There’s a scene in When They See Us, when Korey Wise, played by Moonlight star Jharrel Jerome, is being attacked in his prison cell by a gang of inmates. He’s desperately holding onto the cell bars and screaming for his life when a corrections officer walks over, beats his knuckles with a baton forcing Wise into the arms of his attackers. They pound on him and then blood sheds as he is stabbed in the flank with some object. Jerome grimaces with pain and grits his teeth, unleashing spit from the corners of his mouth. It’s an intense scene that feels like trauma porn, but it’s not, it’s real life.
From the moment Jharrel hit the screen, he played Wise to a tee. He captures his stutter, his naiveness, his fear. And when he’s on the stand, his illiteracy, and frustration. Jharrel delivered a performance so emotional, the pain feels unreal.
“It was definitely the most difficult process I’ve ever had getting into the mindset for a role. This was real life; he really went through this. And here I am playing somebody who has never been seen — like, really seen — before,” he told TheGrio.
His breakout role has garnered praise from celebrities like his Moonlight co-star Trevante Rhodes, Octavia Spencer, Lil Rel and a host of others.
Wise was so taken aback by Jharrell’s table read, he burst into tears.
“We were at the table read. We hadn’t even begun filming yet. We read episode one and it was to the part where Korey was being sentenced and he was freaking out in the courtroom. And Jharrel started to go in at the table read,” Michael K. Williams revealed to told BET. “I’m sitting here and he’s to my left. I’m looking at him like, OK, this kid is going too hard, he’s gonna get you, Mike. He’s gonna get you.”
When They See Us is currently on Netflix.
Jharrel Jerome Is The Breakout Star Of ‘When They See Us’ was originally published on hellobeautiful.com
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MAY 30: Jharrel Jerome speaks onstage attends the Netflix FYSEE Scene Stealer Panel at Raleigh Studios on May 30, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix) vertical,photography,celebrities,people,one person,arts culture and entertainment,attending,usa,music,film industry,california,city of los angeles,talking,fashion,three quarter length,jharrel jerome