BLACK AND BLUE—Naomie Harris' Undercover Prep for the Role

Police officer Alicia West (Naomie Harris) cautiously walks with her gun drawn as Milo (Tyrese Gibson) follows closely behind in Black and Blue (2019)

Taking on the role of a rookie cop in Sony’s upcoming action thriller, Black and Blue (2019), is Oscar® nominee Naomie Harris (Moonlight). As Alicia West, Harris faces the intensity of a New Orleans officer and needed to get some firsthand experience in order to prepare for the role—and what better way to prepare than by accompanying local police on a series of raids and sting operations? 

In Black and Blue, Alicia unintentionally witnesses the murder of a young drug dealer at the hands of some corrupt cops. She captures the act on her body cam, leading her on a fight for her life from both the criminals she was after and the lawmen who desperately want to destroy the footage. She then teams up with the only person in her community she can trust, Milo (Tyrese Gibson), to try to get the incriminating evidence into the right hands and stay alive. So just how far did Harris go to brace herself for this role? 

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Alicia West (Naomie Harris) in Black and Blue (2019)

Many actors who take on dramatic roles will typically go to great lengths to research and personally experience the lives of those they are portraying in order to deliver some genuine authenticity to the part. This was especially true for Naomie Harris, who shadowed some police officers in the inner-city as they carried out their jobs—in her experience, taking part in a police drug raid. As we’re sure some of you can expect, it turned out to be quite a terrifying experience for Harris.

“I did a lot of undercover work, so I was out with police doing raids,” the actor shared. “I was actually part of a real drug sting; it was really terrifying. We got the wrong guy.” But just as much as the real-life accounts she faced, Harris found she had to expand her empathy for these men and women in equal measure. “What would it be like if this was my life, and I was a cop? I'm putting myself in that situation” she shared.

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Milo (Tyrese Gibson) and Alicia West (Naomie Harris) inn Black and Blue (2019)

It was these firsthand accounts that allowed her to respect the character so much. As she faces overpowering corruption and police brutality, West blazes forward to emulate the change her community needs, even if she has to do it alone. This is why Harris knew the role was meant for her, admitting her admiration for the lead character’s key qualities: West is brave, composed when faced with immediate danger, and always willing to help those in need—especially when the person in need is well-known action star Tyrese Gibson. 

Take a ride along with Naomie Harris as she takes on her most challenging role yet in Black and Blue, coming to Regal October 25th.

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