This Rose is a rose is a rose

kwilliamns@tri-statedefender.com | 5/13/2014, 10:12 a.m.

Born in Bloomfield, Conn. (Sept. 6, 1972) Anika received her MFA from American Conservatory Theater and holds an honorary doctorate from Florida A&M University. Here, she discusses her new film, "Half of a Yellow Sun," co-starring Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Kam Williams: Hi Anika, thanks for the interview. I'm honored to have this opportunity.
Anika Noni Rose: Thanks so much, Kam.

KW: What interested you in making this movie?
ANR: I read the book when it came out, and I loved it! That book really excited me and moved me. And I read a lot! I remember thinking back then that it would make an amazing film. So, I was beyond thrilled when the call came asking whether I might be interested.

KW: I have a lot of questions for you from my readers. Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: "Is your character Kainene very close to the character in the novel or were a lot of liberties were taken in the script?"
ANR: She's very close to the character in the novel. I tried to keep her as tight to what Chimamanda (author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) described as possible. The only differences, I think, are the physical differences between our bodies, and there's nothing I could do about that. (Laughs)

KW: Patricia also asks: "Did you need a coach to capture the Nigerian accent? How challenging was it to sound authentic?"
ANR: The answer is "Yes," but the coach was British, because they mention in the book that she has an English accent.

KW: Was that the first time you visited Africa?
ANR: No, I've been to Africa many times. I spent six months in Botswana shooting "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency." I've also been to Morocco and a bunch of other places. But it was my first time in Nigeria. It was intense and I loved it, but it was a lot of hard work, because we were bringing a style of shooting that country wasn't familiar with. So it was really a learning set, and a learning environment, because the City of Calabar certainly wasn't ready for what we were bringing. But everybody was welcoming and stepped up to the plate, and it was a great time.

KW: How was your shoot different from the ordinary Nollywood [Nigerian film industry] set?
ANR: I'm not very familiar with Nollywood. What I do know is that they'll finish a film in two weeks. So, it's a very different way of shooting a feature film. It's a bit more labor intensive, and it's a different film language.

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles says: "The novel 'Half of a Yellow Sun' tells a gripping, but often very gritty, story. How does the film maintain the integrity of the story without potentially turning off the audience with visual details of the atrocities and suffering –especially given the stream of rather remarkable films like '12 Years a Slave,' 'Hotel Rwanda' and 'Django Unchained?'"
ANR: I think you'll just have to see it, Harriet, to know how it affects and moves you. Anytime you depict war, it's difficult to watch humanity debase itself in atrocious ways. But I think a good job was done.