Why This Works: The “Proud Mary” Trailer

A little Tina goes a long, long way

The Trailer: Proud Mary, directed by Babak Najafi, and starring Taraji P. Henson, Danny Glover, and Neal McDonough

PROUD MARY - Official Trailer (HD)

The Brief: It’s a crowded time for the revenge-driven hitperson action film, with Keanu Reeves delivering two successful runs as John Wick and Charlize Theron earning raves for her brutal turn in Atomic Blonde. So how does Proud Mary aim to distinguish itself? By letting star Henson do the talking….by, um, not talking all that much.

“What is unique about this trailer, is that there are only a couple of lines of dialogue at the very beginning and then again to end the trailer,” says film editor Rosella Tursi. “But for most of the duration, the audience is taken on a whirlwind musical montage with Tina Turner’s iconic song propelling us through a series of action-packed images of a female-led action film. Yay!”

While the song certainly does a lot of the heavy lifting, Tursi notes that the way the character is introduced is structured from a visual standpoint in a very specific way that plays with the initial audiences’ expectations (which is especially effective because Proud Mary isn’t based on an existing property). “I love the way this trailer starts with images of a gorgeous woman outfitting herself in black leather,” explains Tursi. “There are a few moments of mystery to the identity of this woman. Is she a singer or a performer? When she throws open her closet full of assault rifles, the reveal has a strong impact.”



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