Tuesday, May 24, 2022

‘Dope’ Cast Talk Inspiration, Race and Making a ‘Hood Classic’ (exclusive)

dope, dope l.a. premiere,
DOPE L.A. Premiere (l-r: Kimberly Elise, Chanel Iman, Rick Famuyiwa, Shameik Moore, Kiersey Clemons, Tony Revolori, Quincy Brown)

*A critical hit and audience favorite at the Sundance Film Festival and an official selection of the Cannes International Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight, director Rick Famuyiwa’sDope is a coming-of-age teenage comedy reminiscent of “Boys n the Hood.

In “Dope,” Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic interviews, and the SAT. A chance invitation to an underground party leads to an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek, to being dope, to ultimately being himself.

We chatted with Moore and his “Dope” co-stars, (Kiersey ClemonsTony Revolori, Blake AndersonChanel ImanQuincy Brown and Kap G), about everything from character preparation, race relations in America and the overuse of the n-word in the film.

“I don’t know if I had a problem with it (using the n-word). It wasn’t necessarily the most fun,” Blake Anderson said. “I don’t use the word in my everyday life. But I heard enough hip hop songs that I knew how to say it correctly.”

During an interview at Sundance, Anderson said that while filming he was aiming to make a “Hood Classic” – so we asked, with all the buzz surrounding the film, if he thinks they are on course to achieving just that:

“I think we have a chance, fingers crossed. Time will tell but I think the movie is good enough to be called a classic,” Blake said.

The cast explained that they watched hood classics such as  “Menace II Society” & “Boys in the Hood” to prepare for their characters. Listen below to their hilarious exchange where Kiersey Clemmons reveals how she was inspired by her roommate (who is a guy) – and co-star Tony Revolori’s “Cholo bounce” – to prepare for her role as Malcolm’s gay, tomboy best friend, Diggy.

Shameik Moore admitted that it was a bit difficult breaking character after shooting wrapped:

“Yeah, cause naturally I’m a nice person. I have a lot in common with Malcolm in all the positive ways. So going home, I think I definitely got a little nicer than I was before,” he jokingly said.

Listen to his full response below:

“Dope” is an enriching experience, a simple story but complex in many ways. We asked the cast if they understood’s Rick Famuyiwa’s vision from the beginning, or if the director had to break it down during filming. Have a listen to Kiersey’s ‘drop mic’ response:

When asked if, while filming, did they expect the film to come out at such a racially tense moment in America, Tony replied:

“When hasn’t it been a racially tough moment.” – with Blake adding, “I think this movie addresses the subject well because it does come from a place that’s not too preachy.”

Listen to their full response below:

Model Chanel Iman strips down for her big screen debut, and gives an amazing performance as Lily, the dopehead sister of Quincy Brown’s character (Fidel). Listen as Chanel talks about being comfortable in front of the camera nude, and why she accepted the insane role.

Brown and newcomer Kap G are scene stealers as threatening gangsters. Brown, the son of 80’s R&B singer Al. B. Sure, revealed how aspects of his own life helped him prepare for the role.

“He’s similar to me in the sense of that he loves music and he wants to be this music guy, he has a wealthy family – father is powerful, so I was able to add a couple of those things but me personally, I’m not too much of gangster type. I’m not threatening or intimidating like that but I know a lot of people who are that, and I know a lot of people who try to be that, so I had to look at them and mesh the two, Quincy said.

“My family is very proud of me,” rapper Kap G said. “I’m gonna go with my mom and dad to the theaters to watch it. They haven’t seen it yet.”

“Dope” opens nationwide June 19.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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