Though “a bit apprehensive” to join the slave thriller, Alice, Keke Palmer says it was her character’s empowerment that inspired her to take on the role. 

In an interview with ABC Audio, the Akeelah and the Bee star explained why she felt it was necessary to take part in telling the based-on-true-events story of her character, Alice, an enslaved woman who escapes her owner and, alongside co-star Common, later seeks revenge.

“When I first heard ‘oh, it’s a slave movie,’ I was definitely a bit apprehensive because I’m used to one specific style or perspective that’s portrayed in a history or a Black-American slave history narrative. And it usually does not involve a lot of empowerment,” the 28-year-old actress said. “But when I read the script, not only did I see the character Alice and how she exists throughout the film was dynamic, but also it went in a place of empowerment and hope and having faith and choosing and taking a hold of freedom.”

The “film of freedom” according to first-time director Krystin Ver Linden, takes viewers on an interesting journey, having introduced an enslaved Alice on a 19-century Georgia plantation and then transporting her to the year 1973. On a mission to repay her slave owner, Paul, played by Jonny Lee Miller, Alice comes into a redefined, empowered version of herself and vows to take back her dignity.  

Palmer says she also learned about Black history by being a part of the film and was on board to help educate others on “things taken out of the history books.”

“I think when we understand and learn more about these truths, they allow us to see the oppression that’s still happening today,” she said. 

Alice premieres in theaters March 18.

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