Ava DuVernay’s latest film Origin is one of the best we’ve seen in awhile and it was incredible watching her all-star cast do their thing.

Source: Atsushi Nishijima / Courtesy NEON

Jon Bernthal Talks ‘Origin,’ Allyship And Being Invited To The Cookout

One of our favorite parts of the film is watching Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor’s character Isabel Wilkerson in a loving marriage with her husband, Brett Hamilton, who is played by Jon Berntha. Global Grind spoke with Bernthal about his role in Origin and what he learned making the film.

“Through the entire process of reading the book [Caste] and then seeing how the film was going to be made, reading the script, I took away so much,” Bernthal told Global Grind. ‘But I think what’s important, as much as Isabel’s work, as much as that sociological philosophy, so unbelievably nuanced and incredible and honestly life-changing, I think the achievement for me with this sort of herculean task that Ava accomplished, is that you’re able to learn so much and take so much away and see things in this completely new perspective that you immediately recognize this, ‘Yeah that’s true.’ Like, ‘That’s real. I feel the same way. I just never thought about it that way…’ But that happens and you don’t feel like you’re being preached at. You don’t feel like somebody is telling you how to feel It’s not spoon fed and you don’t feel like you’re taking medicine. That’s an extraordinarily hard thing to do especially in a book like this. To take that philosophy and then make it so human and I think it’s a real testament to these three really unbelievable women — Isabel, Ava and Aunjanue. To be able to be a support system for this film and for these women is just such an honor for me and I’m really glad I got the opportunity.”

Emily Yancy and Jon Bernthal 'Origin' BTS and production stills

Source: Atsushi Nishijima / Courtesy NEON

Bernthal also spoke about his role in the film as an ally, who is loved by his wife’s Black family. Speaking about his own ‘invite to the cookout,’ Bernthal said he was grateful for growing up in Washington, D.C., where he was exposed to other cultures at an early age.

“So much of the book resonated with me,” Bernthal told GlobalGrind. “The way I grew up, I’m so grateful as I get older and I see how other people grew up. I’ve lived in different cities and I’m so grateful for growing up where I did and when I did, in Washington, D.C. at the time that I came up. It was such an unbelievably diverse place and such a international city. I think about the homes that I was invited to and I slept over at and it was all kinds of places, with all kinds of wildly different cultures and backgrounds. I think that when these sort of things like the backyard BBQ go down they can really be a point of connection, not a point of separation. I’m just so grateful that I’ve been to so many of these kinds of things and likewise, you know our home is the home that everybody came to. Our doors were always open and I’m just really grateful for that. I’m trying to raise my kids the same way. I just think you’re either that way or you’re not.”

Origin is in theaters now.