Taraji P. Henson says her ‘Proud Mary’ role recalls Pam Grier in ‘blaxploitation’ era

Taraji P. Henson has played numerous roles in which she had to shoot a gun, but her starring role in the movie “Proud Mary,” which opened Jan. 12, marks the first time she’s played a professional assassin.

The “Empire” actress, who made mathematics seem cool in “Hidden Figures” (2016), is now wearing black leather and disguises, while packing an arsenal that would make John Wick proud. She’s also driving a Maserati to and from jobs for her employer, an organized crime family in Boston.

You know, she was “workin’ for the man ev’ry night and day…”
“… never lost one minute of sleepin’ …

“Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been …”

Then her life gets turned around when she meets a young boy after a hit goes bad. The film’s teasers depict the kind of action we haven’t seen from Henson until now, and its posters hark back to a time when blaxploitation was the new kid on the block.

In an interview, Henson, an executive producer on the film, chats about her latest project. Here are excerpts from the conversation:

Q: The film is about female empowerment at a time when it’s needed. Did you plan this?

A: No, that’s just the way of the universe. It orders up the things that it needs when it’s the time. So I couldn’t have planned this better myself. This is not me — this is the universe. But here we are, and now I can use this platform to speak on some important issues. This movie is dealing with taking your power back and not becoming a victim, not being the victim. This woman wants out of a lifestyle that she is sick of. She has a bunch of men telling her she can’t leave. Well, guess what — she takes the power back. That’s the storyline, but as far as me, the actress in the game? This movie speaks to an African-American woman of a certain age carrying a film like this, even being offered a role like this. That hasn’t happened since the ’70s. We’ve had badass sidekicks, but we haven’t had the woman lead the film (very often). It’s her movie. She wins in the end — she kills the man…. We haven’t seen this since the ’70s.

Taraji P. Henson, right, and Jahi Di’Allo Winston in “Proud Mary.” (Dana Starbard/Screen Gems)

Q: Why hasn’t there been a movie like this since then?

A: They don’t

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment

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