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“All I Want Is To See People Heal”: ‘THR Presents’ Q&A With ‘Causeway’ Star Brian Tyree Henry

There’s a lot of Brian Tyree Henry in it Elevated road. The film, which also stars Jennifer Lawrence and is the first title under her production company Excellent Cadaver, has been a passion project for everyone involved – including the actors. After the pandemic halted filming on the New Orleans set, Henry and Lawrence found themselves in quarantine just miles apart in Los Angeles and decided to rework the script, strengthening James’s character to make the movie more of a to make two-handed film. The resulting script – and Henry’s character – drew heavily from his own lived experiences.

“As I began my transition into this career where I was quite prominent in film and television, I bore a huge personal loss, which was the death of my mother,” said Henry during a recent THR presents panel, powered by Vision Media. “And when we meet James, he works at an auto repair shop, and this woman [Lawrence] stops and something happens and he sees something in her. I think I, Brian, was wandering around hoping someone would do that for me.”

Elevated road follows Lawrence’s character, Lynsey, as she returns to her native New Orleans after suffering a traumatic brain injury while on a deployment in Afghanistan. After meeting James, the two begin a budding friendship, bonding over a shared sense of loss and their attempts to make their way in the world while filled with grief. Henry’s character is also an amputee, which added layers to the performance. “I carried my grief in such a way that you would see it before you saw me,” said Henry. “I wanted to explore that with James, to figure out all these levels of what my grief looked like. Because I was reading [in the script] a man who seemed to be very good at covering his wounds.

With a movie this personal, it’s tempting for the creatives behind it to get involved in the reception — especially once the awards show kicks off. But for Henry, the way he measures Elevated road‘s success is simple. “Since this movie came out, the biggest journey I’ve seen it on is giving people the ability to come up to me and say, ‘I’ve lost someone too,'” he says. “It feels like people are putting down their burdens a little bit easier after this movie, which is definitely worth its weight in gold, because all I really want is honestly, to see people heal.”

This edition of THR presents is sponsored by Apple TV+.

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