ETALK’s Tyrone Edwards Sits Down with Just Mercy Cast in Canadian Exclusive Interview

— January 10, 2020

“This was my call to action to inspire conversation,” Michael B. Jordan, JUST MERCY: ALL ACCESS. ETALK reporter Tyrone Edwards scores a Canadian exclusive in his first-ever 30-minute ETALK special, JUST MERCY: ALL ACCESS, airing Friday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. ET on CTV. Sitting down with the A-list cast of Just Mercy, including Oscar® winners Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson, and executive producer Michael B. Jordan, Edwards and the stars dive into the film’s true story and its socially conscious message. Debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last year, Just Mercy depicts a true story about Walter “Johnny D” McMillian (Foxx, in a SAG Award-nominated performance), an African American man convicted of a murder he did not commit, and a Harvard law graduate (Jordan) who works to help him and other wrongly convicted death row prisoners. Ahead of JUST MERCY: ALL ACCESS, Edwards shares his connection with the film and provides some insight into the exclusive interview:  
  1. With this being your first-ever 30-minute ETALK special, you called this interview with the Just Mercy cast the “favourite day of your now nine-year career.” What made this sit-down so meaningful for you?
The sit-down checked a few boxes for me personally. I’ve been on air for nine years, and prior to television, I did a lot of work with youth in Toronto as well as Kenya, Swaziland, and Brazil. My work then was about sharing what I had in terms of knowledge, resources, and experience with people who were under served, unheard, and in some cases, almost forgotten. I am excited that in 2020 my job in entertainment can help tell a story that needs to be told.  
  1. As the only Canadian outlet able to secure a long-form interview with Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, and Michael B. Jordan together, how did you prepare for the interview?
Getting the exclusive is always something our team wants to give our viewers because it’s a treat for them as well. This time around I was just so moved by the film that I went directly to my boss’ office and said, “I need a proper sit down with this cast.” My initial interview with Jamie Foxx on the TIFF red carpet went viral, and that just made me want that long form interview even more. The preparation began the moment I watched the film – I knew what I wanted to ask and why it was important to give this story an extra push. Our in-house movie expert at ETALK, Joanna Adams, added the necessary questions and back stories to truly make it a TV special.  
  1. Looking back, what moment from the interview stood out most to you?
Michael touches on working in entertainment and struggling to find a way to use what he does for the betterment of the world, and that hit home for me. Entertainment is necessary, but being able to use entertainment to tell these real life stories of a black man’s struggle is everything to me. Often, we are misrepresented, misunderstood, and misguided. We have been taught behind closed doors that we have to work twice as hard for anything we want. I don’t want sympathy, I just want respect. One love.  
  1. When you saw Just Mercy at TIFF, you said you cried for over 20 minutes once the film was over. Why did this film connect with you so deeply?
I have never been this emotional for a film, but it was too real for me to just watch and walk away. Nowadays, I have access and a familiar face to a lot of people, but every so often I’m reminded that I’m just a black man to some, which can be scary and dangerous. This movie tapped into the injustice, discrimination, and harassment I’ve faced over the years. That day in the theatre, the patch I had over that pain fell off and a flood of emotion came pouring out. I saw myself on that screen.  
  1. Your interview with Jamie Foxx at TIFF went viral on Twitter. What do you remember from your time with him on the red carpet, and how did that connection carry over to your exclusive in New York?
I wanted him to know right away that this wasn’t just another quick red carpet question. I wanted him to know I was asking from my heart in hopes that he would recognize that and respond from his. He did and we all felt it.
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