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Mahershala Ali 'scared enough' for lead in 'Swan Song'

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Two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali takes on his first leading role in “Swan Song” – playing two parts.

ALI: “I was very excited, but also scared enough to know that I was in the right place."

Ali plays a dying man who chooses to have himself secretly cloned in order to spare his wife and son from the sadness of his passing.

His wife is played by actress Naomie Harris – who also appeared in “Moonlight,” for which Ali won the first of his two Supporting Actor Oscars. The second was for the film “Green Book.”

Harris says those expecting a sci-fi film with "Swan Song" will certainly get that – and a whole lot more.

HARRIS: “I think it's ultimately about love. It's an ode to love and real love - not the romanticized version of love but real, deep, meaningful love."

First-time director Benjamin Cleary had lots of futuristic sets and split-screen wizardry to pull off, but he too let the emotions take the lead.

CLEARY: “I think my biggest role in this was to say, ‘This is the human story. How do I try and get out of the way as much as I can to let Mahershala do his work?’"

The film also costars Glenn Close, and is the first to be produced by Ali’s production company… giving him an even deeper connection to its message.

ALI: "It makes me think about being as present as possible in the life that I have, to really look my daughter in the eyes really give her that hug. Really be present in my goodbyes and my hellos, and to, to be a good ally to my friends and, and to, to, to believe in the potential that I have in myself still and try to meet it. And we're all going to die on that road trying to meet our potential, but just keep going towards that."

“Swan Song” is playing in theaters and streaming on Apple TV+.

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