‘Origin’ Star Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor Takes Control of the Film’s Promotion With Sidewalk Campaign

Origin Actress Aunjanue Ellis Taylor (Credit: Instagram/@ava)

On a recent day in Los Angeles, Origin star Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor did something you don’t often see.

The award-winning actress, who leads the cast of the acclaimed new film, grabbed a stack of flyers promoting the drama and gave them to people outside a movie theater.

Origin tells a compelling story of racism, family, and loss. The drama from writer-director Ava DuVernay premiered in September at the Venice Film Festival, where DuVernay became the first African-American woman to have a movie compete in Venice.

The independent drama is distributed by Neon and began playing in select theaters in December. Yet it’s mostly been overlooked by awards voters.

Instead of hoping for audiences to hear about the film, Ellis-Taylor took the matter into her own hands. The actress put on a face mask and handed out flyers in front of an AMC theater, but eagle-eyed fans recognized her.

Related StoryAva DuVernay’s ‘Origin’ Trailer Explores Racism on a Global Scale

Video recorded outside the theater showed Ellis-Taylor removing her mask and engaging in a conversation about the film. The fans were gracious and excited to meet the actress, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 2022 for her performance in tennis drama, King Richard.

The footage appeared to be recorded in front of L.A.’s AMC Century City 15, where there’s a billboard promoting Origin.

After the video of Ellis-Taylor’s grassroots campaign began to circulate on social media, Ava DuVernay addressed the matter. The filmmaker reposted the footage to Instagram on Jan. 10, which showed Ellis-Taylor passing out the promotional cards.

DuVernay said the video made her “burst into tears.” Not because she was disappointed by Ellis-Taylor’s efforts, but because the actress is being overlooked this awards season.

“This was apparently taken last Sunday, Golden Globes day. This is a video of Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor. Our lead actress in Origin. She wasn’t nominated that day. She was handing out postcards for our film at a local AMC in LA to passersby,” the director began. “She had told me that she wanted to remind herself about what matters. That she wanted to invite people to see our work.”

DuVernay said after watching the video, her “heart aches.”

“I wish she was at the Globes or SAG Awards or Critics Choice or the other nominations that didn’t come. I wish she had commercials and magazine covers and all the things that are arranged for the actresses we are supposed to pay attention to in the awards season. I wish she felt the recognition and praise that swirls around her peers in big studio films,” DuVernay continued.

“I wish the world for her. All the flowers. All the gold statues. I wish so many things,” the director added. “But in this video, she reminds me to move from wishing to what matters. And what matters is WHY WE MADE THIS FILM and WHY WE DO THIS WORK. For people. To be in community with others.”

DuVernay praised the actress for her passion.

“Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, standing out on a windy day, passing out flyers for our film, I see you,” DuVernay said.

Origin is inspired by the 2020 novel Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson.

Ellis-Taylor portrays a fictionalized version of Wilkerson, as the author sets out to investigate racism in the U.S. and its parallels to the caste system in India and antisemitism in Nazi Germany.

The drama also stars Jon Bernthal, Niecy Nash-Betts, Emily Yancy, Finn Wittrock, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Connie Nielsen, Blair Underwood, Nick Offerman, Stephanie March, and Myles Frost.

The film was given a limited release and expands into additional theaters on Jan. 19. The trailer is below:

28 thoughts on “‘Origin’ Star Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor Takes Control of the Film’s Promotion With Sidewalk Campaign

  1. I saw it on the $5 Mystery Monday Movie night and it wasn’t worth the price of admission.
    The movie was factually inaccurate at times (claims of 500 years of not being able to transfer property ownership, in a country less than 300 years old?), deeply espoused critical race theory, and was ridiculous to watch an affluent PhD, writer and lauded speaker, who happened to be married to a Caucasian, go on about being in a caste system and comparing it to the holocaust. Utterly blasphemous.
    It was frustrating that there is a moving story here about the caste system in India. It was vastly weakened by conflating it with racism in the Jim Crowe era in the deep South.

    1. All of the above is 100% TRUE except I did not pay $5 to see this movie(?), and was not moved except to utter disgust. Woke revisionist history at its worst. DEI is a false God to every idiot who decides their great, great, great, great, great grandparents were slaves or can sneak across the US of A border. Well, who sold those grandparents into slavery to start the process? It was not Billy Bob Jones or Rufus T. White guy. If you want justice and reparations start on the continent where they came from and work forward in time from there. Slavery was, is and aways will be WRONG, however it has been a part of human existence since humans began to populate the earth. That has never made it right or correct but wars and murder have never being right either. Slavery is is alive today and growing. Look around the world in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Gaza, Columbia, Mexico, Communist China, Egypt and many others. It can take the form of economic repression, religious oppression, drug promotion and distribution, (think of neighborhoods in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Portland, San Francisco, Birmingham. New Orleans {Ray Nagin’s Chocolate City}, Oakland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Selma, and others where blacks and illegal aliens make up a large portion of the population. Drugs and crime are rampant. They are slaves because of their own actions, lack of self control, lack of two parent households and an 78 percent out of wedlock births. It is a cultural and self generated state of slavery. Blame the leadership of those communities and DEI.

  2. nobody wants to see your woke ahistorical crapola movie, its probably horrible as you used affirmative action and diversity to staff it…..incompetence!
    And everyone is sick of you crying racism, slavery ended 165 years ago, grow up and wake up

    1. I watched ‘The Offer’ on Prime, it is about the making of the GodFather movie, outstanding.
      Remember how good the movies and TV were in the 70’s? Paramount’s reputation for commercial success with The Odd Couple, Rosemary’s Baby, Love Story, The Godfather, Chinatown, and 3 Days of the Condor.
      Now we get blacks, feminists and Trans movies from Disney.
      We see revisionists re-write sexuality for the Woke Groomers. I feel sorry for the chemically neutered Adderall generation who don’t know the truth, just what Leftists in Hollywood tell them.

  3. Bravo to my fellow commenters! Yes, we, the white population who never did black people any harm, are sick of hearing about racism. I noticed Offerman in the trailer wearing a MAGA hat. It’s not conservatives beating down the black man and keeping him “in his place”. It’s freakin’ liberal democrats who use your victimhood for their own self aggrandizement. Grow up already! Asians laugh at your ineptness!!

  4. I love when someone whines about “woke” while screaming for others to “wake up”. Priceless.

  5. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhocking.

    The race victimization is starting to run dry, even after the fresh new run spearheaded by the most racist president in history:

    Hint: the one elected TWICE.

  6. This will fail for the same reason “Dear White People” failed miserably. We’re not racist, slavery ended 165 years ago and everyone needs to grow up and move on with their lives. Nobody owes you reparations. Take it to the slave owners who ORIGINATED IN AFRICA, not here. At least pick up a text book and get your history right before lecturing me about falsehoods.

  7. Why is she wearing a mask? Libs (all of whom love big gov’t) are afraid the gov’t is poisoning them. Go figure.

  8. If she has to beg people to see the movie it is probably pretty bad. Unfortunately she will most likely win an Oscar based on skin color. Alone because otherwise it would be raciss.

  9. Is the Ava DuVernay mentioned in the story the same Ava DuVernay that lost a studio $80,000,000 directing a Wrinkle in Time?

  10. Saving my money for a film showing how our biggest American cities were ruined over the decades by illiberal policies, illegal aliens, and woke revisionist history.

    Any studio wanna green light that?

  11. 100% correct – they continue to play the victim and race card to the extreme but fail to take accountability + responsibility for their reckless actions and bad choices. Broken culture + failed race!

  12. I am a Latino, American born citizen. My people have been treated badly for a couple hundred years. However, you rarely see Latinos complaining. We don’t equate our experience with the Holocaust. And you NEVER, EVER see us rioting in the streets or even protesting. Life is too short to live in the past. Live for today.

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