Gabrielle Union will take on a new role far from who she is in her upcoming movie The Inspection, and recently spoke about what it was like to take on such a challenge.
At the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival on Friday (Sept. 9), Union explained how difficult it was to decide to play a homophobic character while being the stepmother of her transgender daughter, Zaya Wade, 15, in real life.
"As an actress, I normally look for characters that have some chunk of me in them. I did not see that in Inez," Union shared in a conversation at the PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly photo and video studio about her character, Inez French, who is a homophobic prison guard that can't come to terms with her son Ellis French (played by Jeremy Pope) being gay as it conflicts with her strong religious background.
Union also noted that she was first drawn to the overall “beautiful story” of the film before looking into the characters. But she later found that her “darkness defined the common space with Inez, which is a very vulnerable place, to know that I too am capable."
“It's not going to manifest itself in the same way, but when you are centering an oppressor's idea of who you need to be to be considered worthy of all of the things, everybody is on the chopping block,” she added.
And later continued, “I always look at homophobes as trash. 'Google is free, and I'm not doing free labor for you to figure out how to love your kid.'”
“But through the process of this, I'm like, 'Maybe I'm not so different in terms of what led me to that point.’”
“I'm never going to reject my child. My child, none of my children, are disposable. But I get the deep desire to be seen as worthy, and anything that threatens that can go, and for some people that includes their children.”
Union is also the mother to daughter Kaavia James, 3, and stepmom to Zaya and sons Zaire, 20, and Xavier, 8, from husband Dwyane Wade's previous relationships.