They say art and life imitate each other, and if that rings true for Swan Song director Ben Cleary, the same can’t be said for actress Naomie Harris.
Almost anyone would have experienced grief in their lifetime, whether it was the loss of a grandparent, parent, or even a pet, but luckily for Harris, it’s something that ‘she has not yet lived and treated fully in the past 45 years.
Some might say she’s lucky because, for people who are like her Swan Song character, Poppy, grief can take its toll.
âI’m very lucky and really haven’t had a lot of heartache in my life. The only person I’ve lost is my grandfather and that was when I was very young, and I can’t even remember how I treated him because I was too young to really understand what it meant. really deal with grief, âHarris explained in an interview with Geek Culture.
“And yes, Poppy has a lot of grief and she deals with it by excluding Cameron and going inside so that she can deal with the grief.” I don’t think she taught me anything about how to deal with grief, but I think the only way to deal with group grief is to go through it, right? ”
A sci-fi drama, Swan Song, is the latest Apple TV + film from director Cleary and stars Harris and Mahershala Ali.
The film centers on Cameron (Ali), who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Not wanting to hurt his family, he makes the controversial decision to replace himself with an identical clone, Jack, despite knowing that his wife Poppy (Harris) opposes the cloning.
Although Poppy never found out about the Cameron clone, Harris can only imagine how upset her character would be if she had learned the truth, no matter how well-meaning Cameron was about it.
âIt was definitely an act of love because he put Poppy’s needs ahead of his own, but I think she would be devastated if she found out what Cameron was up to.
âI think it would be his idea to hell if she wasn’t with him during those final moments to take care of him, hold his hand and love him during his transition. I felt incredibly bad about that. “said Harris.
âHe was never able to be with his son and his wife during his last days. I mean, even saying that, it really makes me cheer up and get really emotional.
“I can’t even imagine going through something like this alone because all you want right now is spend as much time as possible with the people you love and he sacrifices that so that Poppy doesn’t feel. not pain and suffering. “
Much like Poppy, Harris herself is not a fan of cloning. For many reasons but mainly because the actress believes that being human is more than the experiences that one has had.
âWe are more than the sum total of our memories. We also have our soul, don’t we? And I think it’s something that is impossible to create because we don’t understand it, none of us understand what this soul thing is, do we?
âBut it’s a part of all of us. Animals have souls too, like everything has soul. And so I know you can’t really replicate that,â Harris explained.
The possibility of cloning was a topic she often engaged in when debating with Cleary, but one thing they both agree on is that a sequel focused on the implications of Cameron’s decision would be interesting to see. to follow.
âI think that would be fascinating to see – when Poppy found out that Jack was Jack and not Cameron, and that she was living with a clone. Oh, my God, that would be wow. It might be so fascinating to see An excited Harris shared.
“And then there’s Jack, who doesn’t even get it because they erased his memory so he didn’t even understand that he’s a clone, so he would be rejected by whoever he thinks is his wife. There is so much drama in there.
As well as revisiting the premise, the actress would absolutely love to work with co-star Ali again. Swan Song is not their first rodeo, as the two have also appeared together in Moonlight and have very similar working styles.
âWorking with Mahershala was just a dream. He’s just an amazing actor. One of the things that I discovered and really loved is that we like to work in a very similar way, which is really unusual actually, because neither of us like rehearsals. We do our preparation separately and then get into the work the same day, âHarris said with a smile.
âWe were very lucky to have a director like Ben. He trusted us enough to do that. But it was also very unusual that we both felt the same about rehearsals because most actors like to rehearse. I find it very interesting that neither of us likes to rehearse at all.
Swan Song is a film that many moviegoers will rate as emotionally heavy. Harris’ most recent films of 2021 – No Time To Die and Venom: Let There Be Carnage – lean towards action and required less emotional production in his role.
In the latest James Bond film, the actress was analytical and straightforward, while her turn as villainous Shriek saw her wreak havoc with her equally unstable partner.
Meanwhile, Swan Song demanded a lot of emotions and hearts from the actress and Harris admitted to crying several times on set and although grief was something she hadn’t known it was the overall vulnerability that was all too familiar for the incredibly independent actress.
âIn one scene is when I come to Cameron and I have a poem that my brother really liked, and I say to him, ‘Look, we really have to work on our marriage, and we have to start communicating.’ , that scene was a lot longer and oh my god this is the first time that Poppy has been really vulnerable and really honest about how she feels about this marriage – it was really devastating for the movie, “recalls Harris.
âI just remember coming home afterwards and not being able to stop crying because it’s like that emotional tap and it’s really hard to turn it off again after that. And I was all alone in Vancouver during times of COVID. Normally my family goes with me on every set I’m on, but they couldn’t come this time around so I felt very vulnerable after filming that.
A sequel to Swan Song may or may not happen, but one thing is for sure: the actress will continue to take on roles that will challenge her and allow her to explore the intricacies of life that is foreign to her.
âI think what defines me is being a researcher. I have never been satisfied. I always say to myself ‘There must be more!’ I’m still trying to figure out, like why are we here? What is all this? This has led me into many types of dead ends, but it means I’m constantly on the lookout for answers.
Swan Song is currently streaming on Apple TV +.
READ ALSO: Ben Cleary’s Swan Song Was Inspired By Personal Experience With Grief And Death