Nicole Beharie's Reason For Working With Female Directors Is So Empowering - Exclusive

Since her movie debut in the 2008 drama "American Violet," actor Nicole Beharie's filmography has only gotten more impressive as time passes. Whether she was opposite Chadwick Boseman in the Jackie Robinson biopic "42," a fan favorite in "Sleepy Hollow" before leaving after three seasons, or a first-time mother in the semi-horror Prime Video series "Solos," Beharie has been letting her work do the talking. 

This past month alone, Beharie has had two movies come out (released on the same day), playing prominent roles in both. In "Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul.," she plays an Atlantean first lady of an up-and-coming mega church, and in "Breaking," she stars opposite John Boyega in the true story of a veteran who holds up a bank after not receiving payments from Veterans Affairs.

During an exclusive interview with The List, Beharie discussed everything from her approach to the role of bank-manager-turned-hostage to having a steadfast self-care routine to why she consistently works with women directors in project after project. After all, Statista reported that in 2021, approximately only 22% of directors in the United States were women, a 1% increase from the year prior. Beharie told us how she sees working with women not necessarily as an "intentional" choice but as one that is aligned with her love of "risks."

Nicole Beharie feels like female directors are her kindred

Nicole Beharie's work with female directors spans films like 2020's "Miss Juneteenth" and both of her new releases, "Breaking" and "Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul." But when she spoke with us, she hesitated to call it a conscious choice to focus on women-directed films. "I don't know if it's an intentional choice, but we're living in a world where that's happening. Maybe those are people that also gravitate towards me," she said.

Instead, she credits it as a natural result of seeking out projects that interest her, particularly those expressing stories that haven't traditionally been explored much in mainstream entertainment. "I also love new voices, people that are taking risks," Beharie explained. "I love some risks, and all these projects are leaning into taboo, voiceless conversations, or giving voice to such voiceless conversations or barbershop conversations."

She noted that her interest in these stories makes her collaborations with the directors who tell them a natural step in her career — and many of those directors now happen to be women. "I also feel like they're my kindred in a way, and we're also in a period where there's just more," she said. "There is more content, more space, and more inclusion for women and people of color. So I am going to use my voice and my gifts to support their work."

You can catch Nicole Beharie and the rest of the acclaimed cast of "Breaking" in theaters now.