EBONY recently sat down with Margaret Qualley and Nick Robinson, who play couple Mary Dalton and Jan Erlone in new HBO drama Native Son, based on the novel of the same name by Richard Wright. Mary and Jan are portrayed as often well-meaning, yet ignorant friends of protagonist Bigger Thomas, portrayed by Ashton Sanders. For Qualley, becoming Mary was a daunting task, yet she admittedly enjoyed the challenge. “I was really uncomfortable playing Mary, to be honest,” Qualley revealed, “but at the same time, it was something that was exciting for me. It was definitely a challenge. She’s interesting because she’s someone who is very well intentioned, but she’s so privileged that she’s very much blinded by it and out of touch with reality, and that creates some really cringe-worthy moments.” Robinson’s character, Jan, was written as a Communist in Wright’s original work. In this modern-day retelling, the actor believes the politically conscious character would fit more along the lines of being a Democratic-Socialist and definite “Bernie supporter.” With that, the film aims to explore the privilege afforded to even the most “woke” of White people, who often don’t see how they can be self-proclaimed liberals while still exhibiting problematic behavior. “I think as a White person in America, and therefore as an innately privileged person, it’s easy to walk through life without really seeing the effects of systemic racism,” stated Qualley, “because, if anything, those effects are making your life a whole lot easier.” Catch out the full Q&A above.