Thursday, May 30, 2013

How the Film 'Mother of George' Got Made

Danai Gurira in Mother of George
In February 2013 Tambay A. Obenson did an extensive interview with SimonSays Entertainment Founder & President Ron Simons & Producing Associate April Yvette Thompson for Shadow & Act. Below is an excerpt from their talk about Mother of George.


Tambay A. Obenson: With regards to Mother Of George; this is a whole other world for you, we could say. A first for you in terms of the part of the Diaspora that it focuses on. I like that you're moving around the Diaspora. And, with Andrew's background in Fashion photography, as well as Bradford Young's cinematography, I'm expecting a beautifully shot film, like their last collaboration, Restless City, but with a more conventional story line than Restless City's. Speak on how you got involved with Mother Of George, your interests in it, and your expectations for it?

Ron Simons - It was actually mentioned to me by Tanya Hamilton who said, Ron, you really need to read this script; it's called Mother Of George, and it's really, really, well-written. I was working on Gun Hill Road then, and didn't really have the time to get knee-deep into it. But eventually I read it, and when I read it, I thought, wow, it's an incredibly well-written story. And it also had to do with a part of the Diaspora that I wasn't very well familiar with, about an African immigrant. And the uniqueness of the storyline as well; although any well-told story could speak to universal human challenges. But for me, the fact that the story was so well written, and required so little tweaking and adjusting, really drew my attention to it. And the fact that Bradford Young was going to shoot it, also got my attention. I'm a huge fan of his work, like Andrew's Restless City, which was so beautifully dark. I actually went to see Restless City at Sundance that year, because we actually had the same sales rep for our films. One of the producers on Restless City was my line producer on Night Catches Us. And so there were some things that tied us and our projects together. So, at the end of the day, I read the script, fell in love with the script. I thought it was a story that had to be told. And when I was about to come on-board, and I learned that Danai [Gurira] was going to play the lead - Danai who I think is a gifted actress, with her own personal aesthetic, her background, her just natural raw talent - I just knew that this was definitely an amazing project to get involved with. So I wasn't all that surprised when Mother Of George made the [Sundance] competition because it is so beautiful, and the colors, the clothing, are so rich in texture, rich in color. Bradford seems to catch every single light, he picks up every single color in the spectrum. It's just really extraordinary to look at. Even if you don't have the sound on, or you're not even really sure what's going on as you're watching; just to watch the film - it's a work of artistry.

April Yvette Thompson - The script is beautifully written; when I read it, I said, a serious writer wrote thisA serious writer who writes novels. I knew Danai's work. She's a brilliant actress. So that certainly helped. And I'd never really seen this story; even though I had written about lives that are very similar to this. I'd never seen it told with as much integrity and complication, and the struggle of merging this totally western identity with *home.* This was a no-brainer.

Ron Simons - Also in reading it, I felt almost like a fly on the wall, or a peeping Tom into the world of these individuals. And I know Andrew and Darci [Picoult, the screenwriter] were able to give us the privilege of looking into the lives of real people; not archetypes; not stereotypes, but real people. It all feels real. You feel like you're really there.

Read the full interview here


I saw Mother of George in May 2013 and it is really as good as they say it is! Read my review at Shadow & Act here

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