Belfast Telegraph

Gugu Mbatha-Raw received messages from ghosts while filming Free State of Jones

Gugu Mbatha-Raw experienced several surreal moments on set.

Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw was struck by divine messages while shooting new historical drama Free State of Jones.

The 33-year-old British star portrays a former slave named Rachel in the new feature, which is based on the true story of Newton Knight, a Mississippi farmer played by actor Matthew McConaughey who led a group of neighbours and slaves in a rebellion against the Confederacy during America's Civil War.

Gugu's character Rachel was the real-life common law wife of Newton, and the actress is convinced the long-dead people somehow communicated with her from beyond the grave as she filmed Free State of Jones.

While Gugu visited Rachel's real-life gravesite, she discovered a coin inscribed with words from the Proverbs 3:6 section in the Bible that read: “In all thy ways acknowledge him, he shall direct thy paths".

And later, the same scripture surfaced in a bizarre otherworldly way while she was relaxing at home after visiting Rachel's final resting place.

“When I got back to my rented apartment in New Orleans, I actually discovered it had this throw on the coach and on the back of it was the exact same proverb,” Gugu recalled to the New York Daily News. “I couldn’t help thinking that the spirits of Newton and Rachel had something to do with it. It was a spiritual moment.”

However, filming Free State of Jones was less than divine when it came to surviving the rough elements on set. The movie was shot in the swampy Louisiana bayou and filming scenes in the humid, muddy and unforgiving environment proved to be extremely difficult for Gugu.

“We had a snake handler on the set, which is always a surreal moment when you read that on the call sheet,” she shared. “You go, ‘Oh my God, what are we supposed to be expecting today?’

“Seeing alligators on a regular basis drifting right by you on the bayou outside of our trailers and wearing those period costumes and corsets really transports you (to a different time). It made me very thankful to be living in the present age.”

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