Some actors might be frustrated if their latest film role didn't include lines. But Gabrielle Union is happy she doesn't speak in the Sundance Film Festival hit The Birth of a Nation.
Union's character originally had spoken dialogue, but the actress recently explained why it was important to her that her character not speak in the movie, which portrays the 1831 slave uprising led by Nat Turner. Union told Vulture, "As a sexual-assault survivor myself, I didn't want her to have any [lines]. It’s just more symbolic of the lack of control or power that Black women had, and have, over our own bodies. As a rape survivor, I know how powerful and voiceless I felt myself for a very, very long time, and the shame and the rage."
In 2014, Union appeared on The View and spoke about surviving a sexual assault when she was 19 years old, as well as her journey from seeing herself as a victim to seeing herself as a survivor.
The Birth of a Nation has become one of the most praised films at Sundance this year, and was sold to Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million. For those of us who didn't catch it at the festival, we'll be able to see Union's silent, but compelling role soon.