Lupita Nyong'o apologizes amid criticism of inspiration for 'Us' voice: 'A creation of my imagination'

"Sorry to anyone that I may have offended," the actress said following backlash.

March 28, 2019, 3:00 PM

Actress Lupita Nyong'o spoke out after receiving backlash for saying she was "inspired" by the neurological disorder spasmodic dysphonia when developing the voice of her character Red in the new film "Us."

"The voice of Red is a composite of influences and definitely a creation of my imagination," Nyong'o said. "But I was inspired by a disorder called spasmodic dysphonia."

"I crafted Red with love and care," she continued. "So as much as it is in a genre specific world, I really wanted to ground her in something that felt real. And so for all that, I say sorry to anyone that I may have offended."

Nyong'o, 36, recently said during a red carpet interview with Variety that she "studied" the condition and discovered that it "comes about from trauma, sometimes emotional, sometimes physical" and it creates a "spasming in your vocal chords" leading to "an irregular flow of air." She said that she tried to develop this voice for her role, although it wasn't an "exact replica."

"In mentioning spasmodic dysphonia, I may have been disproportionate to what it actually is in the film," Nyong'o said on "The View." "I met with people as part as my exploration with the condition and I learned how difficult it is to have the disorder."

PHOTO: Lupita Nyong'o arrives for the New York premiere of "US" at the Museum of Modern Art, March 19, 2019, in New York.
Lupita Nyong'o arrives for the New York premiere of "US" at the Museum of Modern Art, March 19, 2019.
Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

She also went into more detail about drawing inspiration from the voice of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after hearing him speak at an event she attended. "His voice, and the condition that he has, became the catalyst in my creative process."

The executive director of the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association, Kimberly Kuman, spoke with "Good Morning America" about Nyong'o using the condition as a source of inspiration.

"I think the biggest challenge is that it’s being associated with the terms 'creepy' and 'haunting,'" Kuman said. "The reality is once the movie is over, they're still living with this voice disorder."

In Nyong'o's process as an actor, she told "The View" co-hosts she looks "to find ways into the most human and real parts of a character, and to steer clear of the judgment of them as good or evil" or "pleasant or creepy."

Jordan Peele's "Us" grossed $73.3 million in its opening weekend, beating out the previous horror film record held by Sanaa Lathan for "Alien v. Predator," which grossed more than $38.2 million during its opening weekend.

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