Recently, I had to the chance to chat with Aisha Hinds who is starring in the upcoming film Godzilla: King of the Monsters. We chatted it up about her role in Godzilla: King of the Monsters and how her roles continue to push the bar for the portrayal of black women in film and television.
One of the things that I’ve loved, watching your career over the years is how different the characters you portray. How your characters really help, not only inspire, but help make you to kind of change the world. So I wanted to know how intentional it is for the roles that you choose, and also too how those roles kind of align with things that are happening in the current social climate.
“Right. I think early in my career, um, my intention and pursuing this line of work, you know, came from an innate desire to sort of, um, impact the world the way that I was being impacted as a young person. And so as I, you know, sort of absorbed, um, different forms of media or whether it was television or film or music, um, theater. Um, I, I remember the things that sort of hit me in a place, um, that shifted me a little bit and I think that was my initial attraction to wanting to do this work, but I couldn’t yet articulate what it was that I wanted to do with it, you know. Um, and I remember after shooting my very first feature film, which was Assault on Precinct 13, the publicist for the film was a woman by the name of Ava Duvernay, which we all know today as a director and a powerhouse that, you know, a content distributor and an amazing woman.”
“And so, you know, I was talking to Ava after shooting the film, doing a publicity run and, um, and she asked this question, what do you want your career to say? You know, and I didn’t have the answer in the moment. And so she sent me home with sort of homework to do, you know, and I remember going to my journal and I, and, and trying to figure out what it was that I wanted the body of my work to say. And I just kind of searched how the things that, that I watched growing up made me feel and what, you know, what I wanted to do with that. And so I came up with this idea that over the course of, of my career, I want the canvas of my work to explore and expose or explore sensuality, sexuality, I wanted to expose injustice.”
“I want it to inspire young people and I want it to pay homage to my ancestors and my culture, you know? And so all of the projects that I, that I’m, that I choose all of the work that I do, all of the roles that I do in some way fall under that banner for me or some way the script or the story resonates for me in that place and speaks to one of those things. So I think that that’s what you might be seeing, you know, because I think innately one, once I read a thing or, um, and am given the opportunity to do a project, I sort of look at that thing and I’m like, uh Huh. This is the thing that wakes, that makes me feel a thing, it makes me jump inside, you know? And so I fortunately get to now look over, um, the different roles that I’ve done. You know, for a while I actually thought that I was doing the same thing. I was like, Oh my God, why is my career, I’m doing the same thing over and over. And someone had to slap me and say like, uh, you’re not.”
“And I looked at it and I was like, Oh, you know what? There is some diversity here. Are you now, I think that Godzilla definitely continues in that vein in terms of diversifying my career, because you don’t think that I’m going to go from, you know, leading people to freedom in Underground as Harriett Tubman to them doing a big blockbuster movie like Godzilla, you know. But then you think about it in terms of like the role of Diane’s Foster – Colonel Diane Foster and realize that she’s special, you know, in the fabric of this picture. You know, she stands out. And so she represents something that, um, doesn’t exist in the world yet, you know, which is, which is a woman who’s serving as a Green Beret Special Forces Officer. And you know, that doesn’t exist yet. And so the possibility of that is something that I represent on the big screen and I’m honored to do so for women, for young black women, you know, just across the board. So I was excited about that opportunity.”
Looking at the roles that you’ve played, that even for your role in Godzilla you know, you wouldn’t expect not only a woman, you know, to be portrayed as a colonel but also to a black woman. And even as I think back to your role in Shots Fired as portraying a pastor, but a black woman as a pastor, which we don’t see much of on TV and film. So tell us a little bit about your character in Godzilla: King of the Monsters and what attracted you to make this jump to action.
“Um, action is something I think that we’re all sort of innately like wanting to do because we’ve all, you know, action resonates for us, you know, in a place that, you know, it gets us excited, you know, and it, and it, it taps into a variety of emotions, you know. So whereas like, you know, drama is a specific thing and comedy is a thing. Action can sort of live in both of those spaces, you know? And it, it awakens, you know, different, different vibrations inside and you itself. And it’s also, you look at it and you think, oh my God, it’s so much fun until you’re actually there and you’re on the fifteenth take of running across snow that feels like you’re running in sand. And I was like, what are these life choices that I just made? Why? You know what, I don’t ever need to be an action star. No [laughs]. But I did have days where I was questioning like, Dag, just give me a monologue where I cry please. [laughs]”
“But I had such a good time because I realized, you know, that we were doing something, um, that was bigger than ourselves. And I think that’s what the genre represents for me. You know, that it, that it’s so much larger than life, you know, but yet so specific, you know? And there’s some sub textual conversations, um, beneath you know, the story that challenges you and charges you to think on a deeper level. That’s what I love about the job, you know, is that here you have this idea of like man versus monster and you know, you think that the monster is the obvious creature that doesn’t look like you. Right? But then you actually look at the film and you’re like, wait, who actually is a monster here? It is it actually the man or you know, and you know, are the roles reversed, which is sort of, I think the, the big conversation that we’re even having in the world right now. Like who’s for us and who’s against us. Who, who’s, who’s the monster here in this picture, you know what I mean? Like who, whose interests are we really fighting for here? You know? And so that’s one of that – that’s what drew me to it.”
Godzilla is considered a worldwide pop culture icon and we’ve so many takes on this character since the 1950s. What do you feel is specifically special about Michael’s version? And do you believe audiences will be left pleased as they leave out the theater next weekend?
“I absolutely do that. You know, one of the major, beautiful things about Michael’s version is Michael himself. The heart that he has for Godzilla. Godzilla is a part of the fabric of his existence, his upbringing, his childhood, and even his adulthood. And it is embedded in every single frame of this movie. And that is what makes it so special, you know, in a, in a sentimental way and what may be experienced so beautiful you know, for me, and I think for many of us. You know, when you sit down and you talk to Michael Dougherty and you realize, you know, that, that, that Godzilla is a part of his own personal pulse. And then you realize that he’s approaching this story with tremendous care for making sure that Godzilla purists are deeply satisfied. As for those people who are not Godzilla purists or Godzilla fans, they too will be deeply satisfied. You know, it, it gives you drama in, it gives you action. It gives you the monsters in a way that I don’t think had had seen in a long time, you know? So I think, um, they will be incredibly satisfied.”
Listen to the Interview:
Godzilla: King of the Monsters hits theaters on Friday, May 31st!