As a teenager, writer-director Rick Famuyiwa, the son of Nigerian immigrants, never imagined that his experiences living in a tough Los Angeles-area neighborhood high school would someday inspire one of the most buzzed about films of the year. But that’s exactly what happened to the creator of the Sundance hit “Dope” which was filmed on location in and around his old stomping grounds of Inglewood, California. “Growing up in Inglewood was pivotal for me in terms of shaping who I am,” he says. “For better or worse, your environment defines you, so for ‘Dope’, it was really important for me to revisit that world.”
Shannon LaNier Arise TV
Famuyiwa who made an autobiographically based film called “The Wood” which became a box office success in 1999 says this time he wanted to re-examine the place he grew up for a new generation. “Dope’ is like ‘Risky Business’ for the social-media generation,” he continues. “Through a series of crazy circumstances, Malcolm and his friends have to figure out a way to get out of a bad situation. He does it very much the way a kid of today would think and he comes out on top at the end because of his ambition to succeed.”
Actor Marcus T. Paulk
Open Road hosted a series of small, private screenings of “Dope” in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles, just days before the film releases on Friday. In Atlanta, local celebs and cast members of “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” gathered at Regal Atlantic Station to catch the much-buzzed-about film. Attendees included Keri Hilson; “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” cast members Mimi Faust, WNBA Atlanta Dream guard Angel McCoughtry. In New York, the casts of “Love & Hip Hop: NY” and the hit web series “Money & Violence” came out to Bryant Park Hotel to support the film Attendees included Power 105’s Cherry Martinez and ARISE TV’s Shannon Lanier while in Los Angeles at the Landmark Theater West Pavilion, VIPs such as actresses Angel Conwell and Antonique Smith were in attendance.
Director Rick Famuyiwa
Produced by Forest Whitaker, executive producers are Pharrell Williams and Sean Combs serves as co-executive producer. The film releases Friday in U.S. theaters.
Samantha Ofole-Prince serves as the Senior Entertainment Editor for Trendy Africa. She covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. Photos by Milan Carter, Stephen Knight