Mary J. Blige is on the cover of Essence, and in the accompanying interview, she opened up about her latest role, which is generating Oscar buzz already.
In Netflix’s Mudbound, Blige plays the role of Florence Jackson, a mother of four trying to see her family through the dangers of the Mississippi Delta in the middle of the Jim Crow era.
Blige said that taking on the role had helped her to regain some confidence, which was especially important when she was at a personal low after the end of her 14-year marriage.
“Shedding Mary J. Blige for Florence gave Mary J. Blige some confidence… like a lot of it,” Blige told Taiia Smart Young for Essence. “[On set] I could hear people whispering, ‘She’s so beautiful.’ And I was like, ‘Who the hell are they talking about?’”
She admitted that she had a little trouble transforming for the role, too.
“I had just come back from performing on the Bad Boy Family Reunion tour with all the nails and the wigs, and I wasn’t trying to depart from that,” she admitted. “So when it came time to get into character, I was like, ‘Can I wear a lace-front wig? Can I get some lashes?’”
But despite her small lapses in confidence, Blige said that she was proud of the film and that she felt she had been true to director Dee Rees‘s vision.
“If I didn’t let go and give into the character, the movie probably wouldn’t be what it is right now. It was the one thing that needed to be done, and I couldn’t let Dee down,” she said.
Mudbound hits Netflix on Nov. 17. See the trailer for the film below.