With the shortlist voting period for the 2024 Oscars now open, Netflix has revealed a new video of Meghan Markle moderating a post-screening conversation with filmmaker Misan Harriman and star David Oyelowo for the live-actions short film hopeful “The After”. An exclusive premiere of the 30-minute discussion can be found above.
“The After”, which is now streaming on Netflix, is about a London rideshare driver (Oyelowo) who “has to reconnect with himself and society after witnessing a devastating random attack in the capital”.
The short film is Harriman’s directorial debut, following years of success as a photographer, activist, and cultural commentator. (Harriman, who has previously photographed Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, became the first Black man to photograph a cover for British Vogue in the publication’s 104-year history.)
“When COVID hit, my second daughter was born just before lockdown started and the whole process, then George Floyd was killed. And I had this moment of deep retrospection recognizing that I’m not okay,” Harriman told Markle in their conversation, which took place last month at a private residence in Montecito, California, where Markle and Prince Harry live. “And I think a lot of the traumas of the little boy that’s still trying to shake hands in this man’s body came out in the summer of 2020. And when the opportunity came to go into the moving image, I felt that I had to be honest and start wearing all of our vulnerability with pride and honesty in a film that hopefully could accompany you in recognizing that it’s okay not to be okay.”
Oyelowo, a two-time Emmy Award nominee, called playing the lead in “The After” a “sacred thing… especially with a piece like this that requires you to go to those dark corners of humanity. I think our job is to hold a mirror up to humanity. And so my job was to, on any given day with this, is just to crack my heart open and let the audience in, let the camera in, let Misan in, because I had had intensely private moments of grief that shocked me.”
He said the role unconventionally came to him: via a direct message from Harriman with an offer to have a conversation.
“I’m not a big fan of social media, and I never checked my DMs and – on this good day, I did. And there was a message from this man, Misan Harriman, whose photographs I had seen capturing the Black Lives Matter movement as it was unfolding in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. And I was so compelled by his images before he had reached out to me. I felt each of them was telling the story of this thing that was unfolding. Those of us who marched, those of us who were at home, those of us who were dealing with the trauma of COVID, those of us who had lost people, there was so much emotion roiling in everyone. And so any image that he captured had a profound effect on me,” Oyelowo said. “And then he reached out to me and said, ‘Look, I’m looking to make movies and I’m a fan of yours, and would you be interested in having a conversation?’ And it was a no-brainer for me, not least because he’s also a British Nigerian as I am. So he kind of had me at that.”
This week, Harriman posted about the event on social media, highlighting the support of some of the screening’s famous attendees – including Jeff Bridges, John Corbett, and Bo Derek. But he made a point to single out Markle, who is a fan of Harriman’s work.
“What I was really struck by is, in a world that can feel – and does feel for most of us, I would imagine – so big, this has reminded us of our shared humanity and our connectedness in a way that is so vital right now,” Markle told Harriman about “The After” during their chat.
“The After” is now streaming on Netflix.
Watch the full Q&A on GoldDerby: https://www.goldderby.com/article/2023/meghan-markle-the-after-misan-harriman/