Actress Adrienne Warren recently sat down to talk about some of the highlights of her career.
In 2020, the 34-year-old singer won a Tony Award for her leading role in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.”
More recently, she was cast as the mother of Emmett Till, civil rights advocate Mamie Till-Mobley, in the ABC limited series “Women of the Movement.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she talked about how she has found herself playing historical figures.
“I try to live a purpose-driven life, and if that means helping share the stories of our ancestors and bringing light to stories that have been in darkness, I am happy to be a vessel for that,” she said.
Warren Reveals The Biggest Challenges To Playing Historical Figures
Warren revealed that playing the role of a historical figure can be difficult because there isn’t much room for flexibility within the role.
“It does not leave that much room for adaptation,” she explained. “As a storyteller, I do everything I possibly can to get to the root and the foundation of who these individuals are. And it’s who these people are, not necessarily who people perceive them to be.”
“That’s a very different thing,” she continued. “It’s not who I perceive them to be, but it’s who are they as human beings. Sometimes it takes a physical transformation, which is also very taxing on my body. It is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. Every part of it is a challenge, but it’s definitely a challenge that I am happy to take on.”
Warren Talks The Differences Between Tina And Mamie
Although both characters are historical figures, Warren noted that they both came from very different places.
“Tina was very different from Mamie,” she explained. “Tina is a performer and Mamie’s not. Mamie is a mother who was in a tragic situation, which led her to unusual circumstances in which she had to become a fighter. She was living her life as a mother just trying to take care of her son, which is already a fight in itself.”
“The similarities are, they are believers in love and have a lot of faith,” she continued. “They are both fighters in their individual ways — because they had to be, not necessarily because they wanted to be, which I think is important, especially when you’re bringing light to stories, specifically, about Black women.”
She added that “there are many times where people don’t want to be in those situations, but they have to rise to the occasion because of their circumstances. And that is one thing that is very similar to both of them — they were both forced into situations that had nothing to do with them. With Tina, the domestic violence, and with Mamie, the murder of her son. What we know of them today, it’s because of the tragic situation that was actually put upon them.”
Warren Discusses Her Big Tony Win!
Warren added that she was “petrified” when she was first cast as Tina Turner.
“Honestly, when I got the script and I was asked to do a table read, I looked at the person who gave me the script and I said, ‘Sure, what role would you like me to read for?’ Because there was no way I thought they were having me read for Tina,” she explained.
When they called her name to accept her Tony award, Warren joked that she “somewhat blacked out.”
“I wanted to say what I wanted to say,” she recalled. “I was very shocked when there was a standing ovation. It was my second Tony nomination, my first Tony, and no one stands up when you win. I was very shocked at the love from our community. The energy in the room was so supportive. I was completely overcome by emotion and somewhat relieved because it had been such a long journey and I don’t know another role where someone has been asked to do the things that I have been asked to do in that role.”
“I didn’t believe in myself and even my dad — my parents are huge Tina Turner fans — and he was like, ‘I don’t know, kid, you can do a lot of things, I don’t know if you can do that.’ Mamie was very similar, and now, at this point, my dad is like, ‘I don’t know what you can’t do, okay. You can do anything.'”