Naomie Harris: I feared typecasting after Moonlight success

Naomie Harris

Oscar nominee Naomie Harris has spoken about her fear of being typecast after her starring role in Moonlight.

The British star said she received numerous offers of roles after the huge success of the film, which won the best picture Academy Award, but they were all similar to the drug addict she had played.

Harris, who was nominated for the best supporting actress gong for the role of Paula, added it was “very deliberate” that she is now starring in the big budget blockbuster Rampage opposite Dwayne Johnson, so she could prove her versatility as an actress.

She told the Press Association: “I did this movie after I did Moonlight and what happened after Moonlight was I got amazing offers but they were all along the lines of Paula and I was like ‘I don’t want to play Paula for the rest of my life, thanks guys’.

“So I needed to do something which was like a million miles away from Paula in order to say ‘I’m not getting typecast. I’m capable of playing lots of different kinds of roles and I want to be seen in a completely different light’.

“And I just lucked out because this movie is really fantastic, it blew me away when I watched it at the LA premiere because I had read the script and knew how the movie was going to turn out so I thought, but I was on the edge of my seat, I was scared because 70% of this movie I hadn’t seen because it was all CGI.

Speaking about her concerns of being pigeon-holed, she said: “It’s really alarming for me because I’ve been doing this for 32 years and I’ve played a really varied variety of roles and that is what keeps me excited about acting because I want to challenge myself in new ways constantly.

“I want to play completely different characters and so it really did scare me, the idea that forever I would play this one role.

“I’m very proud of Paula, I loved playing Paula but that is done now and it’s time for a new challenge.

The actress said Rampage provided a very new challenge, of working in front of a green screen.

She said: “It did my head in because I was really lost, because basically what happens when you’re working with CGI stuff is you’re in this room, it’s all painted green or they have these green screens and then you have these tennis balls numbered one to seven.

“You will have your director on the sideline saying ‘look at number two, the building is falling down’, or ‘look at number five, a monster is coming towards you’, and you have to react and you just feel really stupid.

“You have no reference, it just feels really unreal basically and so I’m so glad I had Dwayne at my side because he’s the master of all of that, he’s the master of green screen and he held my hand throughout that process and said ‘Naomie you don’t look silly, just commit, it’s OK’.

“Afterwards we would look at the scene on the monitors and he would say ‘you look great, it’s all going to be good’ and he helped me get through it.”

Rampage is in UK cinemas now.