Jeffrey Wright is recalling the time he did not censor himself for the film Ride with the Devil.
Studios release different versions of films depending on where they are being exhibited. During a roundtable with his American Fiction co-stars, Wright opened up about dubbing himself for the “airplane version” of the 1999 Ang Lee film.
In the Civil War set film, the actor portrays a former slave fighting on the side of the Confederacy.
“In this scene in which he has this, kind of the apex of his awakening and his need to emancipate himself, he says, ‘Being that man’s friend was no more than being his n*****. And I will never again be anyone’s n*****,'” Wright recalled during EW‘s roundtable. “And it’s such a self-empowering statement and understanding of the word.”
The studio asked Wright to replace the N-word with another word, to which Wright said, “‘Nah. That’s not happening,’ and I headed out the door and to my car.”
“And they found some other actor to come in and do that one word, apparently, so that the airplane folk would be comfy in the darkness of their own ignorance around the language of race,” Wright added.
Ride with the Devil was based on the novel Woe to Live On by Daniel Woodrell. The film also starred Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich and Jewel.