UAlberta Anthropology Prof Consultant on Santa Muerte for Will Smith's Latest Film

Dr. Kate Kingsbury, Adjunct Professor, has been helping Will Smith's Production team with the script of 'Bad Boys for Life'

14 February 2019

Dr. Kate Kingsbury, Adjunct Professor at the Anthropology Department at the University of Alberta is an expert on religion and teaches courses on the topic. She obtained her doctorate in the anthropology of religion from Oxford University. Her latest research explores Santa Muerte veneration, particularly amongst women. She has spent time in Mexico doing fieldwork on Santa Muerte devotion, visiting local shrines, attending rituals and other events with devotees.

Santa Muerte, also known as the Skeleton Saint, Saint Death, or Holy Death, is a fierce, female, Mexican folk saint who personifies death, blending Catholic elements of faith with pre-Columbian, shamanic, Indigenous praxis. Dr. Kingsbury recently accepted a rather unusual assignment. She has been working for Will Smith's production company, Overbrook Entertainment, to provide her expertise on Holy Death for Smith's film, 'Bad Boys for Life' which is due to hit movie theatre screens in 2020.

It will feature Kate del Castillo as a Santa Muerte devotee. Dr. Kingsbury was asked to write parts of the script that featured Santa Muerte veneration scenes and make suggestions as to ritual actions typically performed. She was also asked to provide a Santa Muerte vengeance prayer which will be recited by Kate del Castillo during a Holy Death ritual.

Dr. Kingsbury was also requested to aid with set design for the Santa Muerte altar to be featured in the film. Dr. Kingsbury advised on what colours, motifs, oblations and other elements should be featured in a Saint Death shrine built by a devotee (Kate del Castillo in the film) for vengeance and death to enemies.

Note: Photo shows Dr. Kate Kingsbury standing in front of a Santa Muerte shrine