*Walk through any “hood” and you’ll run into several things—crackheads, prostitutes, thugs, abandoned cars, chicken bones, pit bulls, and other riffraff. But you won’t find too many black magicians—it would be like running into a white guy who sells bootleg movies in Santa Monica.
That’s where screenwriter and director J.D. Dillard comes in. He and his writing partner joined forces to create “Sleight,” a film that follows the life of a young street magician named Bo (played by rising R&B sensation Jacob Latimore) who aspires to escape from an impoverished existence.
Last week, a few dozen moviegoers were invited to see the film during a private screening at the Regal L.A. Live Stadium (Downtown Los Angeles). The atmosphere was full of excitement and anticipation.
“We’re telling a science fiction story, we’re telling a crime story, we’re telling a love story, and we’re telling a magic story,” Dillard explained during a one-on-one interview with EURweb correspondent Cory Haywood.
“It was about making sure that we had enough time to service each of these individual pieces. It might not be the most original coming of age story, but for us sleight is about blending everything we love into the same movie.”
Bo spends his afternoons entertaining passersby with unique magic tricks and sleight of hand. But don’t compare him to David Blaine or Chris Angel—even these highly accomplished tricksters would struggle to duplicate Bo’s most amazing trick: moving inanimate objects without touching them.
Bo accomplishes this stunning feat by using a powerful device hidden under the sleeve of his t-shirt. The only drawback is that his special gadget is attached to his arm and over time has become embedded in his skin, causing him to experience occasional jolts of excruciating pain.
Escaping from the inner city is only one of Bo’s challenges. He also has a mortgage to cover and a younger sister to care for due to the passing of his mother and father. The financial pressures of being a grown up drives Bo into the arms of a local drug dealer (played by Dule Hill). As various bills pile up on his kitchen table, Bo reluctantly turns to dealing drugs at parties to support his sister. When she is kidnapped by his supplier — he uses his sleight of hand and keen intelligence to find her
The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2016. On January 28, 2016, WWE Studios and Blumhouse Tilt acquired distribution rights to the film. The film is scheduled to be released nationwide on April 28, 2017, by WWE Studios and Blumhouse Tilt.