We chat with Taraji P. Henson and Ann Atwater’s granddaughter Ann-Nakia Green about the highly anticipated film.

The Best of Enemies might tell the true story of the unlikely friendship between civil rights activist Ann Atwater and KKK leader C.P. Ellis, but actress Taraji P. Henson – who plays Atwater – is no enemy of the producers who brought the film to life!

“One of the co-creators and producers of Empire gave me this script, and in the 2016 racial climate, I felt it shifting – and not in a good way,” said Henson to our Sonia Isabelle. “I called Danny [Strong] and I was like, ‘We have to make this movie.’”

The Best of Enemies

The Best of Enemies

The road ahead had a few bumps – Henson was slated to star in Babak Najafi’s Proud Mary during those same months – but Henson was set on being a part of this project, even if meant giving up her much-needed break.

“That was the year I almost killed myself filming two movies in my hiatus,” said Henson. “But it was well worth it.”

Also joining Henson for the interview was Atwater’s real-life granddaughter Ann-Nakia Green, who said watching Henson play her grandmother “surreal” and that is “putting it mildly.”

Taraji P. Henson and Ann Nakia Green

Andrew H. Walker/REX

“I can’t believe that I’m sitting next to Taraji,” said Green. “I’m just relying on my faith and all of those prayers and tears that my grandma covered me with, and to see the fruition of this and the manifestation of it all – I’m surprised I’m not crying right now.”

Henson added that her wish for the film is that the story of this unlikely friendship between Atwater and Ellis gives people hope.

“That’s my prayer. That’s why I did the film,” she said. “We need to be reminded of what compassion looks like, and what empathy looks like. Until we don’t need stories like this, we have to tell them.”

The Best of Enemies

STX Entertainment and Grace Hill Media

Be sure to see The Best of Enemies in theaters now!