Nine Days [Interview]: Winston Duke and Zazie Beetz On Indies Vs Blockbusters: “The Work Is A Lot More Similar Than It Is Different”

The Illuminerdi interview Black Panther's Winston Duke and Deadpool 2's Zazie Beetz for their upcoming feature, Nine Days.
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Winston Duke and Zazie Beetz, stars of projects like Black Panther, Us, Invincible, Atlanta and more spoke with us about their upcoming film Nine Days


When asked how working on independent projects like Nine Days compares to working on a Marvel blockbuster, Zazie Beetz had the following to say.

“It depends, you know Nine Days was largely shot in a studio as well. There was a lot of chew and to process. Perhaps the physicality of a big blockbuster wasn’t a part of it. There was a lot of exploration within the characters and work in that space. Even with big blockbusters, you do character work. You don’t not do it. It just manifests itself in a different way. There is work in that as well.

I’d say this indie felt more intimate, there’s a bit more ownership of what you’re doing. I think sometimes in a blockbuster you can get plopped in, and youre like “alright, I play this part, and that’s my role in this huge expansive stuff. With Nine Days, we all felt like we shaped it together in a way. The work is similar to a degree. –

-Zazie Beetz
Nine Days Zazie Beetz

Zazie Beetz has a lot of experience with comic book adaptations, with roles in Joker, Deadpool 2 and Invincible. Her characters tend to become fan-favorites, and that is no doubt due to the character work she speaks of. Whether she’s starring in an indie film like Nine Days or in the upcoming MCU Deadpool movie, (fingers crossed!) Zazie’s investment in her performances will continue to wow audiences for years to come.

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Winston Duke then built off of Zazie Beetz’ response, adding that

I would agree, I would echo that point with Zazie, that the work is a lot more similar than it is different. I feel like whereas on a big Marvel film, you have all these things that are built for you. We had a large scope to do in a really short time, so it still felt like a really big movie. I was like “Man, I wish we had forty days to do this, instead of twenty-four.” I wish there was more time to explore some of these scenes, but it was that lack of time that let us improvise and really dial in to shoot that in a short term.

A lot of our action was done on a set, just like a Marvel piece. With really big movies, you have to have a really clear director. Edson is very much an auteur director, so it felt like working with Jordan Peele, it felt like working with Ryan Coogler. It felt very similar to working with someone who has a super clear vision in what they want, so it felt way more similar than it did feel different. Like Zazie said, we had a lot more ownership of this ship than a lot of the other ships that are made by the mouse. 

-Winston Duke

Edson Oda’s talent shines through his feature directorial debut, and the high praise of the Nine Days cast makes his status as a rising star quite clear. To be compared to talents such as Ryan Coogler and Jordan Peele at this point in his career is no small thing. The clarity of vision that Winston Duke speaks about is an essential weapon in any great director’s arsenal, as is the ability to work within a limited budget and timeframe. Oda seems to have mastered those skills already, so one can only imagine the beautiful work Edson Oda will craft down the road. 


In addition to directing, Edson Oda also served as the head writer on Nine Days. As Marvel Studios has a habit of selecting indie creative talent like Chloe Zhao and Taika Waititi for new projects, Edson Oda could be a wonderful new addition to the creative team behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Only time will reveal what Edson Oda’s next big project will be, but you can count on us here at The Illuminerdi to cover those stories as they come. 

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Will (Winston Duke) spends his days in a remote outpost watching the live Point of View (POV) on TV’s of people going about their lives, until one subject perishes, leaving a vacancy for a new life on earth. Soon, several candidates — unborn souls — arrive at Will’s to undergo tests determining their fitness, facing oblivion when they are deemed unsuitable.

But Will soon faces his own existential challenge in the form of free-spirited Emma (Zazie Beetz), a candidate who is not like the others, forcing him to turn within and reckon with his own tumultuous past. Fueled by unexpected power, he discovers a bold new path forward in his own life. Making his feature-film debut after a series of highly acclaimed and award-winning short films and music videos, Japanese Brazilian director Edson Oda delivers a heartfelt and meditative vision of human souls in limbo, aching to be born against unimaginable odds, yet hindered by forces beyond their will…

Nine Days stars Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Arianna Ortiz, David Rhysdal and Bill Skarsgard. The film will open in New York and L.A. on July 30th before a nationwide release on August 6th. Let us know your thoughts on Winston Duke and Zazie Beetz’ words in the comments below or on our social media



Picture of Corbin Shanklin

Corbin Shanklin

CJ Shanklin is a journalist. They have been writing & reporting in the entertainment industry for four years, but their best work is still ahead of them. Stay tuned for more stories for the fans, penned by a fan.