Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Broccoli have stated that they felt “very strongly” about depicting Emmett Till’s murder narrative through the eyes of his mother, Mamie.
The film, set in Mississippi in 1955, focuses on Mamie Till-Mobley’s actions in the aftermath of the tragedy in which her 14-year-old son was abducted, tortured, and killed for supposedly whistling at a white lady. Goldberg, who also serves as executive producer, plays Emmett Till’s grandmother, Alma Carthan.
Producers Goldberg and Broccoli discussed why they chose to present the narrative through Till-point Mobley’s of view and never considered telling it any other way during a recent post-screening Q&A in London.
“[Telling it from her perspective] was essential and that was something that Whoopi and I felt very strongly about. We felt it was essentially a love story between a mother and a son,” Broccoli explained [via FilmNews].
Chinonye Chukwu, who previously directed 2019’s Clemency, wrote and directed the picture, and she agreed with Goldberg and Broccoli’s direction when it came to the film’s perspective. The three also agreed that the violent actions that led to Emmett Till’s killing should not be depicted in the film.
“She was adamant not to show the violence, only the aftermath. We were just so thrilled because we felt that we all totally agreed with her,” Broccoli continued.
“You don’t need to see it. Nobody needed to see it. We know what it looks like and we know what it sounds like. We didn’t give you a whole long sound of it, we let you know it was happening. Because what was important in this movie is what she does with what was done to her child,” added Goldberg.
Broccoli went on to say that she wants the film to be a tribute to Till-Mobley, who died in 2003, and that she believes it would educate people about her as a person and as an important figure in the civil rights movement.