Chukwu, a film professor, was deeply affected by the outpouring and surprised by some of the people who voiced their discontent with the state’s decision.
There, while continuing to teach film, Chukwu began volunteering in prisons and advocating on clemency cases involving incarcerated women.
Chukwu also interviewed prison wardens, corrections officers, and parole-board members.
So to prepare her to play Bernadine, Chukwu took Woodward, an Oklahoma native, to prisons across Ohio.
You connect person to person,” Woodard told me of the experience, which she said felt further away from home than work she’d done overseas.

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