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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Vanessa Estelle Williams Discusses Anne-Marie McCoy’s Return in Nia DaCosta’s ‘Candyman’ [Interview]

This article contains some plot spoilers for both 1992 and 2021’s Candyman.

Anne-Marie McCoy’s brief appearance in the trailers for Nia DaCosta‘s Candyman became instantly meme-worthy. “We don’t say that name,” she tsk-tsks. The character’s return to the franchise speaks to the enduring legacy of the 1992 film and comes armed with the knowledge of Candyman’s devastation to those that dare utter his name. But the return of Anne-Marie McCoy, played by actress Vanessa Estelle Williams, likely shouldn’t surprise any fan who’s aware of the sequel’s premise and its lead character, Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).

In Bernard Rose’s film, Anne-Marie was a single mother to an infant, Anthony, raising him alone in Cabrini-Green. She was one of the few willing to talk to Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen), making her a target. Candyman (Tony Todd) whisked Anthony away, framed Helen for his kidnapping and the murder of Anne-Marie’s dog -among other deaths- and put the baby in harm’s way. Helen dies saving Anthony from the bowels of a bonfire, solidifying her place in Candyman’s legend.

Williams shares that she and director DaCosta were in sync with Anne-Marie’s journey as a character. “She had lifted herself out of that living space and away from the trauma and was able to do well for herself. Working as a nurse practitioner assistant and be able to, being able to keep her child safe into manhood. I think it says a lot about Anne-Marie that she didn’t pressure her child to get some sort of 9 to 5, or something more stable, but to certainly allow him to use his imagination and make a living as an artist. That sort of peace that comes from, ‘I’m just allowing my child to be what they came here to be.'”

Anne-Marie came so far in her life, but in trying to shield her son from her past trauma, it might’ve had the inverse effect. “[Anthony] doesn’t even know where he was born; she’s told him a whole different story. Then to be caught and have to confess to him the reason why she’s lied, and even with going through all these different machinations to keep him from it, in the end, it still gets, it still gets revealed. It’s this thing where you question, ‘Well, should she have told him? Would that have made him more prepared for this moment?’ But these are the kinds of things that you can’t prepare for. And she really, really wanted him never to have to feel that experience.”

Working with DaCosta and reprising her character was a dream for Williams. “The fact that I got to revisit and see and imagine what it is like for Anne-Marie to survive repeated trauma of Candyman harassing her neighborhood. And then people being killed, Ruthie Jean, and then these nosy people, outsiders coming in, disturbing her peace and killing her dog. And her child, her baby, her infant being taken from her and then returned. That was all just such an intriguing sort of set of circumstances to re-investigate.”

Much like William Burke (Colman Domingo), Anne-Marie acts as an anchor in the film, a role Williams cherished.

To get to be able to anchor the film from the past to the present is, was such a marvelous honor and responsibility.” It helped that Williams could inherently relate to her character. “Now I am a mother with two sons, who are artists. I can dig deeper and go to my own resources, what it’s like to have a visual artist son, sons who are artists. All of that I get to live out; it’s so, so personal could connect readily to what Anne-Marie’s trajectory was. And even, although they weren’t as traumatic as what Anne-Marie suffered through, everyone has their own challenges and traumas that they pull from, and certainly as an actor, that’s what I’m always doing, aligning where I’m like the character and where I’m not. So, it was enriching in that way as well.”

Nia DaCosta’s Candyman is now playing in theaters nationwide.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/interviews/3680716/vanessa-estelle-williams-discusses-anne-marie-mccoys-return-nia-dacostas-candyman-interview/

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