If you’ve seen “Us” by now (and box office numbers would suggest many have), then you’re probably aware that Lupita Nyong’o plays two characters in the film. One is a loving mother that is trying to protect her family. The other, named Red, is the doppelganger that terrorizes the family. And one of the defining ways to tell them apart is how Red’s voice is very unique. Nyong’o recently explained her inspiration for the strange vocal pattern she uses as Red, but that explanation got her in some hot water.
In a new interview on “The View,” Nyong’o explains that she never meant to offend anyone and hopes that people can better understand how her speech pattern came about for the film.
Previously, the actress explained that she got the idea for the odd speech pattern from watching Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speak, as the man suffers from a neurological condition called spasmodic dysphonia. However, people suffering from that illness took offense by her using it as inspiration and said that their vocal pattern shouldn’t be seen as evil.
Nyong’o explains that she was influenced by the disorder but that it wasn’t just spasmodic dysphonia that went into her character’s voice. “The voice of Red is a composite of influences and definitely, a creation of my imagination,” she explained.
She continued, “In mentioning spasmodic dysphonia, it may have been disproportionate to what it actually is in the film,” she said. “I met with people as part of my exploration of the condition, and I learned how difficult it is to have the disorder. So I am very aware of the frustrations and misconceptions, the misdiagnosis…I thought in speaking out about it and mentioning it, it might shed light on the condition.
Ultimately, Nyong’o wants everyone to know that it wasn’t her intention to make people upset by using this explanation for her character’s odd voice.
“I say sorry to anyone that I may have offended,” she concluded.
“Us” is in theaters now.