Your new movie Red Pill
- in a few words, what is it about?
is a point of view
I've never seen on screen - a black women's perspective on the horror
that is American politicals.
From what I know, Red
Pill is your first feature film as a director - so what made you
choose exactly this story for your debut?
had been shadowing as a director in TV for three years and was
no closer to getting hired to direct anything. I decided to finance
my own movie. The movie I wanted to make was afrofuturistic. My
collaborators became unavailable
and in July 2019 I was sitting in my friend Kim Syke's house
discussing the mass shooting at the garlic festival. Kim's
house felt like a house for a horror movie. Our conversation
and her dismissal of the mass shootings combined with her
saying I could use her house to shoot a horror film made it a done
deal. I wanted to talk about how I knew the election was going to go
in 2020 the same way I knew it was going to go in 2016. Different
results but I understood the ramifications, In 2016 people treated
me with contempt for knowing the outcome. So instead of talking I
decided to create.
supremacist cult, was this always a key element when conceiving the idea
for your movie, or did that only sneak into the script during writing?
cult was there from the beginning. I'd done a lot of research in the meta
verse and also been reading about scatalogical rites. I don't think
the Democrats or the Republicans are any good and I wanted to show
that through action vs talk which is how I see the two parties.
sources of inspiration when writing Red
Get Out and Midsommar and all the comedy horrors I love.
What can you tell us about Red
Pill's approach to horror?
it is smart and black, rather nerdy. Black people get it and smart
people get it. There are lots questions to answer and puzzles to
solve. Plus I am saying unspeakables,
things blacks think and feel but only say to one another. It's also
my specific taste. I like humor with tragedy. The darker it gets the
funnier it has to get. Richard Pryor is an inspiration "When
you're running down the street on fire people will get out of the
way," referring to the time he set himself on fire freebasing.
I also consciously wanted to make white people uncomfortable
the way I as a black person have felt uncomfortable about the images
of my people my entire life.
A few words about
your directorial approach to your story at hand?
approach? Hire great actors. Do every job that I couldn't
afford to hire or find a volunteer for.
also play one of the leads in Red
Pill - so what can you tell us about Cassandra, what did you draw
upon to bring her to life, and have you written her with yourself in mind
from the get-go?
for the mythological women who is cursed to forever speak the
truth and never be believed. That is the story of most black
women's lives in America.
Yes it is very personal for me. I wrote it for myself because
I didn't have to pay myself. Ha ha I thought it was
an ensemble piece but Minji Kang our editor showed me that it
was Cass's story.
Do talk about the rest of your cast,
and why exactly these people?
know I've written a 75,000 word book Red Pill Unmasked telling lots
of stories and background on everything. It's available on
Amazon and the audible should be available soon too. I wrote
for people whose voices I hear in my head that fulfill the themes
and qualities I'm playing with. I also write for actors that I
have access to. I don't use casting directors or go through agents
wanted the world of the movie to look like my world. My friends
come from all walks of life. Latino/Indigenous - Rubén Blades, Eastern
European - Luba Mason. They just happened to be married. Caribbean/British-
Adesola A. Osakalumi. Kathryn Erbe called me after reading the script and
said "Thank you for inviting me to play this terrible
A few words about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
days, I was catering for the first two cooking. It snowed on our
final day of shooting so we had to relocate scenes. Only four
professionals on the crew; John Hudak jr - DP, Steven Franchek - AC,
Gunnar Nagle- sound, second week of production Danielle
Paiwonsky - script supervisor. Everyone just helped everyone with
everything. We had so little time and money. One day the van got
trapped in the mud and twelve of us had to push it out. The rest of
our crew was friends and family working on their first film set.
$64-question of course, where can Red
Pill be seen?
Vimeo (TVOD): https://vimeo.com/ondemand/redpillmovie
Vudu (TVOD): https://www.vudu.com/content/movies/details/Red-Pill/1891550
Microsoft/Xbox (TVOD): https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/red-pill/8d6kgwxn6bdm
SpectrumOn Demand: https://ondemand.spectrum.net/movies/20920770/red-pill/
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of Red
falls along racial lines. The biggest hate comes from white people
but not all white people. Smart white people really like
it because they get all the metaphor and symbology. They don't think
it's satire. They understand irony. And 90% of black people
LOVE IT and watch it more than once. The calls and emails and tweets
form black people is why I made the movie. I wanted us to be seen and
heard and to know that somebody in the business understands how we
see the world.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
Red Pill Unmasked - kindle, paperback, audible
REd Pill Twine game
of the Movement - ABC/HULU
Chicago Strangler - narrator (Discovery)
got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
studied the Meisner method from the time I was 15. William H. Macy
was my first professional acting coach. John Mahoney was in class
My readers would probably tar
and feather me if I didn't ask you about your involvement with Fear the
Walking Dead - so could you talk about working on that series for a
bit, and how did you even get the part?
YES, when I met my agent Pete Kaiser I said anything zombie! I got
it from a self tape. My teenage son was the reader. Ian and Andrew
write scenes just for auditions. It was an amazing scene. I sent it
in and didn't hear back for months. It is the highlight of my
You've also done
a long stretch on the soap All My Children - so do talk about your
involvement with that series, and how does acting in a daily soap compare
to working on a movie?
was the number one AMC audience in America. I grew up watching
AMC and dreamed of being in Pine Valley.
Soap operas are more like theater, you can perform with a bigger style. Episodic
and movies are small scale even smaller than life.
Any other films or TV series
you've worked on you'd like to talk about?
of The Movement, which is The Roots of this generation. I play
Emmett Till's grandmother Alma Carthan, with Adrienne Warren as
Mamie Till, Cedric Joe as Emmett and Ray Fisher as Gene Mobley
How would you
describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to bring your
story to life?
think I channel in all of my creative work. I empty myself
and let something move in through and as me. I let go of the outcome.
I'm not afraid to fail or do it wrong. In fact if there is no
risk of failure I'm not interested in the opportunity.
enjoy the roller coaster of life emotions. I know how to take people
on that ride. The audience is a scene partner and in every role I
play I want to make an audience dislike my character because it so
much deeper when I then make them see themselves in my
character. If they can find compassion for my character they can
find it for themselves.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Actresses, filmmakers, whoever else who
just died, Lina Wurtmueller, Jane Campion, Jennifer Kent.
Your favourite movies?
Full Metal Jacket, Return of The Living Dead with
Clu Gallagher, The
Babadook, Three Idiots.
and of course, films you really deplore?
don't deplore much except stupid. And making a movie requires so much
work. I respect anyone who can accomplish the task.
social media, whatever else?
Anything else you're dying
to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
love horror, tell your story, build a world and don't try to
please anyone but yourself. There will be other people who share
your point of view and it's thrilling when you meet them through
their experience of your work.
for the interview!