Janelle Monae Explains Unique Process For Picking Movie Roles

Janelle Monae has always been recognized as an incredible musical talent. They have won Grammy Awards and received glowing praise since their debut album in 2010. Something that day one fans may not have expected, however, was Monae’s seamless transition to film. They have proven just as adept at playing pivotal roles in Oscar-nominated releases like Moonlight and Hidden Figures (both 2016). Part of the reason Janelle Monae has managed to transition so well is because they have a very specific process when it comes to picking scripts.

Monae revealed their process during a recent interview with The Guardian. The main point of attraction? A movie role has to have a very specific kind of vibration. “Really, I love to get to know the characters and feel with anything I’m doing,” they told the outlet. “I really have to feel it in my p**ic hairs – they have to vibrate.” Monae pointed to their acclaimed dual performance in the 2022 thriller Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery as an example of this vibration. “My underarm hairs definitely tingled when I got the Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery script,” they quipped.

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Janelle Monae Prioritizes Roles That Make Them “Vibrate”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 06: Janelle Monáe attends The 2024 Met Gala Celebrating “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images)

Janelle Monae has a secondary metric for picking movies, and its the director. They had such a good time with Glass Onion director Rian Johnson, that they even voiced their desire to appear in the third installment in the series. “That was exciting, to go to Greece and work with Rian Johnson,” they added. “Who is a wonderful human. I’m so excited for Knives Out 3. I want to be a part of it so badly that I might get plastic surgery and audition as a brand new character.” Given that the Knives Out franchise makes a point of changing its cast each time out, Monae is unlikely to get their wish.

Fortunately, Monae doesn’t need to rely on sequels. The multi-faceted entertainer is set to play the iconic Josephine Baker in the upcoming TV series De La Resistance. The series will be made with A24, and will focus on the period of time in which Baker was a performer and a spy for the French Resistance during WWII. Janelle Monae added a third, more light-hearted metric for how to cast them, and its pretty simple: candy. “I love places that have snacks like Skittles and M&Ms,” they quipped.

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Updated: June 18, 2024 — 3:02 am