It’s interesting that you talk about algorithms etc., because your creative company HitRECord is so prominent on social media. The feed is constantly trying to engage people, which seems like a big part of art now, to hold their attention.
JGL: Yeah, engagement is a funny word, right? Because one of my thinkers about this, Jaron Lanier, says that ‘engagement is just a euphemism for addiction.’ On HitRECord, we’re not just trying to engage, or get people to hit a button or scroll through more and more content to see more ads, we’re always trying to get people to be creative, and be creative together with other people. To me, that’s the optimistic view of what I hope the internet I think really can be, and really should be—a place for people who can accomplish things together that they may not have been able to on their own.
Dominique, you were talking about future projects—I was curious if you had a dream project, or a dream character? You can put it out there in the universe now.
DM: I used to really want to play Assata Shakur, but I think I’ve been in the ‘70s a bit long [laughs]. I did “The Deuce” and I did that Jay-Z video (“Smile”). And now I’m doing “Judas and the Black Messiah,” the Fred Hampton story. I think I would only want to do [the Shakur story] if she was involved, and I’d have to think about if I was being versatile. Not that they’re the same, but it kind of lends itself to a similar thing.
I’m a true romantic, I love “Romeo & Juliet.” I would love to play Juliet one day. On stage, and on film. That would be great.
Joseph, was it your idea for your character to wear the Steve Gleason jersey throughout the movie? What’s the story behind that?
It was not my idea, it was the filmmakers’ idea, Henry and Rel. But I really loved it, and I learned who Steve Gleason was. For those who don’t know, he was a football player for the New Orleans Saints, and is really a hero in that city. He’s paralyzed [due to Lou Gehrig’s Disease] but managed to overcome that adversity and help a lot of people. He came to our set. He can’t talk like you and I can, he has this machine that uses his eyes to select which words he wants to have the machine speak for him, and it really helps you not take things for granted. It’s a miracle to be able to talk, and how often do we give thanks for our ability to speak, you know? He’s a real reminder of that, and I admire him a great deal. I feel proud to bear his jersey throughout the film.
Available on Netflix on 8/14.
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