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Zazie Beetz Is Leading the New Guard Of Hollywood

We chat to the star of 'Nine Days' about the importance of perspective

What’s it like walking down the school halls with the next Al Pacino or Nicki Minaj? According to Zazie Beetz, actually pretty chill. “There are definitely so many young actors and performers coming through who are doing great things – Timothée Chalamet, for example,” she says of her alma mater, the prestigious New York performing arts high school LaGuardia. “It’s so funny, though, because for me, I always just think of it as high school.” 

It’s a humble approach to life that has seen the actor emerge as one of the most grounded of her cohort in Hollywood. She’s had a stellar few years: she was nominated for an Emmy for her role in Donald Glover’s Atlanta, and she starred in the Oscar-nominated Joker. This month, Beetz will star in Nine Days, written and directed by Edson Oda. It’s the story of Will (Winston Duke), a man who lives in the desert and must interview a group of unborn souls to determine which one is suitable “for the gift of life”. Beetz stars as Emma, one of the unborn souls who goes through Will’s selection process. She says the personal nature of the script is what drew her to the project. “It’s a film that is incredibly life-affirming and like a guide to how to find joy within grief as well. It reinforces that life is something to yearn for and enjoy even when it doesn’t fulfil expectations.”

The film invites audiences to consider what really matters and, importantly, prompts reflection about the power of perspective. Fans of Beetz will be familiar with her candour about navigating life with anxiety. “I just feel it’s my responsibility to make people understand that it’s OK,” she says of the desire to use her platform for good. “Anxiety can be characterised by feeling isolated…I want people to know that through community, through active work and talking about what you’re going through, you can come out the other side.” 

Nine Days is out now 

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