ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson returns to the big screen this weekend, in an Atlanta-filmed motion picture based on an unusual true story.
"The Best of Enemies" stars Henson as Ann Atwater, a real-life civil rights activist who found herself working side-by-side with a Ku Klux Klan leader (played by Oscar-winner Sam Rockwell) in an effort to keep school children safe during desegregation in 1971 North Carolina.
Playing Atwater – known as Roughhouse Annie – was a challenge for Henson, who studied the real woman before filming began.
“I called [the filmmakers] and said, ‘Send me everything Ann Atwater,’” Henson says. “And then I Googled, and I looked it up, and I kept listening to her voice. I never really got a chance to see her walk, I could only imagine, you know ... this woman is really in the earth. She walks with a purpose, you know what I mean?"
Shooting for the project began in metro Atlanta back in May of 2017 – but producer Dominique Telson says she’s happy the film is hitting theatres in 2019.
"I really believe that this time, right now, is probably the best time, because we are really at a place where we really need to start understanding each other, and somebody needs to go in and look at people with love and change the way that we are thinking to make the world change," Henson said. "We didn't plan it to come out now, that's what's crazy."
"The Best of Enemies" hits theatres nationwide this Friday, April 5 – and also stars Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, and Babou Ceesay. The film was directed by Robin Bissell.
Click the video player above to hear more of our interview with star Taraji P. Henson and producer Dominique Telson.