5 Questions: Crystal Fox
Note: The studio greenlit the posting of this interview even though theatres are currently closed due to Covid-19.
5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –
Crystal Fox plays the wife of Forrest Whitaker in “Burden.” The real-life drama tells the story of Mike Burden who is rising through the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan in small-town South Carolina.
SD: Why this role?
CF: I respect stories that are passion driven and thought provoking and stories that need to be told, but especially because it was based on a true story.
SD: Were you able to meet the real Janice Kennedy?
CF: Not until the other day, as a matter of fact. Right before we started filming, I had a phone conversation with her, but only after I met the Reverend Kennedy himself. That was a gift. She was somewhat revered and shy, but wonderful to speak to. I felt like I had a sense of her spirit even though we only spoke on the phone. When we finally meet at the premiere, I was ecstatic, especially because she felt like I honored her well.
SD: What are the challenges of playing a real person?
CF: For me, it was challenging because there was not a lot of information on her. I tried to develop her character on what little information I had. I feel like I have been privy and blessed to have known women like Ms. Kennedy my whole life. I borrowed from them and the kind of women they were and what they stood for. It is scary, because you don’t know if you are missing something and you want to be true to who they are as a person.
SD: There are a few scenes that are difficult to watch. How did you emotionally handle them?
CF: Honestly, I don’t think I ever want to watch the movie again unless I need to. It was hard. There are times when I just wanted to get up and walk away. There are a few gasp worthy moments where no one could breath. Twice I had to make the decision to be part of this because of the nature of the story. What helped was that our director created a safe space to tell this story. What was extremely important for me was that everyone that came to the table had the same commitment of telling the story.
SD: How will this film help change hearts?
CF: I hope that it was so uncomfortable to watch that the audience will be able to have conversations about hate and racism with all groups of people. The fact that we even need to still have conversations like this is mind-boggling. I hope that it provokes true and hard conversations, which I know is hard to do sometimes. There is a sacrifice and a cost to redemption and there is a cost for real love.
Burden is now playing at AMC Boston Common.