How a panic attack while filming ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ created one of DeWanda Wise’s favorite Season 1 moments

DeWanda Wise explains what it was like filming the “She’s Gotta Have It” scene where Nola Darling is assaulted and why it made her laugh so hard she couldn’t breathe.

For many actors, filming traumatic scenes is a memorable experience — there’s so much emotion and pain they must tap into to deliver the right take. It can be a dark moment on an otherwise cheery set.

But for DeWanda Wise of “She’s Gotta Have It,” it’s a distressing scene from the Netflix series’ first season — in which she, as lead Nola Darling, is assaulted one night walking home to her Brooklyn apartment — that she calls one of her favorites.

“We must’ve shot it 25 times … and everytime I get to Nola’s brownstone, there’s this dude behind a car and … he just kept popping out being like, ‘That was good!,’” Wise said during a recent visit to the L.A. Times video studio. “I didn’t know if this was a crew member or just a dude in Brooklyn. So, around the 20th take, crazy eyes too, he just hopped out.”

“I couldn’t stop laughing and the laughing turned into coughing and then I could not breathe. It took a full 10 minutes to get myself together. I was legit having a panic attack from going through the motions of this event.”


Though she acknowledges the scene is “absurd and terrifying and emblematic” of experiences women always have — Wise too has been grabbed on the street by a stranger and followed — it’s one of her favorites “because that night was everything at once.”

For more from Wise, including how the show updates Spike Lee’s debut film on which it’s based, check out the full conversation below:

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