Whoopi Goldberg proudly walked the blue carpet at the New York Film Festival for the world premiere of "Till," Saturday (1 OCTOBER 2022) in New York.
The film tells the story of Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy that was lynched in 1955 in Mississippi.
Goldberg, who has been connected with the project for decades as both a producer and actor, spoke of the journey that began with an invitation from the producing team of Barbara Broccoli and Fred Zollo.
"I said, 'Sure.' And it's taken so long that I went from being a young woman with a kid - I'm the grandmother now. That's how long it took us to get it," Goldberg said.
Goldberg says she's open to the idea of exploring more films that deal racial struggles.
"I will produce as many things as we can get made. You know, black people go in and out of popularity, so you got to hit while the iron is hot," Goldberg said.
She also said that the New York Film Festival was the best choice.
"We thought we were starting with the Venice Film Festival, and then the Venice Film Festival saw the movie and... they realized what the, what it was. And they said, 'Well, you know, we're not sure this is for our folks.' And then Toronto was going to do us, and they were like, 'Well, we're not sure.' So it's like, 'New York was like, 'Yeah, of course we're doing this. This is our - this is absolutely we're doing this.'," she said.
Producer Keith Beauchamp says New York was always the location for the film's world premiere.
"I don't know the dynamics of that. I know that we talked about one festival, and it was this. And so we wanted to have the world premiere here because the late Mrs. Mamie Till-Mobley after her son lost his life, this was one of the last places where she spoke here in New York City, actually in Harlem as well," Beauchamp said.
Till was a 14-year-old boy from Chicago who went to visit his cousins in Mississippi. He was kidnapped, tortured, and lynched after being falsely accused of groping a white woman named Caroline Bryant. His mother, Mamie, wanted the world to witness the horror of racism in America with a photograph of her son's mutilation.
Danielle Deadwyler, who plays Mamie, says audiences will understand more than a mother's grief.
"I think you'll see a full breadth, a full arc of an experience of a person going from being what she deemed a kind of a nobody, an ordinary person, into the extraordinary of her humanity," Deadwyler said.
Playing Emmett Till, Jalyn Hall says he learned more about who he was as a young teen.
"I was shocked at the normalization. A lot of people look at him as a historical figure, but never look at him as the 14-year-old kid that he was, and it was a blast and great for me to embody that," Hall said.
Haley Bennett, who plays Bryant, the woman who accused Till, says she learned about the strength Mamie Till-Mobley, and as a mother found it hard to "comprehend what Mamie went through."
"I felt like I was sitting in the presence of Mamie Till-Mobley," Bennett said.
The film took 29 years to make, and Chinonye Chukwu was honored she was chosen to direct the movie.
"I take it with great responsibility, you know, and humility and honor. And I was so crystal clear about the mission at large."
"Till" opens in theaters on October 14.