Mary J. Blige attends the screening of Netflix's "Mudbound" at the Opening Night Gala of AFI FEST 2017 Presented By Audi at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 9, 2017 in Hollywood, California.

Mary J. Blige attends the screening of Netflix’s “Mudbound” at the Opening Night Gala of AFI FEST 2017 Presented By Audi at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 9, 2017 in Hollywood, California.

*Mary J. Blige was at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood Thursday night for a screening of her film “Mudbound,” which opened the 31st edition of the AFI Fest.

The singer, who plays matriarch Florence Jackson in director Dee Rees’ acclaimed movie, said she still has vivid recollections of last year’s 29-day film shoot in Louisiana, which doubled for the film’s setting in post-World War II rural Mississippi.

“We were in real heavy conditions with heat, mosquitos, and mud everywhere and it was crazy, but there was a lot of respect and love among the cast,” she told Variety. “Working with Dee was a joy because she really is like a gift from God. And being Florence helped me in my confidence.”

Blige also added that she has her sights set on more screen time. “What’s next for me is more movies,” she affirmed.

Mary J. Blige (L) and Dee Rees attend the screening of Netflix's "Mudbound" at the Opening Night Gala of AFI FEST 2017 Presented By Audi at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 9, 2017 in Hollywood, California.

Mary J. Blige (L) and Dee Rees attend the screening of Netflix’s “Mudbound” at the Opening Night Gala of AFI FEST 2017 Presented By Audi at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 9, 2017 in Hollywood, California.

Rees teamed with Virgil Williams to adapt Hillary Jordan’s novel, which tells the story of two World War II veterans who return home to rural Mississippi and must cope with racism and PTSD in their own ways.

“Mud is a metaphor for race,” Rees noted. “It sticks to our clothes. We track it in and we track it out. We’ve created this kind of fiction that sticks to us.”

 

Netflix opens the film at 17 locations and on its streaming service on Nov. 17.

Below, Blige is among the film’s cast members interviewed by AFP on the AFI Fest red carpet:

Watch the trailer below: