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New York, Harlem, Kiki Lane discussed on All of It


WNYC. I'm Alison Stewart Rebecca Barry Jenkins and KiKi lane. We're talking about the new film if feel street could talk it's an adaptation of James Baldwin novel. And very understand that once you got permission to do this from the estate, you actually were able to see some notes that James Baldwin had made about the film about who we thought might be the director cinematographer at actors, can you share some of the notes. Yeah. You know, he was riffing on ideas for directors also an ideal cast, and then you had actually begun to write like the first couple of pages of the script. And if this was after I had already written multiple drafts of the screenplay. So it was nice to look at the notes he had made and see that we had made him the same choices, which was to have the voice over spoken and tissues voice to certain scenes. Yeah. It was really really cool and the of director. The he had made was just shocking because ultimately, I ended up being the person to direct the film Gordon park. Yeah. It was Gordon parks. Lloyd, Richards, Francois Truffaut and Louis mall where his. Barry jenkins. Does it something? I really think is interesting about the film's as somebody. Who who did? I saw it last night was I'm interested how you to work together on this so much of the acting as reaction e I understand action. It's like you go there, and you do this and you're feeling this. How'd you direct somebody when they need to react? And then KiKi he was an actor when you're thinking about reacting. How do you go about that process started Yuki? I mean, reacting is acting as you should I mean for the most part, you're always responding to something some circumstance something that your partner is giving giving you like every action that we take is in response to something. I just think I had to learn that my responses just couldn't quite be as big or just recognizing how I keep may respond to something versus how Tisch response, but berry was. Great about advocate. How did you help her navigate that? No. I mean for me, it's just about making the actress comfortable on the set and also being very clear with them that even if you're not on you're on. And if you're giving something that they can trust that I'm going to be mindful about actually receiving it. You're capturing it with the Cameron. And so I think also too especially with Bill street, you know, because the the other two films are now behind it. I think the actress come into the experience knowing and understanding the yeah. As you said, it these reactions these moments where the dialogue is paused or drifted away for a bit. And the actress was being that those things are as important to me. That's what I they're saying words, Casto nuts and bolts questions takes place in New York. Fani lives not too far from where we are right now. He lives on Bank street. Did you film in the city? We did we did we filmed for twenty six days in New York, and then five days in the DR in one day in LA were the interiors the day. Yes. No. We only we only have one day in LA. It was only it was an interior. But but not not the way you thinking, we did most all the interiors here in New York's be honest, I'm some up on stage in Yonkers, but then also we found a Brownstone in Harlem that was being demoted in an opera designer Mark Friedberg who's born and raised in New York. He took all this stuff back to air quotes code to make it feel period appropriate to the early seventies. But also an apartment that wasn't built a night in the early nineteen seventies. But that had been drifting through all these generations. When I said, you film in New York you nodded emphatically. What was that why? Because I just think that was so important. I mean, I feel like New York in especially Harlem is like another character in the film like so it was such a Alan I'm so thankful for just how the entire production team came around to create this world, you know? So that even though I don't I don't know what it was like growing up in the seventies. But just with the costumes and set design and just everything like. It just all came together. And it just had to be in New York. There's so much texture to New York in the seventies. You know, it's sort of greedy. But also, also beautiful. You know what I mean? How did you? What did you wanna capture about New York in the seventies? Especially in New York for black folks in the seventies. We wanted to really try to capture the feeling, you know, I don't know that our budget allowed us to really replicate in on the way the city looks in nineteen seventy two seventy three, but we made two choices one that the interiors will carry all that patina. And then to that we wanted to create a New York that was the landscape of faces in a certain way. I'm is why the closer. So prominent in the film, you know, this was the time in the city's history, especially up in Harlem, where you know, the public services utilities and things like that just weren't as kind to black folks, you know, as they were two other more Tony parts of the city. And so we found with a lot of visual research. Lot of these still photos, and this is really simple scene where Titian father you're walking down the sidewalk and the cameras pushing behind them and it just drifts to the left. You see these kids jumping up and down. Down or like, a rusted out car, you know, the city wouldn't come and take, you know, these cars, these things are all these vacant laws that was filled with with trash with with refuse and the kids would make playgrounds outta them in so wherever we could find things like that. They're very simple and grounded. We tried to bring them into the film to reflect the world of Harlem in the early nineteen seventies. There's also a fairytale quality about it. And I thought especially in your costume and KiKi that that yellow is very Disney Princess yellow with the Cape. Got these great capes tell me about what it's like for you as an actor when you put.

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