If you look at Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s acting career, it takes a while for a pattern to emerge. She first gained attention at 22 as Juliet opposite Andrew Garfield’s Romeo at the renowned Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. In the criminally overlooked romantic drama Beyond the Lights, by Gina Prince-Bythewood (who made the infamous Love & Basketball over a decade ago), Mbatha-Raw played a struggling pop star. Her “sleeper hit” Belle tells the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, an illegitimate biracial woman brought up as an orphaned member of her father’s aristocratic family. And in her upcoming Oscar bid, Free State of Jones, she stars alongside Matthew McConaughey as a slave fighting for her freedom.
What all these parts have in common: They’re nuanced and ambitious, roles for someone who’s not content to just be the girlfriend or the wife. She talked with the Cut about forging her own path, making it in Hollywood, and what she’s most grateful for. [Source]