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As the Best Picture winner of the previous year, director Barry Jenkins' Moonlight will ultimately be watched by generations and generations of movie-lovers... but star Trevante Rhodes is on track to potentially set the record for most times watched by a single person. As the actor recently told me without a trace of ego, he has already the critically-beloved drama about 40 times since its completion last fall. Said Rhodes,
Honestly, man, probably 40 times?... I'm a cinephile. I love foreign films, I love films that are really immersive. I talked to Barry about it quite often. It's not like you being conceited... It's one of the best films I've ever seen in my life. It's in my top three. And that's because Barry is incredibly professional at what he does. And every time I watch it I have an equally amazing sensation.
Following Moonlight's shocking win at the Academy Awards last month, I had the opportunity to hop on the phone with Trevante Rhodes to talk about the film -- and during the conversation I specifically asked him about how many times he's personally watched the movie. When I ask this question, it regularly gets mixed results -- with some filmmakers and actors admitting that they avoid revising their own work -- but this was the first time I ever talked to somebody who expressed as much passion about something of which they've been a part.
Of course, what makes the relationship between Trevante Rhodes and Moonlight more interesting is just how the actor was involved with the production. While still given a full sense of the film, he only spent two weeks on set filming what would end up being his third of the movie, and during photography he never met either Alex Hibbert or Ashton Sanders (the two young actors who played the younger versions of his character, Chiron). So while Rhodes obviously has a deeply personal connection to the film, he also has a particular distance from a good portion of it -- and it seems that distance has allowed him to appreciate it genuinely as one of his favorite pieces of cinematic art.
It's certainly been a life-changing experience for Trevante Rhodes as well. He only made his feature film debut in 2014 with an uncredited role in the thriller Open Windows, but his stunning performance in Moonlight has led to a lot of attention. He is currently working on what is easily his most high-profile project to date, playing Special Forces soldier Nebraska Williams in Shane Black's The Predator, which is currently in production.