“Jurnee and Miles make a good on-screen couple for this because they can both play damaged,” Kosinski said.
The film forced Smollett to wonder what she could do herself under similar circumstances. Would she administer excruciatingly painful medication to someone, say, Miles Teller, if someone like Chris Hemsworth asked her to? “I believe, from the comfort of my home, that I would say no,” she said.
In a video interview this month, Smollett, 35, reflects on an acting career that spanned three decades, from sitcoms to feature films, with detours on stage. “I’ve been doing this for so long,” she laughs. She opened up about everything from childhood crushes (“Paul Newman, Denzel Washington and Wesley Snipes”) to motherhood (“It’s true what they say, it’s your heart that lives outside your body. “), to how she got her name.
This name. Her parents, Smollett explained, both had names beginning with J, so they decided their six children should, too. Smollett’s brother, Jojo, thinks “Jurnee” could be a play on 19th-century abolitionist Sojourner Truth, but Smollett’s mother has a different story.
“My mom was in labor for two hours and I fell asleep in the middle of the birth canal descent,” Jurnee Smollett said. “And my mom kept saying, ‘This little girl is a trip. I guess I wasn’t ready to go out, so she said I took her on a trip.
Smollett’s earliest memories were on sets and on stage. At age 3, she played Debbie Allen’s daughter – and Diahann Carroll’s granddaughter – on a pilot for an unsold series, “Sunday in Paris.” At age 4, she starred as Denise Frazer, Michelle Tanner’s girlfriend, on the long-running sitcom “Full House.” The young actress resisted the persistent call of the Disney Channel sirens.