Exclusive: Anika Noni Rose Talks Everything, Everything

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Exclusive: Anika Noni Rose Talks Everything, Everything
Posted by Wilson Morales

May 30, 2017

Currently in theaters is the romantic drama Everything, Everything, which is directed by Stella Meghie and stars Amandla Stenberg as Maddy and Nick Robinson as Olly.  The film also stars Ana de la Reguera and Anika Noni Rose.

The film is based on the bestselling book of the same name by Nicola Yoon.

What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world?  Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face…or kiss the boy next door?  “Everything, Everything” tells the unlikely love story of Maddy, a smart, curious and imaginative 18-year-old who due to an illness cannot leave the protection of the hermetically sealed environment within her house, and Olly, the boy next door who won’t let that stop them.

Maddy is desperate to experience the much more stimulating outside world, and the promise of her first romance.  Gazing through windows and talking only through texts, she and Olly form a deep bond that leads them to risk everything to be together…even if it means losing everything.

For Anika Noni Rose, the stars seem to be aligning right now for the Connecticut native. Besides this film, Rose recently had a starring role in the BET original scripted series, The Quad, which was renewed for a second season. She will also reprise her role as the corrupt cop Jukebox on Starz’s hit series Power, which returns for a fourth season on June 25. Staying busy, Rose, through her production company Roaring Virgin Productions, picked up the TV and film rights to Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older’s bestselling YA fantasy series.

In speaking exclusively with Blackfilm.com, Anika Noni Rose spoke about her character in Everything, Everything and juggling multiple projects.

What was the attraction to doing this project?

Anika Noni Rose: I really thought the script was a different script to have two Black women sitting in the lead and a Latina also with us, with no commentary, also in a piece with magical realism which we don’t get to be a part of. I thought it was compelling in that in Dr. Whittier is so complexed and so different. She’s not one dimensional or “That’s the mom.” She has her own movement within the story. These are things that moved me. The story was written by a Black women, directed by a Black women, and how often does that happen? It just doesn’t, without talking about any of those things.

How would you describe Dr. Pauline Whittier?

Anika Noni Rose: She is Type A. She’s highly respected and respectable. She is a professional. She is a woman who has done well in life. She’s extraordinarily connected to all her child. All of her energy and all of her love is directed to and through her child. She’s also a woman moving through the world with heavy grief. Not dealt with, just moving through.

How was working with Amandla?

Anika Noni Rose: We had actually met before and I had expressed interest in working with her. I really like her. I like who she is and what she stands for. I like the way she stands for herself and of people. Having met her and spent time with her, I really care for her and enjoy her and I feel very close to her. It was a really wonderful experience working with her and getting to know her.

In working with Stella, did you pick up anything that you can take to your next project?

Anika Noni Rose: I can answer that from a director’s mindset that I would want to take away. She was very clear on the picture that she wanted to show. I don’t mean the movie, but the pictures in the movie. She was very specific and very clear. She created this world that allowed imagination to move through it as part of it as opposed to stepping out of it or feeling something that was thrown on it. I really like that and that is something to pay attention to and hold on to and to know, otherwise the ship gets away from you and that’s a good thing to have.

Along with this film, you have The Quad, which will be back for another season and as well a role on Power. How are you juggling all of this?

Anika Noni Rose: I think that it looks like a lot more work than it is because all of it is coming out around the same time. I’m really thankful for the things I’m able to do, in particular this last year and a half, which has been diverse work for me and that’s what I like to do. I’m hoping to expand that. I want to move into different genres. I would love to do a romantic comedy. I think it’s time for them to come back. I’m tired of crying. It would be nice to do something funny. I would love to do some action work. I’m moving into producing as well. That’s going to be a different path for me.

What can we expect for Jukebox this year on Power?

Anika Noni Rose: I couldn’t tell you that. You’re going to have to watch and see. Power is a tight-litted thing.

It was recently announce that you had picked up the rights to Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older’s bestselling YA fantasy series. You had previously picked up his other book. What are the challenges to making it happen? How quick will you start working on it?

Anika Noni Rose: I couldn’t tell you how quick we are going to see it happen. I can tell you how quickly I wanted to see it happen. I would love to see something within the next year. Like see it and not be talking about it. That’s the track that we are moving on. We already have some interest. We had writers submission the very next day. I’m excited about that and will be taking meetings as soon as we are done with this press tour. The thing that is important to me is to make sure that it’s done right. Like New York, to make sure that it’s done with the color and faces that we see and want to see and need to see with regard to the storyline and regard to our city. It’s about finding people that understand what that is and understand this girl and having women involved specifically and producing partners. I think the landscape is ripe for it. There are a lot of things happening with YA that weren’t happening before. There’s a lot more diversity happening and those things are doing well. Shadowshaper is a story that hasn’t been told at all with an Afro-Latina protagonist. She’s our heroine and magnificent. She’s real. She’s not a paper-cutter. She’s interesting and fun and going on an adventure. It’s a very different story that’s going to be told and it too is a magical realism but with some action.

Clip – My Mom Sent A Bundt

Clip – He’s Here

Clip – He’s Not A Stranger

Clip – We’re Going Really Fast

Clip – Are You Sure?

Clip – See You At The Bottom


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