I attended today’s Contenders movie LA3C Event by the key people behind the hit epic lady kingwho was just named to the prestigious list AFI top 10 films of the year, It also garnered a rare A+ Cinemascore in its opening weekend in September, proving that it has not only received critical acclaim but audiences as well. Funnily enough, the story of a band of all-female African warriors defending their kingdom in the 1800s was turned down by every studio until the filmmakers got their nod from Sony’s TriStar Pictures. It was a smart move for the studio as it clearly has an Oscar contender.
Stars Viola Davis And thuso mabeduthe director Gina Prince-Bythewood And crash Oscar winner Cathy Schulman, who produce with Davis, all joined me to discuss the challenges and triumphs of bringing this film to the screen. When asked why getting the green light was difficult, Davis didn’t mince words.
“I think in general, making movies is difficult,” he told me. “I don’t want to feel like, you know, I’m cornering the market on the difficulties of getting movies to the screen, but you’re looking at a predominantly female-led film, very action-packed, where somehow doesn’t have a G-string and full makeup. And those women are predominantly dark skinned black women, I think there hasn’t been a precedent set for that. So I think its true on screen That’s what hinders progress. … It’s big, it’s epic, … it requires a lot of extrapolation. So I guess it covers the facts, but you know what? Let me tell you something: When you Driven by the passion of fulfilling the first dream that you saw when you fell in love with the work, you ride the horse that you do. Even if it was seven years, it was even two hours could have been done.
Schulman agreed that such epics are not normally in vogue in Hollywood. “Yeah, I mean, I think you know, we were dealing with a historical epic at a time when they haven’t been popular for a while, and although you can reference the greatest of all time Granted, it’s been a long time since there’s been a variety of movies and there’s been a trend toward fantasy movies,” she said. “We were trying to present a part of history and a place in the world that In fact no one in our universe had seen one. And so he became his own obstacle. The bigger the budget, the tougher the challenge. So we were always trying to figure out clever ways to do things that are typically done on other movies with more time and more money but to be flexible and creative, and to get every single dollar on the screen. How to increase , And we were committed to it as well. We were completely exhausted by the end, but it was an incredible experience.”
Mbedu talked about the extensive preparation and physical training the actors had to endure, and Prince-Bythewood expanded on the unique challenges they had in keeping the film afloat despite the unexpected four-month break brought on by the pandemic.
for the sequel? Davis notes she’s pushing 60 and admits that’s the way she’ll settle for a second round lady king And it has physical requirements if his character is killed in the first five minutes and floats out to sea.
Check back on Wednesday for the panel video.