Your new movie Almost
Amazing - in a few words, what is it about?
It’s a romantic comedy about three guys figuring out life while
trying to work at a company that hires them to write “break-up” cards.
any of Almost Amazing's
story based on personal experiences? And perhaps related to that, which of
the three lead characters in your movie do you identify with the most?
play Chris in the film and he is a egotistical playboy and I actually
related more to Michael’s character. I wrote the script with the idea
that I would play the opposite to my personality because Michael has so
many layers. I love that he is juggling staying with a woman he doesn’t
love because of her tragic incident. And Chris was layered in a
different aspect as all of his playboy shenanigans were reflective of a
rocky relationship he had with his father. So it was so fun to write these
sources of inspiration when writing Almost
I was inspired by love and I mean that as
in I wanted to do a film that didn’t explain it. I feel like Almost
Amazing has that Woody Allen/Terrance Malik vibe as in it's not based in
a false reality. That is my style, I have a hard time utilizing how I
think and to be able to use how I view love in a film was great! I think
that is what inspired me, the characters and the idea that love is messy
and it isn’t perfect. I wanted to explore that and to do that as an
African American was even sweeter. The film was told it wasn’t “black
enough”, it was also told it was too “out-there”. That means the
phenomenal performances of Alisondra Alexander, Torrei Hart, Matthew
Simmons, and Taylor Carter, etc it must have truly resonated!
Your personal thoughts about looking
for true love?
I think that love is an action and the
emotion of it is based off our perceptions of it. I think that
understanding how to navigate our emotions towards this idea, the idea of
love, that’s how we can get closer to understanding it. So I look for
people who challenge me and challenge “love”. I want to go against
what is considered normal and go for what we truly feel deep down. Don’t
just give me a gift for my bday, how did you feel? Did you want to give me
a gift, or are you socially conditioned to think that getting me a gift is
doing some archaic ritualistic part in this world
What can you tell us about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand?
interesting about this film was I was in it. So I got to sort of sit into
a scene and connect and disconnect almost instantaneously. Khu, my DP and
producing partner, she was integral in ensuring that we got the shots we
needed. I mean she essentially directed when I couldn’t see certain
things. The goal was to allow us room to bounce off each other’s
characters and quirks. With that in mind I didn’t want to solve problems
easily nor explain them thoroughly.
Amazing was shot (at least mostly) in New York City - so what was
it like filming there, especially regarding the exteriors?
Killer! I mean it was below zero for the majority of the shoot and for
some reason I got stung by a bee and almost died. Shout out to Macauly
Caulkin! So for 75% of this film I had just gotten out the hospital and
was dying! I mean face broke out and bruised and swole to the size of
grapes. So we had to endure me essentially being fatigued and drained and
sweating. But New York is beautiful and it was insane to even be able to
shoot there. That was so awesome. A blessing! I have so many stories but
my favorite is when we shot during New Years Eve and we thought the ball
drop would be close. And it wasn’t, so I had to convince multiple cops
that we needed to film this scene because of love! I mean I legit had to
convince him that Almost
Amazing was so great we had to shoot the New Year
’s Eve ball drop. He ushered us to the front after 3 hrs of running
through barricades and lines! But every frame of New York is always
beautiful and it was such a phenomenal experience.
also play one of the leads in Almost
Amazing - so what can you tell us about your character and what
did you draw upon to bring him to life? And have you written him with
yourself in mind?
I spoke a bit about him earlier but I
play Chris. He is a womanizer who is using his great looks and charm to
have different women every night. He works at a company called “Unluv”
where he writes break up cards for a living. I had to break out of my
shell because I’m not charming nor am I a playboy, so it was really
interesting to wear his skin. To sort of see where it would take me. What I love about Chris is he makes no qualms about being a bad guy. He
actually is bad at being bad and that makes it even more fun especially
when he meets his match in April, played by Taylor Carter. I believe their
dynamic is what helped me move inside of his skin.
What can you tell us about the rest of
your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Alexander plays Ra and she is a gem! I mean to find someone capable of
handling a girl who is dealing with tragic loss and to play her so
effortlessly! I was so enamored with her performance. Also Taylor Carter
who plays April, she is another rare undiscovered talent. She brought it
every scene and that helped Chris bring forth his dynamic even more! It
was a thing of beauty to watch how she approached a scene. Matthew Simmons,
our leading man, was awesome. I mean he comes from an action background
and to watch him soften his character, just amazing. Eddy Herrero plays
James, and he was interesting because his character has the highest stakes
and he plays him perfectly. Then to see Brian Hooks be a villain in a
film, what range! Torrei Hart’s comedic relief helps center the film and
she stepped in and killed her scenes. So many memorable performances in
the film and I loved each character. Billy Blanks coming from martial arts
to playing a caring Dad... I mean what great moments. Camila Banus who plays
Taylor, let's not forget her... I mean what a professional! She sets the
tone for the entire film!
about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
so stressed out I would say the atmosphere was survival haha. We had so
much fun and when you are doing a film like Almost
Amazing, things can
happen at all turns. The late Reno Rankins help cast the film and
sometimes he would suggest someone for a role two days before and we would
roll with it. It was like going back to college! Miss it already L
$64-question of course, where can Almost
Amazing be seen?
Itunes, Amazon Video on Demand,
DirectTv, Fandango Now, and Wal Mart January 28, 2018!
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of your movie yet?
been great is people have watched the film and no one has felt it was
predictable. I love how audiences love my unconventional style. It's almost
Wes Anderson-esque. As in you watch the film and don’t realize what or
why but somehow you had a good time. You were connected and that’s all I
want as an artist. To be heard and to be engaging.
future projects you'd like to share?
The 13th Friday is available now on
iTunes, Vudu, Hulu, and will
hit Redbox early next year - http://apple.co/2g7zDue
The Elf will be released November 7,
2017 on itunes, Vudu, Amazon, and all VOD platforms and DVD December!
Working on a TV series called Reapers with Khu and Cameron White. My
company Pikchure Zero Entertainment will begin filming in November for
that television series. Conundrum Secrets Among Friends is being
written and produced by Shaun Cairo of Shakir Entertainment, he is also my
manager. I am working closely on producing that film and we are scheduled
to begin principle photography next dummer. If You’re Gone
directed by the incomparable Brittany Daniels is in post-production and it
stars Masey Mclain and Desiree Ross. It is a film based off her award
winning book of the same name. Khu will be directing her second feature
film as well, an untitled sci-fi project.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
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The links below
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website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
excited to be producing alongside Shaun Cairo the upcoming film
Conundrum: Secrets Amongst Friends starring Parker Mckenna Posey,
Cameron Bright, and Jo Marie Payton. Also looking forward to our
Television series Reapers! I am excited to be working with my producing
partner Khu and she will usurp me as an even greater tour de force. Deanna
Grace Congo and David Cazares are in the midst of producing Forsaken 2! I
am excited for the projects Pikchure Zero Entertainment
have on the
for the interview!