Jen White, Jeremy Harris, Jeremy Oh Harris discussed on 1A



I'm jen white in washington in october. Twenty fifteen asia's zola. Wells fired off a threat of one hundred forty eight tweets. It was later known by. Its hashtag the story you want to hear stories about how mean be feared bailout it kinda long but his felicisimo missy elliott salons knowles and millions of other rap twitter users quickly pushed the saga into trending territory at the time rolling stone called the epic tale of strippers sex. Work and foul play quote. Spring breakers meets pulp fiction and they weren't the only ones who latched onto it cinematic potential. The threat has now been adapted into a feature film from director. Genetics bravo and screenwriter. Jeremy harris best known for his off broadway production slave play but getting it from the very small screen to the very big screen was a saga all. Its own here to tell us more. Zola's co writer. jeremy oh harris. He's also a. Tony nominated playwright jeremy. Welcome hi lovely to be here. I'm so excited. And also with us. The threads original author asia zola king formerly asia wells sola. Thanks for joining us for having need so jerry. You were the first person to try to bring this story to screen. James franco was hired to direct the project. Back in two thousand sixteen working off a totally different script. Actor taylor page. Who plays in both versions. Call that iteration quote inherently racist and sexist talk us through the script you inherited in in why you think. The project needed a reboot. Well i feel very lucky. That genetics Feel comfortable bringing the on with her. Because jake several very close friends and i love to say. Is genetics care so much about this project that and protecting it and putting the right people in the room at the right times that even though during her audition process to become director and co writer of this movie. I told her i don't know if the headaches are worth it. I think you should do another project. She's still said. I have to do it because i think i'm the only person who will protect this woman. The way she needs to be protected and she's still invited me to do it once she got it. And you know one of the things i think made it very easy to pick me that i had a sensibility that was very similar to hers. And that sensibility was one wherein upon reading that script we both felt that we knew that the audience for that script would be very large. It was a movie that was made for the twenty-five thirty five year old white male demographic that sort of run cinema right there the reason why f- like Fast nine is one of the biggest movies in america. This weekend but Genetics ibos solve the things they did. And we said if this was the movie those playing the cinema. We wouldn't see it. So how can we make a movie that would play in the cinema and that movie would be a movie that would see sex work as not something untoward that would see sex work at something that was as mundane as any other job right and see the story of the story that was about not Some rock is girls trip with like you know breast and like stripping but actually a really complicated story of a nineteen year old girl who was traumatized after falling in love with the girl that she thought maybe her new best friend right and and seeing that friendship taking advantage of manipulated. So this movie is is your story. What do you think about the various rewrites rights. it's compro- while the first version of this story. i. I absolutely hated it. actually I don't know i like lost faith at that point. I was like this is not the story that i wrote. This is not experience that i had. I just couldn't see myself in it or relate to on in. I knew that. If that's how i felt that's definitely how you know the people who have basically been on this journey with me were going to feel in so i essentially it was just like. I don't even think i really wanna do this anymore. And then just divine intervention in divine timing because everything not put on on pause and our director step down in those writers kinda went with him and you they say everything happens for a reason because the bat plates the conversation really started to to switch in a twenty four came about genetics came about jeremy came and then everything finally started to feel like by my experience. Again with those. Who haven't read the story. Can you just give us a very brief synopsis. Of what happens to that original twitter thread. I was a waitress in the daytime inch different night a medic girl who also says she was a stripper In our hometown in so she. She asked me about dance with her one day. Like of course we just connected in that way. We exchange numbers. She call me the next day she inviting the florida. He said that she had gone there today. As made lots of money on rag on their dave's made money money. So why not right. So i go on this road trip with them them being her her boyfriend and her roommate or who she told me was her her roommate in when we get there. I just quickly find out that you know it was. It was a lie and she acted as bait or a lure for for her roommate. Or and you know he just wanted to to make money. They never really intended for us to dance the whole weekend. It was more of a sex trafficking situation and Yeah i wrote about high kinda maneuver my way through that. Now i got home. You know by being the smartest person in the room. Essentially jeremy talk about the the process and the challenge of taking what started as a twitter thread and turning that into a feature length movie. I mean again. I talk a lot about this. A mainly because i am both a barbed and a little monster. And so you'll hear me sort of like quote both lady gaga nicki minaj like inter The in the middle of conversations. Like i'm quoting the bard or something and you know one of the things that i think about a lot in this process. Is that quote. That lady gaga said a lot on the tour of stars born. Which was that one hundred people in the room but there would have been. There could have only been like one other person in this room. One hundred people that like saw the movie the way i saw it and i just happened to be in a room that day with john nixon. We both saw it the same way. And that was that the pros that asia road over like a hundred forty eight tweets was more like epic poetry than anything else right and if you look at it like that and you take a share knowledge of the theater because you of the theater artists and i'm a theater artist i you can go back to the greeks. You can go back to the beginnings of western culture and say put put a of an annotation by each of these tweets and it looks like homer right and if you do that then. It's very easy to see how you adapt it. Because we've had thousands of those adaptations you know since the beginning of western literary tradition and so that was the methodology that we went to Figuring out the story The be it structure right in. Asia is one of the best structuralist. I've seen That's why her story is the story that we remember from twitter in all of the moments on twitter that have happened. Hers is one of the only major things that we remember consistently as a group right and that's because of her first actress second actor or third extra strong so the outline was there and all we had to do was read deeply into the themes themes to truly know what she was getting at. And i think that would nixon. I both fell upon. Was that what she was trying to tell us through humor right through these genres that queer people that women that a black people have used in literature since they picked up a pin and started writing their stories down Was she was saying i. I do not have a genre for my trauma right. The only genre. I have is keep listening right and so we had to take the trauma that was there that she was a nineteen year. Old girl right. Who was tricked by her friend to go into a to go onto a trip that was going to promise lots of fun in lots of money and was found out while she was there that she was actually being sold into sex slavery and so we wanted to take that trauma and look at it.

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