Bishop T.D. Jakes returns to the “Woman Thou Art Loosed” franchise with his latest film, “Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the Seventh Day.” The film stars Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, and Sharon Leal as a couple whose life is turned upside down. The film is bound to be controversial as it will raise questions about the relationship dynamic of Black couples, and the many Black children who are abducted every year but whose stories go untold.
From the outside looking in David (Underwood) and Kari (Leal) Ames seem to have the perfect life. However, after their daughter is abducted by a Bible-quoting serial killer the couple begin realizing their life is not all it’s cracked up to be. While racing against time to find their daughter — the serial killer murders his victims on the seventh day — tension, fear, and secrets including infidelity bubble to the surface.
“Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the Seventh Day” represents a departure from films typically geared towards African-American Christians. Director Neema Barnette, Bishop Jakes, Underwood, and Leal decided their job was not to preach to people. They wanted to attract an audience that may have issues similar to characters in the film. In doing so the cast, executive producer (Jakes), and director attempted to show the raw reactions of a couple blindsided by an upheaval in their life. There are often limitations with regards to language in faith-based films. However, Underwood, and Leal wanted to show how tragedy can change people, or make them revert to old behavior.
MSDTV spoke briefly with Sharon Leal, and Neema Barnette about the film.
What was it about Kari that made you want to play portray her on screen, and what was the experience like?
Sharon Leal: I loved the complexity of the character. Kari was rapt with emotional depth, and that’s something I’ve never had the opportunity to do. I thought, if I can tackle this character and go to the places where this character needs me to go, then I would have grown as an actress. It’s one of the most intense roles I’ve ever played.
Leal admits she’s not a method actress but the role overtook her; she lived and breathed Kari. She’s a mother so it was her worst nightmare and that thought [having a child abducted] would stay in her head. Leal says, “it was intense and didn’t let up.”
Were you, and Bishop Jakes worried about any backlash for producing a film with a serial killer [Remy] who invokes scripture, especially in an election year with a religiously charged atmosphere?
Neema Barnette: No. Bishop Jakes is willing to take chances to get his message across. The character [Remy] is based in fact. A lot of serial killers quote scripture as justification [to commit crimes]. We’re ready to take any backlash.
VIDEO: Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On the Seventh Day
Pam Grier, Nicole Beharie, Nicoye Banks, Reed R. McCants, and Jaqueline Fleming round out the cast.
“Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the Seventh Day” opens on Friday, April 13th in select AMC independent theaters.
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