‘It has helped friends reframe their experiences’: The Morning Show star Gugu Mbatha-Raw reveals the impact her character’s sexual assault had
- Contains The Morning Show spoilers
Gugu Mbatha-Raw has spoken candidly about portraying a sexual assault victim, and how she hopes to help create ‘conversations’ between women on the topic.
The actress, 36, explained how she wanted her role in The Morning Show on Apple TV+ to encourage viewers to ‘look at things differently’.
In the show, her character, TV producer Hannah Shoenfeld, is sexually assaulted by news anchor Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell), who is later fired over multiple sexual misconduct allegations.
Star performance: Gugu Mbatha-Raw has spoken candidly about portraying a sexual assault victim, and how she hopes to help create ‘conversations’ between women
‘It’s exciting for me to realise that the work can create conversations and help people to look at things differently,’ she told Harper’s Bazaar UK.
‘Obviously, it’s just TV, it’s not therapy, but I think it could spark a shift in someone […] Even since that episode, friends I’ve had for a long, long time have been reframing an experience they had in the light of it.’
The Morning Show, which also stars Jennifer Aniston – who won a SAG Award for her performance – finished with a shock finale late last year and has already begun filming on a second season.
Following the cliffhanger ending, Gugu told of the ‘chilling’ real-life parallels of Hannah and Mitch’s story to recent headlines surrounding Matt Lauer and NBC News.
Tragic plot: It was revealed that her character, TV producer Hannah Shoenfeld, was sexually assaulted by news anchor Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell)
Activist: The actress, 36, explained how she wanted her role in The Morning Show on Apple TV+ to encourage viewers to ‘look at things differently
‘In the last couple of months as we’ve been doing this show it has been quite chilling to learn really what has been going on.
‘I’m proud of the fact that it’s authentic and so zeitgeist, unfortunately so, because I’m glad it’s become more relevant in a way.’
The BAFTA-nominated star previously starred in British television series including Doctor Who and Spooks before trying to crack Hollywood.
She added that earlier on there were ‘dark nights of the soul’ where long hours and intense schedules led her to doubt the work she was involved in, but that having a ‘bigger reason’ spurred her on.
Gugu has since gone on to star in Beauty and the Beast, and has landed a role as the first black Miss World in the upcoming film Misbehaviour.
Big hit: The Morning Show, which also stars Jennifer Aniston, finished with a shock finale late last year and has already begun filming on a second season
Rising star: Gugu has since gone on to star in Motherless Brooklyn (pictured), and has landed a role as the first black Miss World in the upcoming film Misbehaviour
‘For me, success is freedom and being stimulated and staying curious. I want to be proud of my work, and to feel it’s doing something to help the culture evolve, but also, I want to keep myself interested.’
And given recent reports that Hollywood is still failing its ability to deal with a lack of diversity, Gugu doesn’t see her skin colour as an obstacle to succeeding in her career.
‘There is always a complexity about identity that you bring. It’s not a riddle that needs to be solved, it’s a duality that’s part of your nature,’ she continued.
‘It’s interesting as an actor because you’re always taking on different identities.’
Now settled in the US, The Oxfordshire-born actress, who made it across the pond with a Broadway run of Jude Law’s Hamlet, knows where her career can excel, but longs for the feel of home.
Mover and shaker: The BAFTA-nominated star previously starred in British television series including Doctor Who and Spooks before going on to crack Hollywood
‘I miss the rain so much in LA. I’m rock ’n’ roll, me!’
The April issue of Harper’s Bazaar is on sale from 04 March 2020.
It was reported earlier in February that Gugu is joining the cast of the Disney Plus Marvel series Loki.
According to Deadline, the Larry Crowne star has been cast as the female lead opposite British actor Tom Hiddleston who is reprising his big screen role in the streaming show.
Little has been revealed about her character but it is known that the series is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame and centers on Marvel’s mercurial god of mischief who is brother to Thor.
Filming on the project is already underway in Atlanta and the series is expected to premiere on Disney Plus in spring 2021.
For information and advice for people affected by rape and sexual abuse in the UK please call the Rape Crisis national freephone helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm every day of the year).
Coming soon: The April issue of Harper’s Bazaar is on sale from 04 March 2020
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