Oscar winner, Lupita Nyong’o recently explained that in preparing to play Red in Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ movie, she drew from a condition called spasmodic dysphonia (This is a disorder in which the muscles that generate a person’s voice go into periods of spasm. This results in breaks or interruptions in the voice, often every few sentences, which can make a person difficult to understand.)
She ended up suffering some backlash over the statement.
The actress portrays two people in the film – Adelaide and her murderous doppelgänger Red. It’s the latter that’s attracting controversy from some viewers.
Making an appearance on The View, Nyong’o discussed the inspirations behind her performance – noting that she never had any intention of demonising disabilities.
“The voice of Red was a composite of influences and definitely a creation of my imagination,” she said. “But I was inspired by a condition called Spasmodic Dysphonia, which is a neurological disorder, which can be triggered by physical and emotional trauma.
“In my processes as an actor, one of the things I look to do is to find ways into the most human and most real parts of the camera and to steer clear of a judgment of them as good or evil, pleasant or creepy.”
The Black Panther star elaborated: “So in my process of exploring things for Red, I happened to hear Robert F Kennedy Jr speak at an event. His condition that he had was my catalyst to my creative process, and it became me in (Us).”
Nyong’o concluded: “In my mind, I wasn’t interested in vilifying or demonising the condition. I crafted Red with love and care. So as much as it is in a very genre-specific world, I really wanted to ground her in something that felt real.
“So for all of that, I say sorry to anyone that I may have offended.”
By Damilola Faustino