It’s rare to see women of a certain age in a leading role like the lead character in Netflix’s Juanita. Alfre Woodard stars as the down home “ghetto” grandmother, who abandons her caretaker role to go on an life-defining adventure. She finds new love, has great sex and rediscovers what it is to put herself first.
“Women tend to put themselves last. They put their needs behind their kids, their lovers, the co-workers or whoever it is,” Alfre Woodard explained during a candid conversation on our interview series “In This Room.”
“We are made of strong stuff. And we always think ‘I can take it, I don’t know if he can take it’ I don’t know if she can take it, but I can take it.” But Alfre’s father offered her this piece of advice. “Just because you can don’t mean you need to!”
If you haven’t watched Juanita yet, the seasoned and hunky Blair Underwood plays an interesting role and appears often in his underwear. According to Alfre, it was her husband’s idea (he wrote the screenplay) to use the handsome actor.
“He said, I need a way in and I can’t quite find it. I hear him holler one day and he says ‘I got it. I got it. Juanita is low-woman on the totem pole. Working class, woman of color. Black woman. Everybody looks past her on the bus, everywhere. But every woman has a fantasy– Blair Underwood is her fantasy man. And he’s trifling because the working woman can’t get a break.”
After one quick phone call, Blair Underwood agreed to do the movie and the rest was history. Watch Alfre talk about Juanita above.