Mea Culpa

Interview: Kelly Rowland & Trevante Rhodes Talk Mea Culpa & Paint Scene

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Mea Culpa stars Kelly Rowland and Trevante Rhodes about Tyler Perry’s new thriller. The duo spoke about their characters and the paint scene. Mea Culpa is now streaming on Netflix.

“When criminal defense attorney Mea Harper (Kelly Rowland) takes on the murder case of artist Zyair Malloy (Trevante Rhodes), the truth isn’t as obvious as it seems,” reads the movie‘s synopsis. “While she tries to determine the innocence or guilt of her cagy-yet-seductive client, it is uncovered that everyone is guilty of something. Tyler Perry’s Mea Culpa explores what happens when burning desire takes hold and things get hot … and dangerous.”

Tyler Treese: Kelly, you’re in just about every single scene of this movie. What did it mean to really get this opportunity to show yourself as a leading lady?

Kelly Rowland: I was honored that Tyler [Perry] trusted me with that space. It was a journey. It was really a journey. I remember being very nervous at first, and the more I was there, the more I found my footing … I was grateful for Tyler as well. I can’t wait to do it again, for sure.

Trevante, your character is so interesting because he is accused of murder. You have this charisma to your performance so viewers are left pondering, “Do we like this guy? Is he guilty?” Did that ambiguity impact how you played the character? How did you approach that?

Trevante Rhodes: You know, I think I approached it in just an honest way. That’s the best way I can answer that in an honest and truthful way and what was honest to him without giving too much. I think that is, at least for my liking, what kept me as a viewer in tune and paying attention because I wasn’t sure what I was looking at.

Kelly, there’s such an interesting dynamic between Mea and Zyair, because there are professional conflicts and personal conflicts, but they’re still drawn to each other. Why do you think that is?

Kelly Rowland: I mean, you’ve got to think about the fact that, without giving away too much, Mea’s existing environment doesn’t really lean in her favor. You know what I mean? Without speaking as a defense attorney, it doesn’t really lean in her favor. She is doing her job, but she can’t help but feel something. There’s an energy that Zyair possesses that she’s lacking, you know? I think that she’s so open to that, even by accident … I think that it kind of took her by surprise too. It was very, very dope to be able to walk a mile in her footsteps and understand that psyche of hers for sure.

Trevante, Tyler Perry worked with you early on in your career with If Loving You is Wrong. How was it getting to reunite and work with him again with all this extra experience under your belt?

Trevante Rhodes: Well, for me, that’s always been the operative — the idea after that was to develop some cachet, to develop some credibility within the space, to then be able to tap back with Tyler and hopefully bring more viewership and bring a level of elevation and help make it something that is better than what he’s ever done.

Kelly, I’ve never seen paint used quite the way that it’s used in this movie. It’s a very wild scene. What was your reaction when that was brought to you? It’s real memorable and it’s a great scene.

Kelly Rowland: It was our idea, yeah. It was a collaborative idea with us and Tyler and I’m happy that it was memorable. That’s what we wanted. We wanted people to be able to take so many different things away from this movie, but definitely to be able to tap into that side and to be able to be creative, essentially.

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