After five seasons as Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn Nine-Nine Stephanie Beatriz was looking to return to her dramatic roots, a world that she had previously loved “living" and felt most at home in.
It was at this point that she read the script for “The Light Of The Moon,” which tells the story of Bonnie and how she struggles in the aftermath of being raped. Beatriz recently confessed to me that she was immediately terrified by prospect of taking on the role of Bonnie, which is exactly why she immediately decided to take it, too.
But for all the heavy, weighty themes and content in “The Light Of The Moon,” Beatriz still sees the film as “hopeful,” especially in the wake of the #MeToo viral campaign that saw millions of women across the world open up about when they have been sexually assaulted.
“I think we’re all hopeful that things are shifting and changing. There’s a sea change happening. We are not satisfied with the way the world is. It doesn’t feel fair or safe for so many people in it. And we as humans want to make that change happen. I think all of us are so horrified. When that #MeToo was trending there were so many male friends that were horrified that so many women were coming forward with these stories, and then they were so disappointed that they didn’t ask or didn’t know that this was happening to the women in their lives.”
“I think all of us as humans have a choice laying in front of us. All of us as humans are really powerful. Even if you don’t feel like it. You are. You get to decide, through your daily actions, whether you make this world a better or worse place by how you interact with the people around you. And I think collectively right now we are in a place where a lot of us are saying, ‘I refuse to let this stay the way it is. I have to do something. I have to say something. I have to make this place better. For all of us’.”
"Quite a few” of Beatriz's friends are rape survivors, and their use of humor as a defense mechanism and refusal to let it be their “defining characteristic” aided her performance as Bonnie, while the “epic amount of research” and the “smart, natural” writing of first time writer and director Jessica Thompson meant that Beatriz always felt confident enough to take risks with the character, too.
These risks are plainly evident throughout “The Light Of The Moon,” which was the 2017 SxSW Audience Award Winner in the Narrative Feature Competition and takes a humanistic, resonant, and constantly captivating look at such a harrowing experience. In the wake of the #MeToo viral campaign and the various allegations made against Harvey Weinstein and James Toback, “The Light Of The Moon’s” plot feels particularly timely, and Beatriz is hopeful that it will contribute to the discussion and make people believe “it is possible to create change in our world, and our global culture.”
“I want people to walk away feeling like they have a jumping off point to have more conversations about this in maybe a way that they didn’t before. That’s another amazing thing that film and television can do it can make people talk about things that they didn’t even know they were supposed to talk about. You get to talk about what you thought about it, how it affected you, how you felt, and hopefully this will start a lot of conversations.”
“The Light Of The Moon” screens at New York City’s IFC Center from Wednesday November 1st, and will be released later in the month in Los Angeles, Houston, and Seattle.