Jurnee Smollett-Bell on the Physical Challenges of Filming ‘Underground’

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The actress reveals that most of the physically demanding stunts were done by the cast. 

In its premiere, original series Underground became WGN America’s highest-rated original scripted program ever in the network’s history. Telling the story of brave men and women who risked everything to flee captivity, the subject matter itself is difficult, but it’s more complex than that.

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Jurnee Smollett-Bell who stars as Rosalee, one of the house slaves plotting to escape, shares that the role is physically demanding. Smollett-Bell found herself constantly sprinting across fields and wading through the bayou.

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“You have to do it take, after take, after take, and you’re in these corsets and your dress is like four or five layers and it’s 106 degrees in Baton Rouge in the dead of summer,” she tells Huffington Post. “We were swimming in swamps and trying to do as many stunts of our own as we could.”

While Smollett-Bell did train for the physically demanding role, she struggled to keep up with the fast-moving cameras.

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“They would strap a camera on the back of this gator, which was a like a really rugged golf cart and you would have to chase the camera. And Anthony [Hemingway], our director, would shout, ‘Keep up!’ And it’s like, this gator, while it’s not a car, it can go much faster than I can!” she explained.

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Filed under: Entertainment