The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Was A ‘Spiritual Journey’ For Taraji P. Henson

Principal photography on “Benjamin Button” unfolded in the wake of both Fincher and Roth having suffered significant personal loss. The director’s father passed away in 2003, right as he was working on a proof of concept to show Paramount how the digital aging and de-aging effects would work. Meanwhile, Roth had lost both his parents while writing the screenplay, saying, “Their deaths were obviously very painful for me, and gave me a different perspective on things.”

Those events undoubtedly went a long way to infusing “Benjamin Button” with its stoic, reflective tone. But it wasn’t just Fincher and Roth who were motivated by real-world loss. Taraji P. Henson, who played Queenie, Benjamin’s adoptive mother, came into the film after her father passed away a year prior, and would go on a reflective journey of her own throughout the project. As the actress told Emanuel Levy:

“It’s been a very spiritual journey for me. I had just lost my father, and even though I miss him dearly, it’s almost as if his death was a part of my journey towards Queenie. When my father was sick, we made sure that he was never alone; someone was always at his bedside. He passed away while I was with him because he knew I could handle it. This role helped me through my grief and my grief helped shape my performance. Art can be very healing.”

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