The "Boardwalk Empire" star was interested in playing Captain Jasper, but he wasn't sure he wanted to play the villain in a film that would spark talking points amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.
"It was my Uncle Danny who convinced me that Jasper was a character worth exploring," Huston explains. "He told me, 'You must take risks and be scared', and I was scared of Jasper every day of filming. There's something insidious about him that really got under my skin. I'm thinking if I have that kind of reaction, then I hope the audience will, too."
"When I spoke to the directors on the phone, I realised that this film would spark conversation and spark discussion and hopefully lead to some good. I don't think you could watch this film without feeling a responsibility and a guilt and a shame for the hundreds of years that have come previous, and actually how we haven't come that far and how the world is today and that we need to come together right now, and this is a very important time for the world (sic)."
In the film, Janelle Monae portrays both a modern-day author researching black history and an American Civil War-era slave.
Huston admits it was worth the risk to play Captain Jasper to work opposite lifelong pal Jena Malone, who portrays his character's wife.
"Me and Jena have known each other since we were little itty bitty things," he adds. "My aunt (Anjelica Huston) directed her first film, 'Bastard Out of Carolina'... What she had to go through in that movie... I've always, since I was a child, wanted to work with her."