Da Sweet Blood of Jesus star, Zaraah Abrahams, talks about the film, working with Spike Lee and Valentine’s Day.

Spike Lee’s remake of the cult classic “Ganja and Hess” is set to hit theaters Valentines Day’s weekend. This twisted romantic dramedy brings together two love-thirsty and blood-thirsty people to make the strangest love story you’ve ever seen. We discussed the film with Zaraah Abrahams, who plays the leading lady Ganja Hightower, and whether or not she thinks this flick is date night worthy. Check out the interview below, but watch out for spoilers!

Had you seen the original film by Bill Gunn, “Ganja and Hess” before accepting the role of Ganja?

I hadn’t seen it, no. Spike had told me not to watch it, I did watch a few scenes from the movie because I wanted to capture the style of her grace in playing Ganja, but no I hadn’t seen the original beforehand.

What drew you to the character?

I loved her journey and how vulnerable she was and what made her become a strong black woman. Also I loved the relationship that she had with Hess and obviously working with Spike Lee.

This isn’t your traditional or cliche vampire movie so how did you prepare to play this character?

Firstly I didn’t think of it as a vampire movie, I saw it as a journey of someone who had an addiction. In preparing for the role, we had great rehearsal time and just worked closely to capture the intensity of the character.

What was it like working with Spike Lee?

It was fantastic and he’s extremely nurturing. To be beside somebody with such a great vision is extremely inspiring. His passion is contagious so as soon as you get on set you feel that come to life. It was hard at times, he wants the best out of you so he pushes you sometimes further than you think you can go and it’s all for a great cause so it was great working with him.

Some of the scenes were very graphic, was there any scene in particular that was too gory for you or that you struggled with the most?

I struggled mostly with the eating of the steak. My gag reflexes were awake a lot and I did struggle with the one where I killed the other female in the film and then drinking her blood, that was a difficult thing for me to do.

Do you think that audiences will understand the religious implications and humor within the film? Did you understand it when you first saw the script ?

No, not when I first saw it, I had to read it a few times and discussed with Spike some of what was going on. I think the audience will interpret things the way they want to no matter what. That’s what great about Spike, he doesn’t put it in boxes or genres and people take from it. It’s very thought-provoking. There’s so many different interpretations of the religious topics and I think the humor definitely comes across. I’ve been to a few different screenings and the humor seems to be there, so yeah I think he gets across all those different topics.

Would you consider this film more of a love story or more a film about addiction or both?

I’d say it’s both, I think that the love for him stems from his addiction and then the passion they have for each other  also becomes an addiction on his behalf. I think it’s about both and I think being a woman we always steer towards the love side and that’s definitely what I’ve done.

What do you think about the film coming out Valentine’s Day weekend? Do you think this is a good date movie?

I think it’s a fantastic date movie. I think that it will bring people together and definitely get conversations going. There’s a lot of sex in it so that might spice up some peoples’ Valentine’s Day.

-Nishat Baig