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Girls & Women

Taraji P. Henson's Newest Role Shows That Women, Too, Can Be Lethal Assassins

It’s all in a word: “hitman.” 

There’s Brad Pitt in “Killing Them Softly,” George Clooney in “The American,” Tom Cruise in “Collateral,” and then of course John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in “Pulp Fiction.” 

There’s a million hitmen out there, but hitwomen in Hollywood are of a rarer breed. 

Enter Taraji P. Henson. 

Henson, who starred as an ex-con in the hit TV series “Empire” and as a bad-ass NASA scientist in the Oscar-winning 2016 film “Hidden Figures,” is the star of the new movie “Proud Mary,” and the movie trailer, released yesterday, has everything. 

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It’s got copious leather, a cabinet full of high-caliber weapons, and of course Henson as a cold-blooded assassin, flipping both racial and gender roles in a big way.

Also starring black actors Danny Glover, Billy Brown, and Jahi Di’Allo Winston, and directed by the Iranian-Swedish filmmaker Babak Najafi, “Proud Mary” follows Henson, who becomes the go-to hitwoman for a Boston crime family, until an attempted assassination goes wrong. 

Refinery29’s Zoe Haylock called the movie “revolutionary” for its use of black actors in traditionally white roles.  

“Having black actors in roles that have been dominated by white people changes the whole genre,” she wrote.  

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On social media, reactions were similarly supportive of Henson’s newest role. 

“I am COMPLETELY here for Taraji P. Henson shooting people and kicking ass in black leather,” one Twitter user wrote: 

“It is Taraji P. Henson’s time,” another wrote: 

The film is slated for release in January 2018, but Henson is not stopping there. She’s also working on a film, “The Best of Enemies,” in which she plays civil rights activist Ann Atwater, who passed away in June of last year.