with each other on equal terms that it’s profound to see someone bargain.”

Micah Stock, who plays Kevin, Dana’s white boyfriend, admitted that actors are rarely offered exciting roles that feel like “some kind of awakening.”

“The question is relatives I ask. [Butler] He had the courage to ask the question decades before people wanted to,” Stock said.

“In all the time travel stories I’ve seen, people who travel back in time are kind of like, ‘I know exactly what to do.’ What was the real reaction to this?” he said, referring to how Kevin eventually accompanies Dana on a trip to the past.

“Kevin fumbles and tries to respond to it in the right way, in the most powerful way, but sometimes he fails because he is thrown into a situation that is utterly terrifying and unknown to him.”

Jacobs-Jenkins agreed that this human authenticity lends an extra dimension to sci-fi historical fiction narratives.

“Dana and Kevin’s journey in trying to manage this drug is the source of a lot of the show’s weirdness and humor and absurdity,” he says, trying to help Dana and Kevin by pretending they belong in the past. Alluded to the way people you meet there.

The showrunner said he considers himself “the luckiest fan in history” because he was able to give “its next iteration” a book that meant so much to him.

“On a deep-rooted geek level, really, I’m just interested in having conversations with other fans,” he said.

“There are also really enthusiastic people, many creatives and activists who support and defend this work and really meditate on her legacy and the many philosophies of her life. This is very wild. This is just It’s a fan event, a literary event.”

“I’m proud to be a part of the project to give Octavia Butler the flowers she never got during her lifetime,” Johnson said.

“It’s such an amazing and beautiful thing. She was one of the first African-American women to create a vast story for black people, and that’s what I strive to do. It’s a possibility for us.” nurture the world of

“We don’t just see our history, we can actually change it. I think that’s the story for me. Thank you.”

Butler died in 2006 at the age of 58.

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