Serie - Homecoming Season 2 : Janelle Monáe’s interview
Par Mulder, Los Angeles, le 18.05.2020
The critically-acclaimed series Homecoming returns for its second season with a fresh new mystery and an exciting new star, Janelle Monáe. Her character wakes in a rowboat adrift a lake, with no memory of how she got there — or even who she is. Her ensuing search for identity will lead her into the heart of the Geist Group, the unconventional wellness company behind the Homecoming Initiative.
Q: You have a worked with a lot of great directors as Barry Jenkins, Theodore Melfi, Robert Zemeckis, Kasi Lemmons, Julie Taymor , Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz. What can you tell us about your collaboration with Kyle Patrick Alvarez on this second season Homecoming ?
Janelle Monáe : Working with Kyle Patrick is a joy. Such a warm ball created sunshine with a sprinkle. Really each day, I just like talking to Kyle. He's so kind. He is still so collaborative. It was super important in that. That we were able to go you know back and talk about the character and we had time to rehearse and just it starts with the directors, they set the tone you know the director and the cast especially like whoever's leading they set the tone of light. How we all should come in each day and we got along instantly immediately. We understand each other. He loves my process. I'm the type of person that would like to watch you know like the first two takes after we do them because I learn better visually and he appreciated that and encouraged that and. I just think that I'm in love with his movie Stanford experiment. So, when I found out he was going to be part of this, I just couldn't wait to fully, to see his vision. Yeah.
Q: How did you get involved in the second season of Homecoming ?
Janelle Monáe : I got a box with small boat send to my house and I looked on the door and I didn't see anyone I just saw this little boat. It was so scary hearing and I got a letter that said when you come home. Then I got a script. No, I was trying to make up something more interesting. I was going with it. They actually sent in the materials to my agent and I watched the first season. What a big fan of Julia Roberts and Stephan. I fell in love with the first season. I love the tone of it. I love the shortness of the episodes. I love the music the score And I love the suspense you know the little detail that is own as a Hitchcock vibe. It was doing something different in the TV space when I read the script I sent, they have brought all the things that I love about the show what they elevated it to the next level in it up on the action you know and. I felt like with this character I was going to have a lot of room to play.
Q: You said in the past how you'll work was a reflection of where you were at in a moment of your life. How does the work you're doing these days and putting out these days reflect where you're at today?
Janelle Monáe : : Only time will tell. I have been given I don't I don't know the impact of what I do so years later. You know I do films sometimes are like right on time right now they're relevant in some things are written about I've been a part of I've done. In over a decade ago but it seems like right now is the time for it to come out and it's still a social relevant and that's the great thing about art is that reveals Overtime.
Q: You talked about having room to play with this character and she is, it almost feels like she's two different you're playing two different characters one this dynamic woman who has this amazing and create job that she does and then you have this same woman who loses every her memory and everything what part how did you decide what parts to keep . The way we see her in the beginning and most of that she's trying to give too much away.
Janelle Monáe : Well you know one of the things that, what's important is that I did research on what it means to lose your memory. And I watched films like The Jason Bourne identity films I watched Memento. And it's really, you're piecing, you're piecing things together. And how are responded to new information was important. And because that would either get me closer to the truth or not. I couldn't look like I lost my memory so I really spent a significant amount of time trying not to look like I lose my memory. And I think that's where you know that's where her character trait developed. I like it drove her decision making. And it drove her mannerism you know. It dropped a little nuance. And I think talking to Kyle Alvarez the director and Eli and Micah the writers was also important. All of us pulling out the things that we felt were necessary because you know the show has a specific tone. And. It had to be about eliminating some choices.
Q: So my question to you is to know what the challenges you face in taking over the duties of the first character. you know it was Julia Roberts, now it is you. I also want to ask you; is there any you know aspects from you also that you brought to this character?
Janelle Monáe : All right one question at a time. So, to answer the first half. First of all, you know Julia Roberts is an icon she is one of my favorite actresses and for me it was an honor to know that I was considered to lead the second season and that she was you know part of that decision taking. She had to say yes because she is an executive producer and so that was like the highest compliment for me and then the even bigger compliment was her coming on stage. Coming to the soundstage and watching Stephan and I'd like do our scenes and hearing this loud scream like. In one of the guys in production because we couldn't see who was watching the monitor saying it is Julia Roberts. I matter right after that and she told me you know, How great she thought everything was looking at how great we were doing and how moved she was and just thankful she was She was like you know take her Stephan and I was like alright everything's going to be great because I was coming to a family that she had already set the tone. You know the people that date that she was working with lasted a lot of them came on this season and it was such a familial by and you know I didn't feel any pressure I think going into it I did what they had to do with the fact that I was a black woman leading a show and how there's just so much pressure put on ours to be perfect to do it right because we don't get these opportunities we are given opportunities to follow after Julia Roberts a lot you know we don't we don't we don't get all of the roles that Roberts get she gets the opportunity to play, to be so many different characters and I think that's part of the reason that I'm super excited about this role in letting people see it thank you know obviously I'm a black woman so I'm going to bring that to the role but I had the choice to be so many things if I wanted to you know it was a really depending on race. Secondarily what was your question I'm sorry your next question.
Q: Hi, my second question was there any personal element that you brought to the character that you're playing ?
Janelle Monáe : Personal yeah. The determination you know I was determined to find the truth and I think I've been like that for a while I'm always determined to find the truth in life of. And uncovered you know I challenged my church, I challenged the Bible, challenged what people think about sexuality gender. I think this particular character wants to get to the truth of what happened who’s the line who did this to me why, why am I here you know.
Q: After The great ArchAndroid (2010), The Electric Lady (2013) and Dirty Computer (2018), can we expect a new album for next year ?
Janelle Monáe : Well, you know right now, we're in the middle of a pandemic. So, I think that one of the things that we feel that I feel pressure like oh I'm in a pandemic. I'm in people think that I'm in the house and I have time but I really don't. Like people will find things for you to do. I'm also pulling. I'm focused on other strengths right now you know I don't know if I have a song right now. I'm not really into creating a space where you musically, I'm not, I'm trying to figure out how I can help people right now. I think we need to pull together as humanity I think that we have seen capitalism be at the first front of decision making. We've seen eagle be at the first front and I think this is a this is a moment for us to figure out how to show the strength in numbers, the strength of humanity. We're going to have to be especially in America we're going to have to help each other we can't depend on this administration we're going to have to be heroes to one another and also understand that all of us are not in this together in the same boat. My experience in this pandemic is different than the experience of a single black mom with five kids who just got laid off or someone who can't be with their family because their doctor or nurse like there have been you know self-quarantine and all of that. This is a moment to empathize. This is the moment that can't be about me but about we.
Q: So, there is something you'd like to do next after Homecoming either another show or you are being interested in playing in ?
Janelle Monáe : Man, you know what I just want freedom. You know I think that what I want the freedom to play and I mean like in the same way that Johnny Depp in his career you know he's been able to do Tim Burton films and dramas and thrillers and nightmare on Elm Street and you know people look at him like there's nothing he can't do. I want to be looked at in that way. I'm obviously going to do the work that it takes but opportunity is important so I'm super excited about collaborating with directors and writers and artists who are ready to take risks, who are ready to lean in to writing more roles where artists can be free you know free to play free to go outside of Stereotypes, redefined you, you know. Redefine that leading role for black artists.
Q: You talked about this moment and how it's in its important right now. I was wondering, do you see us using this moment inside sci-fi type, Afrofuturist in a genre anytime soon. Do you see it kind of reshaping like this Covid and everything that's happened? Do you see reshaping those genres are the sci-fi Afrofuturist works after this ?
Janelle Monáe : Well you know I would, the works that I've done have deal with a lot of this and that's why it's freaking me out because I'm like I watch too much science fiction for the issue. This this is just like walking outside and seeing people with masks on, running and jogging. It feels like a black mirror episode and having this like. President over here who's ready to press the button on the nuclear weapon and also fired the whole pandemic team in. You know just as ignorant as they come. This feels like a dystopian totalitarian run government and I think it's just going to ultimately be the people. The people we are going to have to save us as I say it like this is going to be a time where we're going to have to show what we're made off. We can't depend on you know who the leader of this world. So the artists it's going to take us the writers journalists you what you guys are doing the things that you're covering the things you know the truth that you're bringing, the people that you're highlighting or choosing to highlight all of this is going to be on us. We're going to do this. We're going to have to learn. You know be the hope and the change that we so desperately need right now. . I will say that it will make some of the science fiction work outdated. Because it's like. We're going to some of it now you know my hope is that it does remain just science fiction and it doesn't come to life. I don't want to be right about some of the things that I've written about some of the songs that I write. You know the thing that I talk about I don't want them to come alive. I've always tried to write the music that would say okay or tell the story you know with dirty computer like this is what happens if we have a government that tries to erase our memory to erase our identity. You know how can we prevent those things a lot of my storytelling despite preventing identity. Not worrying it into fruition. Take care stay safe.
The critically-acclaimed series Homecoming returns for its second season with a fresh new mystery and an exciting new star, Janelle Monáe. Her character wakes in a rowboat adrift a lake with no memory of how she got there -- or even who she is.
Homecoming Season 2
Created by Eli Horowitz, Micah Bloomberg
Based on Homecoming by Eli Horowitz, Micah Bloomberg
Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Producers : Eric Simonson, Marc Bienstock
Starring Janelle Monáe, Chris Cooper, Stephan James, Hong Chau, Chelsea Wallace, Monica Zhang, Chip Chinery, Jake Sidney Cohen, Nicole Alicia Xavier, Johann Carchidi Abreu, Albert Bensabat, Ari Frenkel, Timothy E. Goodwin, Michelle Haro, Anna Jaller Jeni Jones, Mary Anne McGarry, Bilal Mir, Milo Stein and Audrey Wasilewski
Cinematography : Jas Shelton
Editor : Matthew Ramsey
Production companies : Esmail Corp, Gimlet Pictures, Crocodile, We Here At, Red Om Films, Anonymous Content, Universal Cable Productions, Amazon Studios
We would like to thank :
Amandine Rouhaut (Serieously) (France), Jonita Davis (USA), Lorenzo Ormando (Angleterre) and Ravi Bansal (PIT) (Inde) who were present with us during this great press roundtable
Our San Diego editor and photographer Felipe Acevedo for his reread and help
Hugo De Luca and Amazon Prime Video for this great press roundtable
Photos : Copyright Amazon Prime Video