The film “Underground” directed by Florida A&M alumnus Akil DuPont has had monumental success. Hillary Eaton, 13, stars as Ruby and her sister, Nike, 8, stars as Emala.
When Hillary was 11, she played the role of Ruby, granddaughter of older Emaal. Not knowing what to expect from the film, prepartion was key. Hillary took more of a professional approach to deal with being in such an intense movie.
“I was nervous at first, but once I practiced my lines and had them, everything just took off from there,” Hillary said.
For Hillary, preparation also meant being dedicated to her character. “I tried to think about sad things, say a puppy dying,” Hillary said. “I love animals.”
Both sisters had to apply the same level of dedication to the long hours that were put into filming.
“I remember this one scene where it took about six hours to shoot the same scene over and over again,” Hillary said. “My character, Ruby, had to walk through a door and I literally had to say those lines for that entire time. I just remember thinking, ‘This is never going to end’.”
Two years ago, NIke played young Emala, daughter of Bali and granddaughter of Dembi. She felt her limited lines gave her an advantage to mastering her role.
Confident, she said the movie allowed her to show her talent and share a very important message. “The film meant a lot to me; it meant that I had to work hard,” Nike said. “The reason why I’m here today is because of them (ed. ancestors). They helped me get through a lot, and still help me get through school, so I just need to be thankful for them.”
Their mother made the process and combination of delivering lines, and the long hours, easier.
“As a parent, you make the sacrifices so that your children can have an experience,” said Rhonda Eaton, HIllary and Nike’s mother.”They can say, ‘This is want I want to do,’ because they’ve had the opportunity.”