He plays Priest, a drug dealer trying to score one last big deal before retiring from a life of crime and they play his girlfriends, Georgia and Cynthia, the yin and yang who each come from two very different backgrounds. With the DVD/ blu-ray release of “Superfly” hitting the shelves, Samantha Ofole-Prince catches up with cast members Trevor Jackson, Lex Scott Davis and Andrea Londo.
This is a remake of the 1972 classic film, which starred Ron O’Neal as a stylish Harlem drug pusher and it was one of the most successful films of the early ’70s blaxploitation cycle. What sort of feedback have you individually received from fans of the original since the remake released in June?
TJ: There has been nothing but 60 year-olds who loved the original telling me they loved it and a lot of people say it was better than the original, but that wasn’t our goal to make it better, but to make a different version.
AL: The original is a very different type of movie. This is just more modern and there is no way you can’t enjoy it and people have really embraced it.
LSD: I haven’t had anything negative. The original was great and fantastic for when it came out but the original would have never worked today. So we had to make it new and fresh and vibrant and the writing was spectacular and women written way stronger.
Director X, who helmed this film is known in the music video world having crafted music videos for artists such as Usher, Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna. Had you heard of him prior to making the movie and what was your impression of him?
TJ: I knew of him because of my own music background and he is one of those guys who is focused and always trying to stretch himself and I think that is the key to any great genius person.
AL: I didn’t know anything about Director X at all, but the fact that Joel Silver who produced this film would want to work with a specific director for this movie, I knew he was someone I could trust.
LSD: I knew him as he did the first commercial I did when I moved to Los Angeles and we have both grown since the first time we worked together. I knew his artistic eye and trusted him so much.
If you could go back and film “Superfly” all over again, would you change anything? What would you want to do differently?
TJ: I wish I could have been shooting guns and been able to avenge Andrea’s death.
AL: I would have liked certain things to be different, but you just need to trust people around you. It comes out a certain way that is the way it comes out.
LSD: I wouldn’t change anything. When you make a movie, you watch yourself and you give yourself constructive criticism so that the next picture you shoot you will be even better.
After filming, have you ever found yourself picking up some habits that relate to a character you’ve played and did you pick up any habits from your character in Superfly?
TJ: I think with everything I have done I do a little bit. It was dope to go into someone I wasn’t with Priest and be the observer and now I have done that, there are moments in my life where I know how to access that. Just like anything, you never know till you do it and then you use it when it works for you. I definitely feel like I took that part of the role of being quiet and laid back like Priest was.
LSD: For me, I take things I learned about my process as well as watching my co-stars process that I can now apply to my next opportunity.
AL: There are lot of things about the character Cynthia that made me grow as an actress, but at the same time I was ready to have a break from it. You change after every single job and it is not only because of the character, but your entire experience as a whole. Your experience onset and this movie made me a stronger actress for reasons that are not entirely about the role, but the experience as a whole how it was shot and how fast. Plus it is my first studio release.
Trevor, you are known for the role on “Grown-ish” and “American Crime Story,” Lex, there’s been the television adaptation of Antoine Fuqua’s “Training Day” and other projects and Andrea, you are a regular on the television series “Narcos.” What do you all love most about acting and why is it your passion?
TJ: I think I am a very dramatic person in general and as you go through life you harden up and feel that you have to be a certain way. Acting is the one time you can really let go of all of that and access parts of yourself that you silence as you get older. It is a powerful thing and that is why I love doing it. I also love watching movies. Growing up, it was like a requirement and I had to watch movies and me loving that process I wanted to be the guy in the movie.
AL: I have always been a very emotional person, but as I have gotten older I have learned to control it a little better. I grew up in a Mexican household in Mexico and the culture there is way more conservative and I just always wanted to express myself and explore things other people thought were wrong. When I was 18, I moved to Los Angeles as I knew this is what I wanted to do. I feel like at the end of work that I have been in a kind of therapy as you explore yourself as you are pretending to be mad or sad all day. I feel maybe it is because I am emotional.
LSD: Similar to a dance, which is my background, it is performance and I really enjoy it. I love the fact that it is timeless and I really think it is fascinating that people can live through these films and shows as they will literally exist forever. The fact that we are all ’90s babies, but we know how Marilyn Monroe looks and sounds and walks and talks I think is so fascinating. For generations, we will all exist in Superfly or whatever project we do and our great, great, great grandchildren will be able to watch this one day and that is awesome as there is something really historic about acting.
“Superfly” releases on Digital HD and Movies Anywhere on August 28, and will be available on Blu-ray/DVD on September 11. Jason Mitchell, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rick Ross and Esai Morales also star in the film, which comes with two music videos and three featurettes: “Trap Talk: The Music,” “Director X Scene Breakdown,” and “Superfly: The Remix.”
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a Los Angeles based journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news/ Photos by Eric Charbonneau