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‘Moonlight’s’ Naomie Harris didn’t want to take the role. Now she has Golden Globes nomination for it

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‘Moonlight’s’ Naomie Harris didn’t want to take the role. Now she has Golden Globes nomination for it

Actress Naomie Harris, from the film "Moonlight." (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Time)

Actress Naomie Harris, from the film “Moonlight.” (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Time)

Naomie Harris received a Golden Globe nomination this morning for best performance by an actress in a supporting role. We caught up with Harris this morning shortly after she got off a flight from L.A. to New York.

This a really good morning for you.

I’m really great. I’m very happy this morning.

What was your initial reaction?

Oh, I was just over the moon. I’m so delighted because ”Moonlight” is a tiny little movie that was made for a really small budget. Nobody expected it to really have this kind of impact, and every award show we go to, every nomination we have, makes a huge impact on this movie. We don’t really have a big publicity budget in the same way the other movies we are nominated with do. So, these awards are incredibly important for getting awareness of the film out there.

You filmed your role in three days. Did you think three days of work would get you here?

[laughs] I so did not. No, it’s crazy. It was just a passion project. I felt like this was a really beautiful script. I thought it was just such a beautiful story. I never ever in a million years thought it would lead to a Golden Globe nomination.

And the film has six total nominations, with Mahershala Ali also getting recognized for role. This “small film” is taking the industry by storm.

It feels really overwhelming and surprising. It makes me really emotional because this is a movie I feel very passionately about. I also think it’s one of these movies that’s incredibly healing. It’s a very timely movie; we really need this, movies that remind us of our shared humanity, now more than ever.

It really just makes me happy that a movie like this is getting the recognition it deserves because I do think it’s one of these movies that has the ability to change the way people look at life and each other.

You’ve been outspoken about taking on this role, of a drug addicted woman, that you didn’t want to play…

That’s the other thing about it. A role I did in three days and a role I didn’t want to take on…[laughs] and now I have a nomination for it! This is crazy. Now I look back and I’m just so glad I did it.

But I knew after speaking with Barry [Jenkins] that I didn’t need to be afraid. My concerns were that I didn’t want Paula to fall into being a cliché. But when I found out that [Jenkins’ mother] suffered from crack addiction — and in the movie I’m basically playing an amalgamation of his mother and Tarell Alvin McCraney the writer’s mother. I realized he had a vested interest in ensuring that she wasn’t reduced to a stereotype and that she got her full emotional complexity and full humanity that she deserves

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