Written for The Purist by Constance C.R. White
Zazie Beetz may not be a household name, but she had an impressive turn in Joker, where she played Joaquin Phoenix’s neighbor whose fate sparked debate online and off. Before Joker, she was Domino in Deadpool 2 and starred as Van, Donald Glover’s girlfriend and his child’s mother, in the well-regarded TV series Atlanta, for which she received an Emmy nomination for her nuanced depiction of a young Black woman coping with modern-day challenges of race, motherhood and relationships. The 29-year-old rising star lives in New York, but she’s currently in Santa Fe, New Mexico, through December, while she shoots the highly anticipated Western The Harder They Fall with Idris Elba and Academy Award winner Regina King.
But we don’t have to wait till Netflix releases The Harder They Fall to delight in Beetz on-screen. Busy Beetz (her name is pronounced zah-see bates) is one of the stars of the intriguing Nine Days, which has its East Coast premiere at the Hamptons International Film Festival. The buzz meter hit high for this sci-fi allegory when it debuted earlier this year at Sundance, where it won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. In Nine Days, a mysterious arbiter must choose one unborn soul to come to life on Earth. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film, set for wide release in theaters in 2021.
“I really love this movie,” says Beetz, who stars opposite Winston Duke (M’Baku in Black Panther) as Emma, a free-spirited soul who is fighting to live and poses a challenge to Will’s (Duke) way of being. “This is a film that exists in a spiritual realm and explores the value of life. I have never had to explore a character like mine before.”