The stories that I’m attracted to tell a tale of a human being who undergoes change. The first thing that popped into my mind is Hal Ashby because those stories are very unique, and they’re humans that are a little bit lost, and I’m really interested in what propels us forward.
The movie that really made me want to understand what the relationship was between the text and the screen is The Godfather. And that’s very interesting because Michael Corleone does change, only he changes for the worst. There’s just something so profound about being who we are and then stepping forward and having an understanding because we’re sentient beings, and knowing we want to get from point A to Point B whether it’s physically, emotionally, mentally, whatever that is. And then taking that step, to me, that’s really what’s exciting. The stories that we tell ourselves about how we do that, how we succeed at doing that, how we fail at doing that.
I learned how to make movies from John Singleton, because when I read Boyz N The Hood, I felt that that movie had to get out into the world. His gaze was so important because he knew that story. He knew those kids, those adults, he knew the outcomes. And no one else in the Hollywood circle, besides me, because I went to school in Inglewood, knew what that was. And so my job was to protect him from all of them while giving him all that he needed to make it the best that he could be. And so the way that I saw myself, and the way that I still see myself, is a protector of that authentic vision but with enhancements so that you can get it out into the world.
Even if somebody from outside the culture takes a piece of material and interprets it from their point of view, the material is the living breathing thing and it can be recaptured. It can be retold. Even though film is fixed, there’s multiple voices that need to be out there to counter any outside influence that wants to prescribe who we are or how we should be.