Naomie Harris only recently stopped attending acting classes.
The British actress has hit the big time since starring in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later in 2002, landing parts in James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Even though she’s received a BAFTA nomination and other award nods, Naomie hasn’t let the success go to her head.
“I’ve had it happen in my career now where I get a call and they’re like, ‘OK, we need you to get on a plane tomorrow and meet a director and they want you to have this accent,’” she told backstage.com. “Until recently, I still went to acting classes at the Actors Center in London. Just stay as prepared as you possibly can.”
One of her latest projects is drama Moonlight, in which she plays a drug-addicted mother to a son who is struggling to find his way in a rough part of Miami. Directed by Barry Jenkins, who co-wrote the screenplay alongside Tarell Alvin McCraney – whose autobiography the movie is based on – Naomie admits she was initially hesitant to take on the part.
“I always said that I wanted to show positive images of women - black women in particular - and so I’d always drawn the line at playing a crack addict,” she explained.
However, after several discussions with filmmaker Barry she began to discover the character of Paula was more relatable than she originally predicted.
“I realized first and foremost that we are all one step away from an addiction of some kind,” Naomie added, referring to addictions to things such as alcohol, sex and even work. “We all battle with our own demons and we all use our own form of whatever it is to numb the pain in some way.”