Back in November, we posted our very first article about Jayme Lawson; she scored a role in The Batman alongside Robert Pattison, a hugely exciting opportunity for a young actor fresh out of Juilliard. It might be a bummer that we’ll have to wait until June 25, 2021 to see what she brings to that film but it’s time to get a clearer picture of Lawson’s talent right now because her very first feature film, Farewell Amor, just premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
Lawson plays Sylvia, an Angolan teenage who’s been separated from her father for 17 years. Walter (Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine) was forced to leave Sylvia and his wife Esther (Zainab Jah) behind long ago and since has made a life for himself in Brooklyn while he waits for Esther and Sylvia to join him. Now the time has come and while it is a long-awaited reunion, living together in a one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn comes with a slew of challenges including their emotional distance and, for Sylvia and Esther, the need to adjust to life in the US.
With Farewell Amor celebrating its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Lawson, Jah, Mwine and writer-director Ekwa Msangi took the time to visit the Collider Studio at the Kia Supper Suite to talk about their experience making the movie. Msangi told us about going from short to feature film, Mwine and Jah touched on making sure you could see the history of their characters’ long distance relationship on screen, and Lawson highlighted the thing she experienced on Farewell Amor that she’ll take with her to future projects, including The Batman. You can hear about all of that and more in the video interview at the top of this article.
Finally, I’d like to give special thanks to our Collider Studio Presenting Partner, the Kia Telluride SUV, the 2020 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. Additional thanks to support sponsors Glenfiddich Scotch, Peroni Beer, Marbl Toronto, mou footwear, ic! berlin sunglasses and clothing lines, Laundry by Sheli Segal and Orginal Penguin.
Jayme Lawson, Zainab Jah, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Ekwa Msangi:
- 00:30 – What is Farewell Amor about?
- 01:11 – How a short film Msangi made helped get the ball rolling on this feature.
- 01:37 – What was the key to getting the green light for Farewell Amor?
- 02:35 – Msangi and Mwine actually first met on the film festival route.
- 03:42 – Why many were intimidated by the role Jah plays.
- 04:32 – They knew Lawson’s role would go to a new discovery.
- 05:06 – Lawson on picking up dance very well if she could go back to the beginning of this first feature and give herself one piece of advice, what would it be?
- 06:26 – Were there any unexpected challenges for Jah along the way?
- 07:46 – Jah and Mwine on bringing the history of a long distance relationship to screen.
- 09:45 – In Msangi’s director’s statement she wrote that even though the “circumstances may differ, the themes are universal.” How did they personally connect to the material?
- 12:13 – Msangi’s work as an actor’s director.
- 15:43 – Lawson on what she’ll take from Farewell Amor to Matt Reeve’s The Batman.