Samara Weaving shares how the son of a slave rose to rival Mozart and wow Marie Antoinette in ‘Chevalier’

Hear our full chat on my podcast “Beyond the Fame with Jason Fraley.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with 'Chevalier' star Samara Weaving (Part 1)

You might remember her as the bloody bride in the hide-and-seek horror flick “Ready or Not” (2019).

Now, Samara Weaving stars in the acclaimed period drama “Chevalier,” in theaters nationwide Friday.

“I feel very grateful,” Weaving told WTOP. “Stephani Robinson’s writing was so powerful.”

Set in 18th century France, the film follows the incredible true story of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner in the Caribbean who rose to the heights of French society as a composer to rival the likes of Mozart and impress the likes of Marie Antoinette.

“He was the son of a slave and a slave owner,” Weaving said. “His father strangely put him in an arts school for talented boys and he learned how to write and perform operas. Marie Antoinette dubbed him a ‘Chevalier’ and he was apparently better than Mozart, but we don’t know who he is, or at least I didn’t know who he was, so I hope that audiences watch this and research him and maybe they’ll teach it in schools one day.”

The film stars Kelvin Harrison Jr., who earned acclaim in “Monsters & Men” (2018), “Luce” (2019), “Waves” (2019) and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (2020). Weaving plays his love interest, Marie-Josephine de Montalembert.

“I thought that she was such a formidable character,” Weaving said. “I love that she was trapped in this toxic relationship and married to a man that she really didn’t want to be married to but took it upon herself at great risk, somewhat naively and somewhat bravely, to defy his wishes. I loved the scene where she stands on the table and chugs a beer and asks, ‘What about women?’ to a group of stuffy men. I just fell in love with her after that.”

Born in Adelaide, Australia, in 1992, Weaving has never known anything but an acting career.

“I started working when I was 14 in Australia, which is very different from being a child actor in America — that sounds dramatic — but in Australia, I still had a chill childhood and nobody really knew who I was but I got to work,” Weaving said. “Then, when I finished school, I got offered a role on ‘Home and Away,’ this soap opera in Australia, so I had to choose between university and going straight to work, which was my goal anyway, so I chose that.”

Having worked with the world’s best filmmakers from Martin McDonagh in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017) to Damien Chazelle in “Babylon” (2022), Weaving enjoyed working with director Stephen Williams, who directed the memorable “Cyclops” episode of the HBO miniseries “Watchmen” (2019).

“All directors are different and how you work with them changes,” Weaving said. “I think that’s how I learned. I didn’t go to drama school, so I learned on the job. Stephen was very specific about his vision and that was really interesting to be a part of. I just learned from other actors, so yeah, very lucky in that sense.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with 'Chevalier' star Samara Weaving (Part 2)

Hear our full chat on my podcast “Beyond the Fame with Jason Fraley.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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