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Amandla Stenberg Interview: Star of The Darkest Minds

July 31, 2018

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By: Lynn Barker

From the producers of Netflix’s series “Stranger Things”, comes The Darkest Minds, a thriller movie adapted from the best-selling book by Alexandra Bracken, the first in a YA trilogy (“The Darkest Minds”, “Never Fade”, and “In the Afterlight”). The film takes place six years in the future when 98% of USA children have died. The remaining 2% have supernatural powers and this scares a lot of adults who try to lock them away. Amandla Stenberg’s character Ruby is one of them.

Ruby, Liam and friends hit the roadRuby, Liam and friends hit the roadCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Amandla, named for the Zulu and Xhosa word for "power", at 19, has certainly grown up since you saw her as the heart-wrenching, doomed Rue in the first The Hunger Games movie. She also starred in  last year’s Everything, Everything, a film adaptation of the Nicola Yoon book of the same title about a love-struck young woman housebound due to a rare disease. You can see her later on in Where Hands Touch, a romantic rite of passage story of a bi-racial teen struggling for survival in Nazi Germany.

A very young Amandla as The Hunger Games' RueA very young Amandla as The Hunger Games' RueCourtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Amandla is a very smart crusader for girl power. She was named one of TIME Magazine’s 2015 and 2016 Most Influential Teens and named 2015’s Feminist Celebrity of the Year by the Ms. Foundation for Women. You go girl!

Amandla and Nick Robinson in Everything, EverythingAmandla and Nick Robinson in Everything, EverythingCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

How does she feel about her lead character Ruby in The Darkest Minds and what does she hope you take home from seeing the movie? Read on.

Q: Hi Amandla. What is the story of The Darkest Minds about?

  • Amandla: The Darkest Minds is about a world that is very similar to our own except the majority of the population of children has died and the kids that are left have developed these mental abilities and because these abilities scare adults they have placed them in these camps in order to have control over a world that is drastically changing. (On the surface) it’s about kids on a road trip experiencing some really crazy stuff.

A sad Ruby (Amandla) in campA sad Ruby (Amandla) in campCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q: What attracted you to doing this film?

  • Amandla: It struck me immediately that these characters are kids and they’re real kids.  and I think that’s where the film’s heart lies.

A doctor (Mandy Moore) first checks out Ruby in campA doctor (Mandy Moore) first checks out Ruby in campCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q:  What is your character Ruby like?

  • Amandla: Ruby Daly is a girl who has been classified as a “green” in the camp that she grew up in since she was six years old. It’s been that long since she saw her parents and it’s about what happens to her when she leaves this camp and discovers her inner strength and her true power and where it lies. A lot of that power comes from the kids she meets on her journey.

On the road Ruby and friends make a pleasing discoveryOn the road Ruby and friends make a pleasing discoveryCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q: What about Ruby seems really cool to you?

  • Amandla: Ruby isn’t your traditional hero in the beginning of the story. She’s just a girl trying to figure out how to survive in these circumstances. I think that’s what is so cool about her. We see her earn and gain her strength throughout the film until she becomes the person she’s meant to be.

Ruby (Amandla) and group check out a long-empty mallRuby (Amandla) and group check out a long-empty mallCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q: What is with the color system in the camps? Ruby, you say, is a “green”.

  • Amandla: In the world of The Darkest Minds, oranges and reds have been classified as extremely dangerous so they’re usually killed immediately. However, Ruby has used her power in order to evade the process (of classification).

The group says goodbye to their Blue Betty vanThe group says goodbye to their Blue Betty vanCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q: What is Ruby’s power?

  • Amandla: She has the ability to erase people’s minds; erase their memory of her from their minds. She puts thoughts in people’s heads and basically manipulate but also see things really clearly just by touching someone. So, there is a deep understanding and an empathy to her power as well.

Ruby (Amandla) and Liam are in loveRuby (Amandla) and Liam are in loveCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q: What is Ruby’s relationship with Liam (played by Harris Dickinson) like?

  • Amandla: I think Liam and Ruby feel really strongly for each other. They like each other. There is immediate chemistry between them but also, I think, there is a lot of friendship in it and a lot of respect and mutual admiration.

 

See The Darkest Minds in your local cinema starting Friday, August 3rd

Have Your Say

Did you read the novel on which the movie is based? What would you do it you suddenly developed supernatural powers? Would you bond with other kids and teens who did the same? Teleport in with a comment!