Friday, March 16, 2012

News & Entertainment ‘Love Jones’ Creator Talks Directing E. Lynn Harris’ ‘Invisible Life’ + ‘Love Jones 2′?


Being one of the classic movies in black films, Love Jones celebrated its 15 year anniversary. Yes, 15 years! It doesn’t even seem like it has been that long but fans cannot get enough and still demand a sequel from writer and director Theodore Witcher.

In his debut, Witcher left us with a movie that helped portray another side of black culture. Since 1997, Loves Jones has had audiences craving black romantic films. Witcher seems to be current with the times a movement preparing to take on a film that deals with homosexuality in the black community.

Check out the interview between Witcher and the Urban Daily as he discussed his plans for Love Jones 2, black films and tackling homophobia in the black community.

How did it feel watching Love Jones again on the big screen?
Actually, I didn’t. I stayed for the first few minutes, and came back towards the end. It’s been so long, and the audience has seen it before, so it’s not like I’m getting the original reactions from people. Now it’s really about the pleasure of the familiarity. Your favorite scene’s coming up, your favorite line’s coming up. Over the years, your relationship with a movie changes tremendously.

There were complaints that Love Jones signaled the end of the spoken word movement, because everyone jumped on the bandwagon.
It’s the same thing as digging a rock band that no one else knows about other than you. Then when they became a hit, people say they’re a sellout because they’re a success. It’s the same phenomenon. People find a corner of a universe and once it expands, they don’t like it. My concern was more for the actual spoken word poets who wouldn’t think the poetry featured in the movie wasn’t good. If you lived in Brooklyn and going to Brooklyn Moon, that was the authentic ground zero shit. The spoken word in Love Jones would seem like a Hollywood version. I knew that, but I had to make it more accessible to a mass audience.

Last month, Larenz Tate and Nia Long tweeted a question to their followers “How would you feel about a Love Jones 2?” and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Would you consider directing a sequel?
Yes, we’ve discussed it. We’re working on it.

With The Help we had two black actresses (Viola Davis, Octavia) that were put front and center for award nominations. Would you consider The Help a black film?
Well, what qualifies a black film? Does it have to have a Black director? Norman Jewison who is White, directed A Soldier’s Story which has a predominantly black cast. The Help which is a mixed cast, is a story about the plight of black people. White novelist, White screenwriter, White director—is that a Black film? Probably not in the way most people mean it. If you mean like Do The Right Thing, then it’s not a Black film.

News dropped last year that you’re working on a film adaptation of E. Lynn Harris’ “Invisible Life.”
I’ve been working on that for the past year with Tracey Edmonds and some other folks. That’s still ongoing, there’s a script. It’s still a work in progress.

We had Pariah that dealt with lesbian themes, how receptive do you think the black viewing audience will be to Invisible Life?
We actually talked about that. I’m hoping they’ll be receptive. In my adaptation I took the fundamentals of the story and tried to make it as universal as possible. The main character is trying to be true to himself in an environment that won’t allow him to be. The setting takes place in the 90’s, almost 20 years ago and it was worse back then. It’s no secret that in segments of the black community there’s a certain amount of homophobia. I’m hoping we will join the 21st century and be on the right side of history and just look at the story from a human point of view.

Read more of the interview at Urban Daily

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