Moonlight, a new coming-of-age film about what it's like growing up in the projects of Miami as a gay black child, is full of tour-de-force performances. The movie follows its protagonist, Chiron, in three chapters, first depicted as a nine-year-old, then as a teen and finally, as a grown man, while starkly displaying the fraught relationship he has with his crack-addict mother (played by Naomie Harris).
Harris told us it was the middle section of Moonlight, when Chiron is bullied in high school, that hit closest to home for her. As she explains to USA TODAY, she was bullied as a young woman, too.
"There’s one scene where he’s waiting in school until the bullies hopefully leave, because they’ve threatened to beat him up. And that was my experience, I was bullied at school," she shares. "I remember just that terror of, 'OK, what can I do to wait at school as long as I can, because I know that they’re waiting for me."
Like Chiron, the Spectre star was forced to defend herself. "(In) one instance, this one girl had said to me, 'I am going to beat you up after school, just you wait.' And I was so scared that I saw her walking down the hallway with my headmaster there, so I just attacked her. Because I thought, 'If I attack her now, the headmaster will break us up and he’ll call our mums to school and I’ll be saved.'"
Has Harris encountered her bullies since? The movie star says she's still in touch with people from school, but, "obviously not the ones that bullied me. I’ve never seen them since."
Surely, they've seen her.
Watch the video below of Harris retelling her experience.