Saturday, June 22, 2024

Lil Rel on Similarities in Coming of Age Story ‘We Grown Now’ | WATCH

*The new Sony Pictures Classic film, “We Grown Now,” is a poignant narrative capturing the essence of childhood in Chicago’s Cabrini Green in the early 90s. The film takes viewers on a journey through the lives of two 10-year-olds, Malik (Blake Cameron Jones) and Eric (Gian Knight Ramirez), as they navigate the complexities of friendship amidst the challenges of urban life. The film also stars Jurnee Smollett and Milton “Lil Rel” Howery as Jason, Eric’s father.

As a Chicago native, Howery seeks to see Chicago presented in a true and honest light. In an interview with us, he shared insight into the project and its significance to the soul of Chicago.

'We Grown Now' (2023/Sony Pictures Classics)
‘We Grown Now’ (2023/Sony Pictures Classics)

“It meant a lot,” Howery expressed, reflecting on his involvement in the film. “I’m always trying to find projects that give Chicago some honesty.”

“We Grown Now” pays homage to the real families of Chicago’s old housing projects, Cabrini Green.

Howery emphasized the importance of truthfully portraying these communities, steering away from stereotypes, and showcasing their resilience and beauty.

“Even within the tragedy that happens in the movie, I still think it’s very beautiful,” Howery remarked, highlighting the film’s focus on family and connections.

Lil Rel Howery 'We Grown Now' (2023/Sony Pictures Classics)
Lil Rel Howery ‘We Grown Now’ (2023/Sony Pictures Classics)

The choice to set the film in 1992 holds particular significance, resonating with Howerys’ own experiences growing up in Chicago during that era. “That was the time when I saw my parents start giving us speeches about growing up,” he recalled, noting the rise of gang activity and shifting societal dynamics.

Through the character of Jason, a single father grappling with raising his children in Cabrini Green, Howery drew parallels between Jason’s struggles and his reflections on fatherhood, acknowledging the evolution of parental roles over the years.

“It made me understand how different things are,” Howery reflected. “The importance of affection and communication in my relationships with my children.”

'We Grown Now' (2023/Sony Pictures Classics)
‘We Grown Now’ (2023/Sony Pictures Classics)

Central to the film’s authenticity is its meticulous attention to detail, particularly in recreating the look, feel, and atmosphere of Cabrini Green. Howery marveled at the set design, which he said faithfully captured the essence of the homes, from the towering buildings to the intricate nuances of childhood play.

“They built Cabrini Green in a studio,” Howery marveled.

“We Grown Now” debuts in theatres on April 19.

Jill Munroe is a Los Angeles-bred entertainment journalist, producer, and host. You can follow her on all social media @StilettoJill or check out

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