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Thandiwe Newton explains why her role in ‘Reminiscence’ “terrified” her: “I didn’t want the responsibility”

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Ben Rothstein

Thandiwe Newton says she was “terrified” when asked to take on the role of Emily “Watts” Sanders, a military veteran and close friend of “mind P.I.” Nick Bannister, in director Lisa Joy‘s debut film, Reminiscence.

“Initially, I was terrified, because I love Lisa Joy,” Newton tells ABC Audio of her Westworld director. “I love her as a woman, as a friend, the mother that she is. She’s an extraordinary writer, collaborator. Westworld was life changing for me, continues to be… And I had full support for her movie.”

However, even as Joy’s supporter, Newton says that when the director offered her a role in the film, she wasn’t so sure.

“I was like, “No, no, no…Lisa, please don’t. Because I might let you down. And… I would die.’ Not even thinking about the fact that we already worked together…But I just…love her so much, I didn’t want the responsibility — I wanted someone else to carry that responsibility.”

Thandiwe continues, “But in the end, I trusted her…If she wants me to play that role, it’s because she knows that’s the right person for the role.”

Still, Thandiwe admits that she joined the project “almost without faith that I was the right person for it,” but says she eventually became more comfortable during “the process of doing it, getting to know Hugh [Jackman], and also just researching.”

“In a way I had internalized the stereotype of women, as opposed to real women,” Thandiwe says of her initial concerns. “Women in the military, come in all shapes and sizes, for goodness sake. It’s absolutely absurd. And then I thought to myself, ‘My goodness, I as a woman have internalized a stereotype of what a woman in the military should be like.'”

Reminiscence is in theaters and on HBO Max now.

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