While promoting the TIFF premiere of The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, a film about a TV star who hid his sexuality while maintaining his public image, Thandie Newton spoke to Variety about the pressures of Hollywood and its responsibility to push the needle on societal standards so that people can feel free to be who they are.

During the interview, Newton brought up her experiences with Hollywood limiting society’s perception of humanity when it came to race and colorism:

“For me personally…I’ve seen this crazy evolution of being an acceptable face of blackness. Being light-skinned, that was the acceptable version of blackness when I started out,” she said. “But we’ve seen this evolution now where the industry is changing, people’s perceptions are changing and there’s an allowance now for people of different ethnicities and darker skinned to be accepted.”

“Things do evolve, things do change, but I think for us as filmmakers, we’ve got to push the envelope. We’ve got to push these things,” she continued. “You have to be willing to make a movie that might be difficult, might be controversial, but if we don’t recognize our responsibility in pushing these very important themes forward, I think…we’re not doing enough.”

You can view her full comments below.

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan is directed by Dolan and written by Dolan and Jacob Tierney. Alongside Newton, the film stars Kit Harington, Natalie Portman, Jacob Tremblay, Ben Schnetzer, Bella Thorne, Michael Gambon, Sarah Gadon, Emily Hampshire, Susan Sarandon and Kathy Bates.


Photo: Getty Images