Movies often have the power to tell stories lost in the headlines and history books, and one of this weekend’s new releases, Alice, does this in a powerful way. The film starring Keke Palmer follows an enslaved woman living on a plantation who escapes to find out that she is living in the year 1973. Therefore, she was living under the illusion that she could be owned by someone, when by law she was supposed to be free her whole life. What’s even more chilling than that concept is the fact that Alice is inspired by real people in the modern world who lived as slaves.
When CinemaBlend chatted with Keke Palmer about her new movie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, she spoke to us about how embodying a character with roots in reality affected her leading performance. In her words:
First-time writer/director Krystin Ver Linden was inspired by numerous accounts from Black people living in the South of the United States, who have made it known in recent years that they were enslaved in secret. Unaware they were free, there have been multiple accounts of slaves living in the 20th century who were forced into labor, along with being tortured and raped by their “owners.”
Ver Linden was inspired by these accounts, such as the 2006 ABC report of Mae Louise Wall Miller, who recalled that she spent her life doing things like picking cotton without being paid, had to “drink water out of the creek” “like hogs,” and was “beat” and “raped” alongside others in Mississippi until she became free in 1963. Alice may not be beat-for-beat like these stories, but it brings to light the emotional journey of this situation. It elevates the concept of 2020’s Antebellum, which explored these horrors through more fictionalized storytelling.
In Alice, Keke Palmer’s character runs away from the plantation after an altercation with her owner to find herself in a world where the Black Power movement is in full effect and icons like Diana Ross and Pam Grier are bringing empowerment to Black women. In one particularly big emotional moment in the film, Alice reads through history books to find out she’s been a slave the whole time in a free world. Palmer spoke to that moment:
Keke Palmer shared that she felt having a moment in Alice where her character contextualizes the viewpoint of someone who did not live in a space where she knew a world where she could be free. Palmer continued:
Alice is playing in theaters now. Check out CinemaBlend’s review of Alice and get ready for more Keke Palmer in this summer’s Jordan Peele flick Nope. The actress will star in the horror movie alongside Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya.
YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.
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