John Singleton, Los Angelesjohn Singleton discussed on The Frame

The Frame


The filmmaker John singleton died today at the age of fifty one. He suffered a stroke on April seventeenth and today. He was taken off life support singleton burst on the scene in nineteen Ninety-one with boys in the hood, one of the first films to capture the reality of young men living in south Los Angeles at that time. We always trying to find some excuse to shoot some five. What to give shuttle turn? Shown a horn. The shed you'd be doing it to one of the film's co-stars was ice cube who'd been a member of the group NWEA between NWEA's album straight outta Compton and singleton's film with its rap. Heavy soundtrack, hip, hop culture. Became firmly established in American culture, the movie was released by Sony Pictures and grossed nearly sixty million dollars at the time. A stunning return for a film made by and starring African Americans singleton was the first African American to receive in Academy Award nomination for directing and at the age of twenty four the youngest to be nominated for original screenplay singleton went on to work on a variety of projects in film and television, including as executive producer of the 2017 documentary LA burning the riots twenty-five years later, joining me to talk about John singleton is Franklin Leonard. He's the founder of the blacklist. It's an annual compilation of the top screenplays that are not yet produced Franklin. Thank. For hopping on the phone. We're Shirley joining you under some circumstances. But I guess we should start by singleton only directed boys in the hood. He also wrote it screenplay, and there's a story that he was offered a lot of money to have someone else directed. What was the story? You know? I obviously have no direct knowledge of it. I was thirteen when the movie came out. But what I've read as recently as today that he was and he said that he was not gonna have somewhat from and I quote, Idaho or Encino, directing the story of these young black men in south LA, and what I was twenty two at the time when he made that decision. I think it speaks to the thing that for me defined John which was sort of unwillingness to see anybody tell the stories, but the people who knew from whence, they came, and I think that that was a relatively new phenomenon in this business along with Spike Lee who had done she's gotta have it. Just a few years prior. And I think it defined his career. It was one of the many reasons why I admired him, it's frankly, a bit confusing that he's gone what stands out for you about the writing in that script. What was he able to do that was so authentic? I just think that it was offensive, and it felt like these were people that I knew or that I could have known, and they were three dimensional and complicated and had wants and needs. And, you know, at the time that was not something that was terribly present in the film, or or film culture of this industry. And I think that it was the beginning of that becoming more common. And I think that it's it's staggering to think that the person who was a part of that beginning was only fifty one years old in two thousand nineteen and is now no longer with us at the time that boys in the hood came out in Hollywood there were. Hardly, any black directors working, and certainly even fewer who other chance to make studio films. Do you think his success with that movie created an opportunity for other filmmakers who followed? Even if it still taking a long time for a lot of people writing checks to get on board, undeniably, I think that his he had open doors because it meant that that's excess was possible. But I think even more than that she represented for those of us who, you know, even considered a career in this business that it was possible. And that you could do it in an uncompromising way without sacrificing who you are and the stories that you wanted to tell I, you know, I'd be hard pressed to think of a single black filmmaker working in Hollywood today for whom boys didn't have a profound impact in terms of what was possible. And I think he and spike and and a few others where the harbingers at the beginning of a move. In that direction. And and I know I personally will forever be grateful. The other thing that I think is notable that John singleton worked with a lot of musicians, including ice cube and two bucks a couture, particularly in boys in the hood. He curated a soundtrack that really reflected. The sounds of Los Angeles at the time. What do you think about his collaboration with musicians and how he incorporated their stories and their lyrics into the movies? He was making. Speaks to again, the authenticity of the stories that he was telling those cultural environments don't exist without the music, but also defines them, and I think that he was bringing, you know, the music of the culture into the film culture into the broader culture, you know, I think that it raise the awareness of artists, and it raised the awareness of of that culture to a broader world that has since embraced it. But you know, he was early in that regard. You mentioned you were thirteen when boys in the hood came out. Do you remember watching it for the first time, and what it felt like to see it? I do. I mean, I was living in west central Georgia. But it definitely it felt real in a way that other movies that were telling different stories felt and it felt good to see a film that had people that look like me and my family, you know, forty feet high and theater just wasn't. Something that you could do walk into a movie theater and see a story like that. And I think that it continued whether it was politic Justice or higher learning or or rosewood telling the stories of African American history that had never been told on screen before he was doing something that no one else was doing at the time that he was doing it. And it's I don't know. Like, I said, it it is profoundly confusing that he is no longer here. And at fifty one I'm frankly morning the things that we will never get from him. A consequence

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