The Express-Omar Benson Miller, Linara Washington Interviews
Where did the filming for The Express take place?
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How much did you know about Ernie Davis before you took this on?
Omar Benson Miller: "I was embarrassed after I read the script because I didn't know anything about him. I knew Floyd Little, I knew Jim Brown, and I didn't know who bridged the gap in between. And he played such an important part of the landscape of college football and professional football, and the Civil Rights movement, really, and I didn't know anything about him. It was embarrassing to say."
When you found out about him, was it really important that you captured it well because so many people still look up to this man? He's well respected.
Omar Benson Miller: "Without question. Ernie and his legacy live on, and I think that's part of the beauty of who he was, they live on beyond his death and even beyond his career that was cut short. And it's a testament to how great of a person he was and how important of a person he was, well, well beyond any football accolades he may have received or earned."
And you actually have to play a lot of football in this so how was that for you?
Omar Benson Miller: "It was great, man. It was great."
But it was different then…
Omar Benson Miller: "It was different then, but it was also different because they didn't want us to bang heads like that. That's always… Hollywood's so nervous. I'm a big boy, I don't think I'm going to get hurt."
How tough was it to get out on the field and not really hit anybody?
Omar Benson Miller: "It was frustrating. It was frustrating because there's a whole bunch of boys out there and it felt like you were a little kid. You just want to go play with the rest of your friends and they wouldn't let you play."
Do you have a Super Bowl prediction for this year?
Omar Benson Miller: "Raiders."
Wait a minute. Get real! A team that actually can win… I'm a Chargers fan.
Omar Benson Miller: "Raiders."
How was it getting back into the '60s era?
Linara Washington: "For me it was great. I'm kind of a period girl. I love doing period films. I think I was sort of born in the wrong era. I should have been born in the '60s. That's really my time."
Is it the costumes? The hair? The music?
Linara Washington: "The costumes, hair, music, the shoes… I think there's a nuanced sort of relationship between people during that time. There's just something very special."
Did you know about Ernie Davis before you made this?
Linara Washington: "Surprisingly no. I was really actually flabbergasted that I hadn't learned anything before, so this was really great. And it was great to go back to Chicago to film it in Chicago where I'm from."
Did you talk to anybody who knew him or was familiar with him when he was playing football?
Linara Washington: "I did not get the opportunity to meet anyone but, again, I read up on the history and it's just really fascinating. It's unfortunate that he never actually got to play."
And you play Omar's girlfriend so how is he to work with, besides being tall?
Linara Washington: "He is so tall, but he's the most wonderful person. We had to do all this dance and it just was great because he just made it fun. We had a great time and I'm actually really excited to see him because it's been a while."
What's next for you?
Linara Washington: "Well, I have a movie, Kings of the Evening, which is just finishing its distribution projects. Tyson Beckford, Lynn Whitfield, Glynn Turman, and myself are in the film. Another period film set in the Great Depression so that is due to come out shortly."