Sundance: Lorraine Toussaint Talks Playing a Black Maid in 'Sophie and the Rising Sun'

Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale and Takashi Yamaguchi also star in the 1941 interracial romance.

Sophie and the Rising Sun is not easily described in just a few words, as its actors will attest. Trying to put the movie's plot into a short synopsis, the dynamic phrases "love," "evil" and "racial tension" come to mind. 

Premiering at this year's Sundance Film FestivalSophie and the Rising Sun stars Julianne Nicholson, Takashi Yamaguchi and Lorraine Toussaint in a tale of interracial romance in a quiet fishing village in 1941 South Carolina. 

Writer-director Maggie Greenwald says the story spoke to her because of the female characters in the film, as well as the "turmoil between women. The secrets and the intimacy and the way friendships change our lives was really of interest to me," she told THR. "The relevance of the story today was very powerful."

Toussaint said it was particularly tough for her to play such an "invisible" character. "I was playing a black maid in the '40s, and I was surprised at how invisible I had to be," she said, adding that "In my spirit there was a kind of shrinking that had to happen."

Sophie and the Rising Sun tells the love story of Sophie (Nicholson) and Mr. Ohta (Yamaguchi) as their small town gets ready for war. 

Sophie and the Rising Sun also stars Margo Martindale, Diane Ladd, Joel Murray and Bobby Henline