Jharrel Jerome in I am a Virgo, physical and emotional assessment of the character

Jharrel Jerome didn’t really know what he was getting into when he received a somewhat cryptic email from filmmaker Boots Riley early one morning during the 2020 pandemic with the subject line “13-foot-tall black man in Oakland ”, but it was enough. to make him jump out of bed.

“For any actor, getting a personal message from a director you admire saying, ‘I want you for a role,’ is a dream,” says Jerome, who plays Cootie in Riley’s fantasy series. I am a Virgo.

The actor was then removed from production for two years for his Emmy Award-winning role as Korey Wise in Ava DuVernay’s 2019 miniseries Central Park Five. When they see usand carefully weighing his options for his next role.

“I’m still looking for. I’m just very selective, having been very lucky early in my career and spoiled in a way with Moonlight And When they see us,” he explains. “I’m a little more precise and careful in what I choose, which is a risk because it can take a while.”

Jerome was more curious than worried about how Riley would pull off the series, with his commitment to using practical effects like forced perspective to tell the story of a 13-foot-tall, 19-year-old black kid in Oakland who, after being hosted by his adoptive parents, LaFrancine (Carmen Ejogo) and Martisse (Mike Epps), ventures to discover the world on his own. His interest was so strong that diving headlong into the mythical odyssey as series lead and executive producer did not seem like a risk at all but rather an opportunity to discuss issues like capitalism and the very specific experience young people. Black men in America. Jérôme hopes that I am a Virgowhich has yet to be renewed for a second season, will have the opportunity to explore these themes in greater depth.

“If for some reason we can’t do another season, I love the little nugget of life we ​​got from Cootie and this world,” Jerome says. “It makes you question certain ideas.”

Jérôme spoke with THR about these ideas and his physical and emotional commitment to playing Cootie.

When Boots showed up to your first meeting with figurines to demonstrate his vision, was any part of you intimidated?

I was all intimidated. I was terrified. I think that’s what excited me and attracted me. More than saying, “Yeah, Boots, let’s go,” it was like, “Boots, how are you going to do it?” For any actor, when you get a role, the bigger the challenge, the more exciting the role. If it’s a role that feels really close to you, that’ll be cool. You’re going to get on set and do what you have to do, but when it’s something Daniel Day-Lewis type, where you really have to lean in and stretch and exercise your brain, that alone will get you there. . Even though I was scared at the time, you can’t help but trust this man. His confidence, his perseverance, makes him…

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