Fresh off of her turn in the Oscar-nominated drama Harriet, Janelle Monáe stars in the Antebellum trailer as modern-day author Veronica Henley, who's mysteriously transported back in time to find she's become a slave. Her task, according to the sneak peek that dropped on Thursday, March 5, is to "save us from our past." The thriller hits theaters on April 24.
In the trailer, Veronica gets a crowd fired up in the present timeline as she asserts: "We're expected to be seen, not heard. But we are the future. Our time is now." Following some thus far inexplicable circumstances, however, Veronica seemed to be teleported to a 19th century cotton field. "We go tonight," she wearily announced, presumably hinting at an imminent escape. According to the official Antebellum logline IndieWire posted when the first teaser dropped in November, she "must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it's too late."
If the trailer's music strikes you as eerily familiar, it's probably because the movie is from the Get Out and Us producers. In fact, a similarly terrifying tune played in the Us clip (as well as the Jordan Peele-approved Cats trailer spoof). Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz both wrote and directed Antebellum, and the cast includes Marque Richardson II, Jack Huston, Gabourey Sidibe, and Jena Malone.
Monáe told HuffPost she got chills when she first read the script. "I know that it's about to open up another dimension in my life as an artist and as an actor, and this is definitely one of my most layered and toughest roles to date," said that musician who's also acted in award-winning films Moonlight and Hidden Figures. "So I had to do some real meditation and prayer. I had to work out a lot. I had to get my head in the mental space to go through Veronica's journey." The actor added that she hopes audiences leave the theater "understanding why black women and superhero should be one word."
Bush and Renz also revealed that Antebellum was actually based on a nightmare Bush had shortly after his father died. "I felt like the woman in the nightmare was so desperate for help that she was screaming through multiple dimensions and that this could exist in a different space and time," he explained to HuffPost. "And then we built out the story. What people will experience in the movie is pretty much the nightmare."