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Welcome back, everybody. Today, it podcast with KDDI, as always, I'm Eddie Gonzalez.
I'm here with the now 11 time all star.
I'm counting. I don't know if it counts. I don't know how it works. I'm counting. Okay. This is 11 times. Yeah, I'm counting to I'm still excited that you made the team and you earned it. You you deserved it. Thank you. It's been dope to watch all that happen for you. I don't want to spend too much time on your job.
I care about this. We've got a special guest on. Yeah. So I want to break the fourth wall real quick and say when we put together like a list of names that we wanted to talk to on this podcast, this man's name was high up on the list and we were so excited that we were able to put this together. Kevin and I have busy schedules, obviously, and it's got a lot going on Sky's attractive name at the moment.
So I want to welcome Rick family. Yeah, you may know him as the writer, director, executive producer of many different things that you love and know, like the word the shy.
He's done several episodes of The Mandalorian. He's he did.
Brown Sugar. Brown Sugar. Excuse me. Talk to me. Our family wedding. He also directed wrote dope. Big fan of your work, man. And we have plenty to talk about. I want to start in one spot away from work, though. I did a ton of research and I found out you used to be quite the basketball player.
The oldest clip I found of you was an article from I believe it was nineteen ninety in the Los Angeles Times.
And you were a stud at a huge camp in Santa Barbara. A couple NBA players watch this kind of watch this full circle moment. A couple of NBA players are also in this camp, including Thomas Edney and your former head coach and current assistant coach, Jack Vaughn.
Yeah, yeah. You man, you you you dug into the crates to me.
I had to find what was your what was your game like. Yeah, six four small forward they say. Yeah, I did.
Look, I was one of those you know, six, four centre forward, you know, small forward.
It was, it was like right before it was like in that era where you could still have like you know, but Larry Johnson types of the world who were, you know, six, six playing center and power forward. So that was really where I was. I was playing that and then, you know, kind of stretching myself out to kind of shoot good on the perimeter. But, you know, I think being what we call a tweener at the time, I was like right in between a couple of positions, but, you know, hoops or something.
I love growing up. I played a lot with with me and my boys. We go to the parks and just be there all day. And then, you know, and like a lot of people who, you know, that was my first love.
And I thought, like, I'm going to go, you know, I'm a go play. I'm a be in the league, you know, do my thing.
And then, you know, and then I then I got to some of those camps and you start to see the level of talent and and you start to say, OK, maybe I should start to think about one of these stories, though they like in your dunking to that of Michael Jordan, good friend of yours, apparently like India, dunk the Michael Jordan at The Wiz.
Right. How many people?
I want to say, though, I want to give you your props. You shot fifty percent in college. You played at USC. Yeah.
We don't want to leave it at that. We don't have to give the context. 50 percent shooter from the field and that's OK.
You know, I came in for that last minute, the blow out, you know, and I was I was doing bad thing bad.
It was so tough.
But yeah, that was look, again, hoops and just playing that, I think is still what I used. You know, even as I do what I do today, just the concept of team and how you sort of have to come together is is, you know, the lessons of that I still use and what I do today. And that's why I loved it. That was, you know, a big part of my life, even though it didn't pan out the way, you know, I thought it was going to be.
But it got me to the place, you know, being at USC that I needed to be and discovering film and discovering the film school and then ended up, you know, sort of that that kind of grab hold of me at the right time as I was realizing that, look, you know, the hoop life wasn't going to be the thing that fed me. So it was things happen for a reason. So I you know, even though I was coming off the bench way, way deep off the bench, it was all good.
So so tell me how you got in the film. I mean, look, it's it's one of those things where I've always been a storyteller and loved writing and I love films from a very young age, and we watch them all the time. But it wasn't that thing that I thought, oh, yeah, I can go do this for a living. I never grew up like, OK, I'm a go be a filmmaker, even though film and TV was a big love of mine.
And it wasn't really until I got to college that it really became something that I thought could be real. And it was around that time as I was I was you know, I was on the team and playing and knew and knew that I was just not this wasn't going to be my future. And at the same time, I was at school, you know, you have to take those those freshman composition classes. And so I took one and had an assignment where I was like, you had to write, you know, tell something about yourself and about your life.
So I wrote this sort of short story that was about me. And my mom's moving from North Carolina to Inglewood when I was in junior high.
And I sort of painted a picture of, you know, how that was for me. And after that class, the instructor came to me. After you read my assignment, it was I could be whoever this was really strong in the way you told stories was have you ever thought about writing or using, you know, doing something in creative writing as a career?
And and of course, I was like, oh, now, you know, I grew up in Inglewood, but I was oh, I never really it wasn't something that was real to me until that moment he said it.
And then it became like, oh, well, maybe maybe this is something I can do. And I started looking and researching and and really diving into what I could do at the school because I just happened to be at a school that was really famous for film and its film school. And I just started watching.
I started taking as many classes as I could, you know, as electives. And then eventually I was like, this is something that that truly just grabbed hold of me in a way. And it was really like I felt like I found my calling. And so I applied to school and and that was kind of the beginning for me in terms of. Doing that, and again, it was just one of those things where, you know, I was at USC because of who I was and and I just happened to be in that place, even though I grew up in L.A. at USC film school wasn't like, OK, I'm going to go do this thing.
But that was it was just one of those things that happened. And and then when it happened, it was like, yes, this is where I was meant to be all alone.
What was it that drew you like? What was there like a moment where it hits you like this is for me, or was it a gradual process where you kind of fell in love with this?
It was like a I mean, I feel like it was build in is like, you know, like any story was like it was building towards this moment. Even if I didn't know that was happening and there were things in my life that had happened to kind of get me here and and write, you know, as I was, you know, going into film school was also like a period of time and film where they were filmmakers like, you know, John Singleton and the Hughes brothers who had just put out, you know, Boyz n the Hood and Menace to society.
And then, of course, there were a bunch of other filmmakers like Reginald Hudlin and the brother who were doing House Party. And so it was just this moment where I was seeing these filmmakers who look like me and were telling stories that related to me and all at the same time that this was happening. So it just felt like, oh, OK, I can tell I can tell my stories and there's an avenue to actually make that work. And there are people who are actually doing this.
And again, that's that's the thing that I think for a lot of people who are who aren't black in the film industry or aren't coming from that place, they see it all the time and it's in every movies made for them. So there's no doubt in their mind, like, OK, here's what I can go do. But, you know, that was it at all kind of hit around that same time. And I felt like this is this is what I want to do.
Kevin, you have a desire to tell stories in a way as well. Right. And that's also part of it, telling our stories, telling stories in our voice, telling things, stories of things that we care about. That's kind of what the basis of the concept of the ETCs is. Where does that come from for you? Is it similar to what Rick went through, where we got to, what some people do it and kind of just had a hunger to do it as well?
Yeah, I think simply put, this one to tell the world about your experiences and doing it in a creative way and. You know, like you said, you know, teamwork is is the thing that I get from making films and playing basketball. I just felt like it's everything parallel. You know, you got so many people that you need to lean on to make these stories come to life. And, you know, and we all have to be on one page.
I mean, it just it reminds me of the same setting that I worked in. You know, I work in every single day as a basketball player. So, I mean, this is definitely easy to be drawn into that, you know, type of craft, you know, and I can see why it's so easy for guys to fall into it. But, you know, this is another level, obviously, where, you know, that that you that you can reach, obviously.
So we it's a fun space. Yeah.
One of the things Kevin says, as we get more and more brainstorm about, you know, work, we want to do this to one of his main things. He says that he wants to tell stories, and that's the same for me. You know, I was recently asked, what do I do? And I envisioned myself as a storyteller. I like to tell people stories.
You know, I like to find these amazing stories and then share them with everybody. And I know that's that's big for Kevin. I want to set the stage for you and your story, Rick, because I need people to understand just how accomplished you are. And you were coming out of USC. So you were the first undergrad ever in the history of USC to have your film screened at the Sundance Film Festival. Watch this film. It's called Blacktip Lingoa.
And I don't want to minimize it, but it is literally a group of guys who aren't talking shit in between.
We've all been there. It's such a relatable moment. It's so authentic. I see why it mattered. Take us back to that song because things kind of started moving fast right around then, right?
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I you know, I was at USC, like, when you get to your senior year, there's kind of the business class called for 80. And in that class you get to kind of really make a short film and you have to go through the whole process. You have to pitch it, you know, to your your your instructors. They select people as sort of finalists. And then, you know, after after they do that, they sort of give you what you need to go make the film.
So everyone is kind of vying to do this thing. And and again, like I was saying, a big part of why I wanted to tell stories was to sort of, you know, put a light on people and situations that I knew and that weren't being reflected, that sort of represented kind of a big cross-section of what it is to be black in America. And that was a wide range. And it wasn't just it wasn't just, you know, kind of what you saw in Boyz n the Hood and Menace.
And, you know, and it wasn't just The Cosby Show, right?
It was like there were two extremes. It was like everything in between. And that was one of the things I remember going to the parks and playing is like, you would just go and we'd be there all day. And on any particular day, you know, you're hanging out with, you know, drug dealers and hustlers, but also doctors and dentists and and lawyers and everything else. And everyone's on the court on the same level. So it's like it for for those who were athletically inclined.
It's like that same sort of barbershop experience where you have this cross-section of, you know, black culture. And so I wanted to tell that story quite literally and just, you know, and sort of a kind of a mock documentary way, just one day in the life of this this park in Inglewood where we're sort of represented the park I grew up in. And, you know, just because everyone I went to film school with was trying to be, you know, Steven Spielberg or George Lucas and making the same films I loved as well.
But this was something that obviously for me was important. And so I was able to, you know, make that. And and while we were editing it, it was you know, we were I was starting to think about what I wanted to do. And and there was a Rolling Stone at the time was doing like a cover story on all the film schools across the US. And like the reporter read my script and sort of did like this little piece on me.
And so I think at that point I started getting like, hey, maybe I know what I'm doing.
Maybe maybe I'm good at this.
Give the press clippings, you know, for the or for film, you know, rather than.
And so I think I was just like I went to my editor and I was like, let's let's try to put this thing in Sundance. I think it was kind of. At the time, but I think when you're young and confident, you just go, hey, let's do this.
So we did it and cut like a version of it and submitted it. And and yet, lo and behold, a you know, several months later, I got the call saying that they were going to do it and put it in the festival. And and, yeah, it was the first time an undergrad had done that. And they didn't even know what to do because they were like, OK, what's next?
So what do we do with your senior year now, though?
And so that was the film that kind of started, you know, getting me attention in terms of, you know, the industry at large, the screen at the festival and its green that school. And there were, you know, agents and managers there. And that was kind of when I got my first exposure to that. And it's also when I got my exposure to the Sundance, which ultimately became like the next big stepping stone for me in my journey.
So so from from there, you kind of go through a path where you're figuring out what to deliver to Hollywood, how you can catch your break, essentially.
Right. You know, that probably felt like a break, but it's like I now have to make a movie.
Exactly. Exactly. What is that process like when you're sitting there dealing with that? Like, one of the questions covid and I go through all the time, you have these big grandiose ideas of this project we could do, and then we'll sit there and go, all right, where do we start?
So is that where you were sitting at the moment, like, OK, I want to write a movie, where do I start or how did that go?
Because it was a little bit of time between then and the wood. And you were working at Nike Town and there's a whole bunch this story. Right, exactly.
Like, you know. Yeah. You know, so I had this film at Sundance and you and this and I had like an agent right in.
And so I'm thinking I got it made, you know, I'm going to be the next fill in the blank. And and so, you know, at that point, I sort of went into the process of really trying to trying to hustle. I had, you know, it was my last semester in school.
So while I was preparing to graduate and everything else, I was also taking meetings and doing different things that were happening around Hollywood. And and so, you know, so I started forming ideas in my head about the kind of things that I wanted to do. And I started to write some of those down and some of these things.
But, you know, it's at the time in the film industry and it's always been the case when you're trying to make films, you know, particularly films about the black experience and black characters at the head of it. The challenge is to get that made were were immense, right. It was like and I was trying to tell these stories that didn't quite fit into like the boxes that everyone was used to at the time, because I think it was like, you know, again, it was like you either doing like those kind of films that were coming out of the hood or you were doing like this super broad comedies, you know, and and and the kind of stuff I was trying to do were like the films and the TV shows I loved growing up.
And so I was pitching those ideas and and just hitting the wall. Nobody was into them. And that's when, you know, and after a while I just got frustrated because it just felt like, how am I ever going to get a break in this thing? And that's and that's when I started working at Maggie Town and slinging sneakers and doing that thing all the while trying to figure out the next moves.
And and that was I'd hit this point where I was trying to, I think, chase the things that I thought people were going to want, you know, because I'd gotten desperate to the point was like, OK, well, if they want this, I'm just going to pitch them some crazy, you know, time travel goes back to, you know, that just give it to them and that and then that hit the wall.
And I think that was the moment where I was like, what? What the fuck am I doing? What am I doing?
I want to know who is who gave you the chance to really get that break.
Yeah, and that's what and that's where I think the, you know, kind of the next step, because I think. You know, it's again, one of those things where things fall into place and you kind of go, what the hell? So while I'm working at Maggie Town, I went to I was working with another coworker who who was who was at USC, who went to USC with me. And he was applying to Sundance Writers and Directors Lab.
And it's like this program that they have for young filmmakers. And and in the process of doing his application, they they saw that he was you know, that he had gone to USC, you know, at the same time as me. So they asked him, you know, did you do you know Rick? Did you go to school with him? And he was like, yeah, you know, not only to go to school with them, I'm working with them right now.
And they were like, well, we've been trying to get in contact with them and we haven't been able to reach him because we were interested in him, you know, possibly submitting something for this program. And so I get to work, you know, you know, ready to open up and go do my thing. And and and the guy's name is Paul. He walks it up to me and he's like, yeah, you know, I had this crazy, you know, interaction where the Sundance folks were were waiting to get in contact with you.
But they, you know, your number had been changed, I guess that you had applied it. So they were like, give them a call. So I gave I gave them a call and they told me about the program and said, you know, do you have an idea that you think could be something that you would want to develop, you know, or do you have a screenplay that you would want to submit to this? Because the point of the program was you would take a screenplay, you would shoot like a couple of scenes out of it with like a professional crew up at the Sundance Institute and kind of use that to both learn.
And it kind of as a, you know, an experience and a calling card. And so they were like, do you have a script? And I was like, I got a script.
Of course, I didn't have a script. Balzac Sure.
I got a script. And they're like, cool. You know, the deadline is like four weeks. Go ahead and turn it in. So I just went back and I was like, OK, what what the hell am I going to write?
And then did you quit your job? No, no, I didn't quit my job.
My job. I had I had I was writing my scripts at night.
And and the idea that I, you know, that I said I'm going to do because I was so frustrated trying to chase these things that worried me was that story, that short story about my mom and me coming from North Carolina to Inglewood. And that became the basis for the wood. And so I took that that idea and said, OK, what's the movie that I would actually want to go see if someone really said, is your chance, go make your movie.
Was it going to be the, you know, the crazy time travel movie? I was.
Or was it, you know, or did you want to just watch the story you'd really want to see? And I was like, well, this is the one about me and my boys growing up in Inglewood and and being like Diner or the Wonder Years or American Graffiti. But just tell it from from this point of view. And so that was the script that I wrote and ended up getting accepted into the Sundance Writers and Directors Lab. And, you know, I guess, as they say, the rest is history.
That's when I'm meeting the and the producers who, you know, were we're friends with the the people who were running the lab. They were producing a film called Election at Paramount and MTV Films. And they were like, look, we we we think this script is great. We want to show it to them. And I'm like, hell, yeah, cool.
You know? And that was that was that was the hit. That was the break. Sundance was the thing that really broke the door open for me. And if it weren't for that, then yet, you know. I'd probably still be at 90, maybe maybe I'd work my way up to the border to be written, but yeah, that that would have been about who knows what would have happened if that those crazy coincidences hadn't come together.
You know, Kev, do you have pivotal moments? I mean, I know you do, but do you recognize these pivotal moments on your journey when this is happening? Because I know people write it off is, you know, you're seven feet and it just kind of happened. But I know that things had to happen along the way to steer you to where you are. Do you do you go back to these moments and do you recall them? Yeah.
I mean, basketball pretty much found me. I was the tallest in every class. So, I mean, it was pretty easy playing a game.
But certain situations you look back on and realize people just gave you a little nudge here and there. May, you know that movement to change the course of your life. You know, when when you when you take a look back on it. And so, you know, those small moments like that mean shit for the for it to happen like this or unexpectedly that, you know, and it creates such a huge, huge, huge story and a legacy from that.
I mean, you know, that's that's God working right there. Yeah.
Yeah, I know. And it sounds corny like why would you say that? And people go, come on.
But it's like when you look back you can really kind of pinpoint the sort of cross, you know, crossing the road type moments where you're like, I could have gone this way or that way. And if I had gone that way, life could have been completely different, you know? If you know anything about a fortnight, you'll know that every season there are some insanely cool story and map changes.
Over the past few seasons, we've seen everything from the island flooding to the legendary black hole. And this season, the zero point has been contained. But reality collapse in the process, restoring a natural balance to the island, craft weapons, hunt wildlife for food and do everything it takes to survive. Picking up the battle pass lets you run wild with the likes of Lara Croft and Teen Titans. Raven jump in the fortnight now to experience it all or go to F in season six.
Go to F in season six to see it all. I wonder I mean, we have a competition amongst players in the league, and I feel like it's a competition amongst actors and actresses, is it is it like, you know, I know you guys are more behind the scenes or is it a competition in that industry as well for you guys?
Yeah, it's interesting because I think that, you know, among this kind of a community of filmmakers, especially a community of filmmakers of color that have emerged particularly over the past, maybe like five, 10 years, that that feel like a a unit, you know, and that was a lot different when I when I first got into the business, you know, when I was doing the wood, where where it did feel like because the opportunities were so few and far between, it wasn't really like a, you know, a competition I think you were really aware of.
But I think there just becomes a kind of fight for the lack of resources, you know, that puts you in a place that that that inevitably happens. But I think, as you know, what's been particularly cool about, you know, the moment where we're in now in that I've sort of been able to kind of get to is that you have like a lot of these filmmakers that they're both influenced. My generation of filmmakers like Spike, who's still out there making incredible work, doing crazy things and incredible things.
And then there was kind of a generation of like Gina principly, that Malcolm Lee and George Tillman and myself, who who sort of came up in another way and are still around. And then there was kind of a wave that included like Ryan Coogler and Barry Jenkins and Ava DuVernay. And so you have this sort of collection of of really talented filmmakers.
And and we're moving into this place in the world where everyone sort of recognizing that, you know, what what is profitable and mainstream and and, you know, where we are now is multicultural.
And and you better sort of get on board with what the movie, you know, the movement at the moment is now. And and there are a lot of filmmakers who I think are able, you know, who are able to kind of fill, fill in and step up in a way that those opportunities that people were fighting for back in the day are more plentiful. And part of that is just because of the change in the business, the change from like theatrical films, that the strength of the streaming services which are putting out like a lot of really great products and great entertainment and art.
So it doesn't feel like that. It feels like there is this community of artists. And and I know I pick up the phone and I can call Labor and ask her about, you know, her experiences somewhere or someone she's worked with a particular crew member or an actor, and she'll do the same for me and vice versa with, you know, with Barry and Ryan and a lot of people that are working and doing incredible things now.
So and I think that's what's exciting about the moment we're in, is that, you know, there's a healthy competition because there's so many great filmmakers doing great things. And but the competition is pure. It's like it is on the court when, you know, as they say, game recognizes game.
And it's that when you see that, you just want to I get excited when someone drops something and I go, you know, why didn't you know, I got to get back to the lab or the shed and go, you know, step my game up.
And I think that's where we are at the moment.
Is it different for you? You go out and literally compete with these guys? I know you admire a lot of guys games, but are you able to to still have, you know, that kind of, you know, feeling of pride for them in their journeys and what they're doing?
Yeah. What if when you first come in, you feel as though you the lowest rank and you know you're going into the battlefield, the guys are way more experience. So naturally you build that competitive nature against guys. You know what I would even like? For example, I had a I felt like I had a beef with Kobe Bryant, but he didn't even know, you know, I had to say so as I was coming in.
But as you get older, you know, you look at like you said, you look at these guys, it's just sharpening you, making you better. So when Bryant goes to score 50 points or James Harden has sixty points, I'm looking and I know how how can I top it just to be better?
But how can I maintain that level that. I was going to you know, I'm saying it's like they pushing you every single day, like there's a healthy competition. So I feel what you're saying and it has changed over time because like you say, so many people, you know, as you experience more, you get older. You got you guys have you know, you talk about different things. You know, your conversations get a little along with some of your peers, you know, so you just you realize that, you know, this journey is is way bigger than just having a competition, you know, between one or two guys, you know, is this is a long range thing and you're trying to play.
And I got a question for you, because I'm doing this Magic Johnson documentary right now. And so I'm talking you know, I get a good chance to talk to a lot of the players from the 80s and 90s and obviously the, you know, the league at that time. And so there's, you know, something that comes up. Of course, you know, and I know you've heard it is sort of the idea of how that generation played and they weren't friends and they didn't you know, they didn't hang out with each other, of course.
And yeah. And that kind of created a certain sense or intensity that I guess that they feel or some feel doesn't exist anymore. What do you say to something like that?
Especially as I you know, I that today I think the only thing that's changed is the game.
You know, the pace is a little faster. So, you know, we don't play inside the paint. So it's not going to be as physical as it was back then. But I think those guys, the magic's the birds, the Jordans, they created that brotherhood amongst the league. So when we outside of the NBA arenas and outside the NBA bubble, we see each other, we hanging out. We want to you know, you see MJ going golfing.
You see him going out to hang out with Barkley. And, you know, you've seen these guys laughing and joking with each other, gambling. So I feel like that was started by the older generation who just carried on amongst us and like, you know, and we elevated it. You know, we got social media now. So it's easy to keep in contact with guys a you as well. So we I've known guys since I was 16, you know, playing and, you know, sharing rooms with them, you know, all-American camps all the way up until, you know, playing with them my whole career in the league.
So, you know, this is that the community is growing, you know, and and it was is the foundation was laid by all of those old age and the older generation, you know, so the elevation, the we just elevated it. Now, come on, Kev.
We want to know we want to know who you hate. I pretty much I pretty much hate everybody wants to do most.
The ball is tipped, but it's a it's a love hate relationship with these guys.
You know, I want to talk about the wood a bit because I want people to understand how impactful this film is.
And a lot of ways and you mentioned the films it was on the hills of and you're talking menace to society, Boyz n the Hood, these types of films where it's it's it's hood like it's purposely hood in telling these these kind of dark stories and people are dying. And then you have the wood and it's a coming of age. You mentioned it like the wonder years. Nobody dies in this movie. Some shit goes down, but nobody dies and it mostly ends well.
Why did you want to tell those types of stories? And was it hard to break through when you're trying to do that?
Yes, I mean, it definitely was it was a challenge. And, you know, the why of it was it just reflected my reality. And like I said, I grew up in in Inglewood. So I saw I saw it. All right. I mean, I know, you know, brothers like those that were in Menis, right.
And it's like, yeah, yeah. And we go go to Hoop and go to Rogers Park, which was in Inglewood.
And, you know, there's a deliberate route you had to walk to make sure you were you know, you weren't going to go you weren't going to get fucked with.
Right. And so I saw that. But at the same time, I also saw that some of those same people, right. That were depicted in that film in a certain kind of way were the ones who made sure me and my boys. Yes. Hard and didn't get and didn't get fucked with. And they were like, look, these these young brothers are doing something. And there was a recognition of that. And and so, you know, and they would talk to me and they would talk to my boys and they would tell us stuff.
And I was realizing how, you know, how circumstanced sort of changes and affects people in different ways. And there were so many people who I would talk to who a lot of the characters in my film, you know, in the Wood were based on both my friend. But Stacey was sort of based on a lot of these guys who were. At first you would go, I'm scared as fuck, you know, but, you know, and you would play with them or you would see them or whatever, and but that would be the same person who would be like, you better make sure you're you know, you're keeping yourself together and you ain't doing doing this stuff.
And so I wanted to kind of give that cross-section. It wasn't that I wanted to say those films like Boys and Men weren't true. They are very true and they're real. And but I also know that they were kids and people in that community that weren't doing that, trying to just navigate that. And so I wanted to just tell an honest story. So I didn't want to go one way or the other and say one version of this is true and one version isn't.
But the challenge was real. To get that, you would think that, you know, a comedy about, you know, three three young guys, you know, trying to just, you know, get women and figure things out. And it wouldn't be so controversial because there's nothing about it that is, you know, except the language and whatever they're about.
But it really was you would you know, it's hard to imagine what what it was like late 90s, because there have been so many films and shows and things that have come since the wood. Yeah. And love and basketball and soul food and different things that that that have kind of, you know, people kind of go, oh, yeah, of course, you know, when I tell them how hard it was to get that film made, it's hard for people to believe.
But I literally had people telling me that I that this this this this didn't exist.
You know, they thought it was like a fantasy film was made to the rings or some shit. You know, they were like just this just I can't even imagine this is real that these kids are just growing up in this environment and not doing it. So it took. It really took, like, you know, the circumstance, but really like the how the prominence of hip hop music at the time, I think was the thing that opened up a lot of eyes to the different types of environment that, you know, that make up the quote unquote, black community.
And so because it was I just happened to be at a time where MTV was was sort of making the film division, they they could they could understand, like, OK, what these characters are and what they're speaking to is something more broad because we're seeing that, you know, on our network, we're seeing in kind of the the response we're getting around the country, particularly to hip hop and its influence at the time. And so all of that kind of converged in a way that, you know, when I came with the story, there was at least a receptive ear.
But, you know, it took a it was a challenge because a lot of people didn't get the film. A lot of people didn't want to make it. And they just thought, you know, their idea was particularly like the way executives and studio their idea of what black people were and what black life was was so specific to, you know, the negative sort of stereotypes they were themselves perpetuating. Right. That they just couldn't they couldn't see it.
But some you know, but enough people did and we got it made. And that was, you know, you know, and I'm still I'm still surprised how many people, you know, say that that film spoke to them in some way.
But it really was just kind of an honest representation of that. I just telling the story of me and my friends growing up.
I wanted to Kevin, I want to talk about Stacey a little bit. And I want to talk about because I know we all know Stacey.
We've all known that guys, that similar guy and gang banging, his gangbanging like, I don't know, say it has a bad rap, that there is shit that happens.
But when you're in these neighborhoods and you're from these neighborhoods, oftentimes those are the people who also protect you in a lot of ways, especially when you're young and you're uninvolved. Kevin, you have a very unique place in the neighborhood coming up. You know, people could see the potential of you, obviously.
Did you have this kind of going on with you, with people around town or protecting you in a way, in a way that Stacey did in this film?
Yeah, I mean, you don't know that you're being protected because I mean, I didn't I mean, I didn't know what was going on around the neighborhood. I was a kid. I didn't know that the grown ups were into what they were into until I actually started getting older and checking my surroundings. But, you know, once we're in a bubble of the neighborhood, nothing was done in front of us kids. You know, nothing. You know, we didn't we wasn't no errand boys for the guys around the way.
We didn't you know, they made sure we got in the house when it was dark, you know, so it was a definitely a community, you know.
And we were in and outside of our parents, you know, they didn't they didn't, you know, say to us. But we felt as though they were already the older guys in our neighborhoods. And that kept us on point, too. So that that was a huge piece. That was a huge part of us, you know, getting to where we got to go. Was that like they showed it to us from all the bullshit in the neighborhood.
Because they were doing it, you know, it was just like they just they made sure that in this respect our parents and put us in bad situations.
You know, I always loved how that character was given a human side and that character is not always afforded that.
And going forward, slowly and surely it does. And shout out to the actor who played him. He's killing snowfall. Yeah.
Happy to see him back on screen. Diondre Bonzo's. Yes. Yes, he was. He was method acting for real.
And then you bring him back for dope and he stays up in the wood and don't realize.
But it was this is really impactful and important to have those things on screen. And I think, you know, you're a trailblazer in doing that. And then over the next decade or so, you mentioned hip hop's influence on what you were able to do. But we kind of got to see hip hop's characters opened up as well. And you could say that was Kanye West. You could blame whoever it's on. But we got to see these other parts of the story we eventually get to, like Kendrick Lamar, who is saying, you know, I'm I'm around these people, but I'm not these people.
And not only that, I'm going to show you more sides of these people. And I do bring it back to the wood.
And so that's, you know, a huge part of it. Your legacy is. But I want to talk about music, too, because you mentioned it. Music's a huge part of everything you've made. Your next film is a brown sugar. It's obviously like a love story wrapped into a song and a love story about song. Into a love story about people. Why is music so important for you, for what you do? It's every single thing you've made.
It's been an important part of what you've done. Yeah.
I mean, I think, you know, part of it is just, you know, being a frustrated musician, maybe wishing that I could blow all of this.
All right, everybody, we all have these songs we wish we could make and we just can't. You know, I remember the boys.
We'd like Butoh. We try to freestyle or whatever the car do. I think that it is like did that make you realize how gifted those people are?
You look at you go, you know, I could do that, that you try to just keep time or keep rhythm and then also, you know, say something that's clever and not just say and rhyme and then, you know, your simple lives together.
So, yeah, I think so. For me, you know, I got growing up in that time, growing up like late 80s, 90s, as far as hip hop and the culture were really sort of coming into its own. It was it was like I was coming of age at the same time that a lot of my you know, the people that I was listening to and the culture of of what hip hop was was coming of age. And and it was crazy because on you know, I think when you when you listen to someone on a record or you hear them on the radio or wherever, there's kind of an assumption that they're they're older than you.
Those people who, you know, who have just done. And so it it was funny because it wasn't until brown sugar, because I met because it was like that little sequence where the reporter, Sidney Shaw is, you know, interviews when she interviews all these hip hop artists, ask them when they fell in love with hip hop. And so we actually had the opportunity to to meet a lot of these people that I, you know, that I was listening to growing up and and from talking to, you know, De la Soul and Queen Latifah and Puji Rap and and all these folks.
And they're saying things. And I'm like, oh, yeah, I was in high school when that happened.
And then they're like and then I realized, like, oh, my God, these do these women and men were only like a year older than me.
I was I was 15 and they were like 16, you know, and they had and they were putting out these these these records that were speaking to everyone.
Of course, you're like, OK, I wonder why it spoke to me so much. But that I think growing up in that time and having that music be a voice and have been that and really being able to assert yourself, I felt like through hip hop, we as a culture could kind of assert ourselves and speak to things in a way that, you know, you know, you could do and great artists have done in other mediums.
But this was one that seemed tailor made for for me and my generation. And so that has stuck with me. And that soundtrack has just been in my head ever since. And music, you know, inspires me as I'm writing and inspires me as I'm thinking about movies. And then a lot of the filmmakers that I really, you know, responded to use music in their films in very interesting ways. And so, you know, Martin Scorsese, he uses music to tell stories and such a vivid way that goes beyond score that I was, of course, just trying to copy copy my hero right.
To copy back and do it in the same way. So that's why it's just there's an energy, there's an intensity. There's you just feel hyped in a way. And I'm just trying to kind of get that same feeling onto film because I know there's a certain feeling I had when I would listen to, you know, certain certain things. And I thought that they were perfect ways of kind of conveying emotion and also character. And so, yeah, music will always play that that role because it's so part of it's such a part of who we are.
The culture in hip hop in particular is just, you know, it's changed so many things and spoke to so many people. So it had to be a part of what I was doing.
Do you write film reviews or did you when you first came into the game, you want to say you don't, but.
Yeah, yeah, you. You you know, you read them and it's, you know, and it's. And when it's like one of those things where it's like when they're good, you don't believe them, it's always like the one or two that say stuff and somehow you're like, well, what what was that about? You want to got to focus in on that. But, you know, I read what I was coming up, and luckily they were they were by and large positive.
But I mean, they were even for the wood, there were a lot that didn't get it then or felt like it wasn't sort of speaking, you know, in a way that they could understand. And it did well. But it was and it wasn't like this monster hit at the time. It's been interesting that that, you know, it's kind of gain fans over over the years. But, yeah, I've read I've read them. I read them.
Even though you say I'm going to read, you still end up Peacon because it's like if you still want it here, if you want to hear what people are saying but not good but not get influenced at the same time. Is it's a challenge. Yeah.
What's all going to miss the NBA Twitter here. So yeah he's reading his reviews and I'm just good feedback is good when you I say and even when it's stuff I don't agree with it.
That's the thing with film. It's like it's subjective. So it's like someone might just look at it and just not get it. And but I always feel like if I'm in a place where I've told the story I want to tell, then, you know, positive or negative. It doesn't it doesn't affect me in the same way, you know, if I'm in that place where I feel like I could have done more or I didn't quite do what I wanted to do, that's when it you know, it it hits at you because, you know, you didn't put it all out there.
And so I'm sure it's the same for you throughout your life and career. You know, when you just put it out, as long as you're putting it out every single night and ain't going to be perfect every night, but and you ain't going to win every night. But at least, you know, if that was what happened, you can you can hear the criticism because, you know, in your mind, like, look, I did what I wanted to do.
So that's what makes it. If I'm if I don't do that, then then it becomes a challenge. And I've had that I've had that happen in my career where it's like I didn't do what I wanted on this film.
And then when I read the reviews and they were negative, it just was like, God, you know, you're some kind of reassurance that, like what I was truthful for.
Exactly. Is that the marker of success for you guys, like kind of just seeing out your vision because you both operate in industries and worlds where there are statistics, there are like literal markers of success. But is that bigger for you guys as you go through that? Because we were talking before we got on here your earlier.
They're not blockbuster humongous films. We're not talking about two hundred million dollar box office. Kevin, you you don't have one hundred percent approval rating like we know that.
But is that what the success is for you guys that know that you carried out your own vision?
Well, I mean, I know if there are similarities, but then it's like, you know, when it comes to what I'm doing, you know, there's there's not like a goal that everyone is going after. You know, it's like for for Kevin. Everyone everyone's going after that ring, you know, at the end of the year. Right. And so, yeah, you can say we're all going out after box office. So we're all going after the Oscars or whatever.
But you can still I can make the wood and it can go do what it did and it can find its audience. But, you know, that's not seen as either success or failure. But if you if you're playing sports and you win a game or lose a game or you win a ring or that you get judged in a different kind of way than a filmmaker does.
Yeah, yeah. Even though you know. But that's why I said it's like so for me I feel like I could be in that place where I go, OK, I put it out, I put it out there because there's so much I can't control in terms of how it gets out there or whatever. But the perception for an athlete is probably a lot different because it feels like, well, Kevin, you're the star. You got to put everyone on your side.
You got to make it happen. See?
See, that's the perception and reality. I feel the exact same. The way you feel, because there's a lot of stuff that's out of my control. I can't make every basket. I can't guard every player on the court and I can't play every minute. So if I go out there and challenge myself and compete against myself every day, that's more important than winning and losing.
So I could win a game and feel as though I didn't play up to my abilities and still feel bad after that game. You know, I'm saying even though we won as a team, but I want to be I want to be as great as I can every time I step out there. So it's like when you compete with yourself, you know, you have peace with all that other stuff and, you know, the noise and what people say and opinions.
You know, you take them for what it is, but they don't really affect your mood like they used to affect my mood when I was younger.
But do you realize what the battle really is? You know. Yeah, I've seen you pissed. I have to win.
Yeah. Because it's like I look at, you know, I go back, I look at the world and I see all the stuff that I didn't do right.
I wanted or I look at stuff and go bad, you know. So, yeah, there's there's always you, I think as as artist, you you sort of judge yourself in a different way. And it's and it's and and I do find like sometimes it's hard for people to understand that. Right. In terms of just what that what that means, because it's like, oh, you know, look, you're doing this, you know, you're making you made this and you made that.
And so what you know, what could you be you know, what could be the issue?
And you but, you know, there's kind of a you know, there's something, you know, you're trying to hit a high note in your mind. You know, the stuff you know you're trying to hit. And until you're there, you don't get it right.
And even then, just like this, to the degree that I got to where I got to play and hoops, you sort of understand, like when I watch and I watch now, you know, even though it's not at the same level, you know, I get what that, you know, some of that that feeling and what that must be, you know, particularly when I talk to people who've never played before and they don't understand, you know, certain things, but they watch and they watch, you know, they watched frickin ESPN and they watch them.
They look at did it spin and everything else. And they got Halib opinions, but they don't.
Yeah. And what that what that means and what that feels like.
And so and so.
Yeah, I find often like I can, I can relate when I, you know, what I hear like a reporter ask a question to an athlete, you know, you could just see that look like I just don't get this shit at all.
Oh no, you don't understand.
And you speak as though you do. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So what's what's your life like when you working on the project and when you just kind of like in your off season?
Is it like you are you always like because I feel like I'm 24/7 thinking about hope in some way.
Are you like that. Yeah, that's the thing.
It's like there is no you know, there's no off season. I'm always thinking about something. Right. And I'm always writing in my head. And so if I'm working on a project, it's you know, that's why, you know, I, I get really particular about the things that I do now, especially as I get older and I can be more selective and take more time with things, because I know for me there's there's a there's an island quality that you have to have when you're directing a film and particularly as a writer and you're writing and directing a film or anything, that's from the beginning to end because you're living with this all the time and you're quite literally creating people and characters in your head and what they're going to be say and what they're going to be thinking.
And so I got like ten people in my head and I'm trying to think about their personalities and what they, you know, and trying to keep it real and how they can interact with each other. And so that does not ever stop until I get to that point where, you know, I've released the film and there's literally nothing I can do to the project anymore.
But, yeah, it doesn't it doesn't really turn off persay because, you know, you might be out and on a quote unquote vacation and something you see moves or inspires you and you start to go, oh, this could be this could be something. Know, it was like listening to Lin Manuel Miranda talking about, you know, reading, being on vacation and reading the Hamilton book, and that becomes you supposed to be on a break. Right.
But that clicked in his head in the moment. And so, yeah, it is. There's no off season and there's no like nine to five, OK, I clock out and I and I can go and some oftentimes it's hard for people to understand that because you're always working inside. And I'm sure it's similar for you in that even though the physical aspect of a game might be over, there's there's you know, there's the mental aspect that's that is constant.
Right, in terms of how you're thinking about your game and how you're thinking about how to get to certain levels and achievements. And I guess that's what you have to balance that schizophrenia.
It's you know, my wife and kids figure it out when I'm, like off in space.
And I'm not really sure what that's writing about me.
That's writing like, I I seen powers he wrote and directed.
So, you know, there's a Pixar doc on him a short and he said, you know, writing professionally is when you have to write, even when you don't want to yet.
And then it's like a job. Kevin So this switch never turns off for you. You're just constantly basketball or your your your trade, your art form in your head at all times.
Yeah. I mean, this is different for me because like, we can turn it off because I can't use my body at all points the day, you know, like I can't hoop all the time, you know. But but you can be writing stuff down, you know, get on a computer and feel like you're working, you know, it's like. Exactly. It took me a while to get to know that I like, you know, I'm playing a mind game and a physical game.
So when I would get off the court, you know, I wasn't thinking about the game as much, you know, I'm saying as I should have been, you know, preparing for when I can go back out on the court or play.
So just just like you said, it doesn't cut off. Man, it is weird because you might be inspired by anything. Like, I see somebody turn a corner and I'm just like I am.
I can turn a corner, like, you know, say stuff like that has happened to me before, just being inspired by the smallest shit. And then just like I said, always keep my brain on just in case, you know, I still feel like I'm off of work, like at all points of the day. I want to feel like I might be inspired or might have an idea, some shit that I should do out there, you know.
Well, and it's funny because I feel like that that was kind of when I understood that, you know, who wasn't going to be the thing I do for a living because I I came up with people and guys who were the way that I think about film and writing now was how they were thinking about their game and hoop and and and and everything. It was constant. It didn't stop. And for me it was like, I cool.
Now I'm good, you know, I could go off and do.
And that's when you understand that there is, you know, and that's the thing that, you know, you try to emphasize is that there's kind of a level to be a professional at anything, you know, and to be successful professionally at anything that's kind of a level of of a sort of spiritual mental commitment that is hard for folks to get in and understand, particularly when and I'm sure for it's similar in that I think we both are in these fields where a lot of people go, oh, I could do that as they actually would film everyone, you know.
And I was definitely one of those guys I felt like I could make. I can make a film. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Know easy. They really know how to do it.
But hey, there's a lot of people who are like, you know, the coach liked him, you know, and that's why, you know, but it's like I remember, you know, when I was in school and I'm and while I was going off to do whatever, you know, who Harold Miner was in the gym, you know, all night long shooting hoops or someone, you know, the guys that came up with like Sidney and Jack, you know, they were still doing their thing and thinking about it.
And when I was like, I yeah, I'm about to go watch the movie. Hey, everybody, we want to take a quick second to tell you about our friends at U.S. Bank, what this past year has been a tough one. Our goals aren't as out of reach as we once thought because things are coming back. And if there's anything that we've learned is that there's no time like the present, a U.S. bank, they take the time to understand you, to help you get what you really want to be.
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You've gone from making these kind of niche movies in telling these stories that you wanted to tell to something like Mandalorian, which is obviously a much more collaborative process, a bigger process, even though it's television, which is a bit of a turn.
Was that like a tough pill for you to swallow with that creative mind that never turns off to like, oh, I get to make this, but it's within this framework? Or is that something that was like a challenge you welcomed?
Yeah, I mean, look, it's like I was saying before I grew up, like the Star Wars. What was the first film I saw in a movie theater? The first film I remember seeing going to the movies to see. And so that that film and that world has been something that's inspired me from the time I was a little kid. And the same for a lot of the big films and Blockbuster that I think we all we all love, particularly of that era like Star Wars and then Giles and E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark and back to the future.
There were all these movies that really inspired me and I wanted to to tell and sort of, you know, tell stories in that world. And so a lot of, you know, my career, you know, that I started. You start with what you know. Right. And that's kind of how you start telling stories. But I was always interested in telling the stories within these larger worlds, but I just wanted to tell them from a different point of view, I wanted to bring in my perspective.
I wanted to bring in, you know, characters that look like me and look like the diversity of the world, but still, you know, go off into outer space or go into crazy fantasy adventures because that's the stuff we all love. And so so for me, I was after after dope and dope would come out and and sort of made a particular sort of impression on a lot of people and in the town and the business when they saw it at Sundance, again, Sundance again, kind of being, you know, kind of the through line in terms of my career, that there were a lot of opportunity that started to open up, open up themselves to me that that hadn't been before.
And so I was very deliberate in saying, look, these were these were stories that I want to tell. And I wanted to kind of jump into that world. And I and I tried to in a couple of different instances, do it with the flash. And it didn't quite work out. But with with Star Wars and with the Mandalorian in particular, what was different was John Fabro and John Fabro as a writer director. And I think he had sort of an understanding about how writer directors work and how to be creative in a way that often, you know, film executives, producers, different things they can't see.
And so when the opportunity came to do the Mandalorian, he was very specific in saying, like, look, what I want to do with this show is bring in a lot of different perspectives and bring in people who are going to tell different stories within this world. And he had seen dope and was a big fan of it. And I was tangentially working and doing some other stuff at Star with Star Wars at the time that that he was you know, they were starting to put the Mandalorian together.
He was like, you know, would you be interested in and come in and and directed an episode? And I was like, of course I would. I love Star Wars.
But he really was like and then and then he was like, all right, cool, you're going to do the second one. And I was like, Oh, man, I'm coming right up.
Coming right up to like, you know, that the episode where people really decide whether they want to stick with this series or not.
And so, yeah, but he was what was great was like it was a really. It was a filmmaker driven system, you know, in terms of how it all worked and every director that came in brought their point of view and had the freedom to do and tell stories in this world in a way that was was really inspiring. And I think you have to you know, you have to have someone like that who's had the success that John has had to kind of block and tackle a lot of the stuff that you would normally deal with to go, OK, I'm going to give you this plane ride.
It's it's like, you know, if you're if you're magic and you got Kareem and he goes, it's going to be your team. Take it. You know, then that that makes it that that makes what you have to do easier. But if you have to fight against that and prove yourself, it can be a challenge. And that is the challenge when you're you're making the big blockbuster films, it's like it's a it goes from this thing that's that's driven by you as a filmmaker and a creative person to this thing with multiple points of view, multiple interests, both at the corporate level and everywhere down.
And there are multiple cooks in the kitchen, as they say. And so luckily, in the case of the Mandalorian, I think that's why the show resonates with so many people, is that the environment is so much different than that. And I think people can really be creative in ways that they probably couldn't have in other worlds. And that that that's a testament to John and how he puts that show together.
This is television in a very flimsy definition hotel. It's a massive undertaking.
But to me, this is also sort of proof that we could have these blockbuster films, even in this new setup we're setting up with streaming platforms that Kevin and our team like.
I can watch these movies at home. Where do you see it, though, as a filmmaker with that?
Well, I mean, look, I, I still I love the film going experience and I love going to a theater to watch a movie, even though it's been tough this past year that you can't you can't do that.
And I, I do think that there's something special about that.
However, I'm not one of those who go if if it's not the cinema, if it's not the theater, if it's not, then it's not worthy or it's not the same. And I think what's been incredible about the streaming services and in that world of storytelling is that it truly has kind of broken down what or what isn't mainstream or what can be a hit and what can't be it, because there's one just more opportunity to tell stories within the world and to because of that, they're actually telling a lot of stories that I think, you know, the traditional networks or, you know, studios would be afraid to go do or would or they would say is too risky to do or somehow, you know, wouldn't see.
And so I think we've seen a lot of films. And and like you said, I don't even know if I call it some of these projects television, because when we were making the Mandalorian, it's it rivals any blockbuster film that gets made up there. And the resources that we have to tell the story are, you know, are the same, if not better, because we were really pushing the envelope in terms of technology on that show, too.
And so I think it's it's all where the story ends up getting shown and whether it's on your screen at home or on your iPad screen or your phone or whatever, if it's reaching people and you're able to kind of tell a story that's connecting, it connects. And so I don't I don't have, like a I'm agnostic right about that. I don't feel like, OK, there's got to be one way or the other about, you know, even though I understand where some filmmakers come from, like Christopher Nolan and who feel like you want to protect that.
But I do understand that we're in a world where, you know, if we can get that at home, there's nothing wrong with that. And there and there will still be films that that that you need to see in the theater and you want to see in the theater. But I think having all of it is been, you know, democratizing to art and I and I and I think that's a good thing. Nothing but a good thing.
Kevin, for you, I know part of this has to be like it's almost impossible for you to just catch a. But what is it about the experience of movies and watching them that you feel like you can get it at home as well?
That is their home on the show. Is the most comfortable place I know my house. So hopping in my bed and watching the movie that just came out from a TV, you know, that seems pretty. That seems better to me. But I mean, I understand that experience. I mean, a movie that has been around since the 20s, 30s, you know, so I understand it's just so in our DNA. As you know, Americans as well as us in the world is to go to the movies.
But I'd like I'd like to feel like we're getting everything we need from each streaming platform is more streaming platforms, dropping content, you know, original content to.
So and I think that's what the business is dealing with. Right. Is that, you know, we've been heading in it's been heading in this direction for a for a while. And that, you know, both the experience of going to the movies, while very exciting in many ways, you know, it's super expensive. Sometimes it's really inconvenient. And the product that, you know, the town was putting out just didn't warrant, you know, a family of four paying one hundred hundred bucks.
Right. And so there was a lot of stuff happening that, you know, laid the groundwork for, you know, where Netflix and Amazon and a lot of places have come in to fill. And and so we're in this period because of what happened with covid and the you know, both the industry having to shut down production, but also theaters having to shut down. That accelerated a lot of the, you know, the patterns that were already happening.
It's sort of fast forwarded things about 10, 15 years. And so I think for those people, those artists, those companies that were already thinking in that way, they looked at this as an opportunity and looked at this as of a moment. They've been expecting for those who have been holding on to sort of an old way of doing things and traditionalist. And in some ways, they're they're sort of, you know, struggling to to figure out what's going to be next then.
And it's interesting here. And you talk about, you know, the experience being at home watching, because I think for a lot of people in our industry, they don't understand where the consumer is. They don't understand where the people really are, and they don't know how to speak to that because it's been done, like you said, a certain way for so long. A hundred years. Right. So that's. So even though I think a lot of people and and a lot of the companies and just in the industry understand that they have to change the way they're doing things.
They just they literally don't know how to do it. You know, again, it's like you again. You are six, nine God. Right. You and you created a certain skill set that you can you know, if you're Dikembe Mutombo and all of a sudden it's like, all right, you got to be a six man guard, you know, Patrick Ewing, you know, and you've now got it.
That's a rough transition. You've got to go now.
You got to play guard. It's like that ain't going to happen.
Now, for those who like to see Webb or whoever who were like, we're going to you know, you could kind of go, all right, I'm ready. I'm ready to take on the new face of what this is going to be. And I think in that same way, we talked you were talking about how the game was just different when when Magic and Barkley and a lot of players played. People have adjusted to what that is and players have adjusted.
And so they know where the league is. And so that's how I think it is going to be for film. They're filmmakers who are in the moment who I think if they've been developing their skills, they'll be able to to do their thing. But there's also going to be an emerging group of filmmakers who are coming up who understand specifically what's going on now. And they're going to speak to it and be able to speak to it better than I would in a lot of people who who come before or before me.
And it'll be that game will be natural to them in the same way it's, you know, natural to you or staff or whoever. You know, they're OK stepping across half court and pulling up.
They're not going to hear about.
That's the thing that I think is going to happen now, is that they are going to be those filmmakers who completely understand where the world is now and they're going to speak to that. And that's probably partly what you guys are doing, what you're what you're trying to put together on the film side and an entertainment side as well.
Yeah, I think the I think the world of consuming content is changing across entertainment, you know, and you watch people are juggling with do I need the game day experience or can I watch this on my 65 inch crystal clear TV, you know, and saying what music you watch stuff like versus and it's like, do I have to go to a concert or is, you know, is Keyshia Cole singing in her living room enough to get the whole.
Do I get the gist of it? And it's constantly changing. And you mentioned you're married, you have children. You might sit in your living room and you, your wife, your son, your daughter, whoever. You guys might all be consuming content in different ways. I catch it happened at my house all the time. My wife would be watching a movie on her phone. I'm like, how could you do that?
Yeah, and my daughter never puts the iPad down. It's like, how could you not? But I have to have a TV.
Right, but everybody's different and I think the world is changing. I want to before we let you go, I have to I have to know about the Magic Johnson. How did this come about? How far are you through it?
And every time I've ever seen you, you've had a Dodger's hat on. So I know you're a sports fan. That has to mean you're a Laker fan. Yeah, I spare Kevin Kevin the grief there, but I was going to try to convince them to be in that fan after this.
Come on, buddy. What?
I lived in New York for 11 years. It was right. I was you know, I would leave and right as they were building the stadium and they were you know, that's what I always call I'll be like I you know, we've got season tickets.
I was going to do it because I would like you to go. I couldn't stand the Knicks, so I was like, oh, so long as you don't like the Knicks, don't go like this.
I feel like the Knicks. That's like like I.
So I want to hear about this magic.
Oh, yes. I grew up, you know, again, I grew up in Inglewood in the eighties and nineties as the Lakers were, you know, at the peak of their their powers. Right. That, you know, they they had like a ten year run where I think they were in the finals every year except for one. And so, you know, that was my experience growing up in and Inglewood and going to go into those parades when the Lakers would win.
You know, my friends and I, we would cut school and we would go, you know, and if school was already out, we would go out of school. Then we would cut and and go to the parade and go to the, you know, the big celebration. So the Lakers are growing up in Inglewood was a big part of my life.
And also, you know, the Dodgers were as well. So, you know, the magic that came about just because I think a lot of people know that I'm a dad, I'm a big sports fan, you know, and some that knew that I did play basketball before. So the producers of the documentary, as they were starting to put together, came to me and asked if I would be be interested. And and also I had worked with Magic before.
He was one of the executive producers on Brown Sugar way back in the day. You know, that that was a project that was sort of initially developed under is his film company when, you know, when that was something that he was doing at that time. So, you know, so it was when it when it came to me, I was like, yes, I was immediately like, I want to do it. But what as I as I knew from just his life, that continues.
But also, you know, just digging into his story, it's like he so many people know Magic Johnson as a as an incredible basketball player and what he achieved on on the court. But there was an equal, if not more amount of people who, you know, sort of associate him with the life that he had after he was off the court. You know, in terms of his activism, is his business, is it sort of, you know, is, you know, investments in communities, different kinds of things.
And so now I feel like there was an opportunity to tell, you know, not only the story of Magic and Johnson, but but, you know, there was a kind of he's lived through a lot of different things from, you know, his time growing up. In Lansing to what he's doing now that sort of crossed with a lot of history and the way that he, you know, he innovated along with David Stern, what, you know, became kind of the modern NBA.
And you talked about how you sort of jumped off a lot of that stuff. That magic was, I think, very instrumental in bringing about even just the idea of a six nine point guard. Right.
And you seen it again. We'll never see it again. Exactly. Exactly. So it's like there's a there's a basketball story that was intriguing, but there was also a human story that was intriguing in terms of HIV and sort of, you know, living and beating that and then what he's done beyond that. So it's real, right, where we're getting into we're getting to everything.
You know, it's a real story where I'm talking to a lot of the his former teammates and coaches and and as well as people he's been in business with. So it's it's going to be, you know, I think a really comprehensive story on his life. And I think and and we'll go into some places that are familiar because we saw the last dance. But I think we'll also go into places that are very, very different as well.
Kevin, how influential is magic to your growth as a player? It's I know it sounds like a weird, but this is a six nine guy running, bouncing the ball unseen. Before that, you know, your score. You're a bucket at heart from the day you were born. But there are elements of that game in there for you, right?
Yeah. Just breaking the barriers of what basketball is. You know, you get funneled into these positions and magic to find all of that with his size, athleticism, his leadership, his communication. I think he is at that time, trust, transcend, transcended the sport, you know, by just being who is this authentic self. And that resonated with me as well, because he came in and, you know, he was that same guy, that same bright smile from day one.
You know, I'm saying and to have success from day one, when the championship, his first year in the league and to being and taking the league to new heights, that was inspiring.
And like you say, you still feel the impacts of magic today, you know. Exactly.
I know in our trailer, our trailer we like specifically said we're not doing great debates. But Magic's career is one of those ones that I feel like almost gets lost. He won five titles. Like you said, he won a title his rookie year. He just never stopped winning. He went to nine finals. And this is one of the more competitive periods of the league ever.
He spearheaded so many things that he's had an incredible career. Incredible.
And then to women, when you look at it as a basketball player, you tend to look at these guys when they retire and you see, you know, who can hold up or who can, you know, and what they did while they were playing in magic set himself out perfectly.
I mean, as a kid, I see Magic Johnson movie theater pop up, you know, everywhere.
You know, I feel like I felt like he had his foot in everything.
So, you know, he he kept his name alive after he was done playing as a test.
You know, you got to give him a lot of credit for just having that forward thinking.
Exactly. And then I think that's why he's I think that's why sometimes the hoops and what he did as a basketball player, you know, sometimes gets overlooked because he did so much so life after he played hoops that so many people associate him with that like the Magic Johnson Theater or, you know, as an owner of the Dodgers, as a, you know, an entrepreneur, a businessman, as a activist, you know that his life was there was thirty years of his life after he played hoops that were just, as you know, in the spotlight and meaningful.
And sometimes you forget, like, yeah, he's got five rings, you know, he's got a ring finger.
Know, then you realize that as far as having a brand individual brand in the NBA, but a new league at that time, you know, Magic was the first guy, you know, to be a national brand. And then MJ came after that. And that kind of started, you know, that that train of guys, you know, basketball being a global sport, you know, because of guys like Magic and being a pioneer. So he meant a lot to the game.
I can't wait to watch that duck. I know it's incredible, especially after the last dance. I know a lot of dogs. Do you compete with trying to one up there? So, yeah, exactly.
You know, every every goat or whatever considers themself or goes like, where's my dog?
Yeah. My last dance now, I still got to be 11 parts, like, OK, you want to sing Gretzky, you know, everyone's like, what's what's going on about you?
Yeah, I'm excited about that.
So, yeah, I think that's going to be fun. And look, I'd love to talk to you at some point because you're talking to players. Just talk to D Wade. So, you know, I still get that just to get that perspective, you know, from from this from a different generation for sure.
I would love to do that. Well, look, this was great.
We really appreciate it. Like I said, you were one of the names we had to talk to when as we brainstorm more and more, your name kept coming up. So thank you so much for doing this. We cannot wait to see this magic. Doc, I'm excited. Learning that you were attached to it made me even more excited. You have some other big films on the way.
I'm looking forward to Mandalorian Season three. I hope you're back there as well. You you're responsible for two of the most, like, important scenes in the series so far.
I know that had to be a crazy wait for you.
Oh, thank you. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks so much, man. We appreciate. Appreciate all your work.
Thank you for everything you've done thus far. And all the entries into the culture have changed me. Mean watching the stuff that you put out as a kid is is memorable. I still go back and reminisce. So thank you for all you've done there.
I thank you so much. Thanks for having me. And, you know, it's just been it's been great.
And and, you know, and Kev, I don't know if you remember, but I had I had a little Nike commercial that I shot with you way, way back in the day.
And I made a lot of people and I remember, you know, we had some talks and I was like this this this brother is really sharp.
This brother is thinking in a different way. And so I always that always stuck with me, you know, having that. So I'm not surprised that what you're doing. So that's the luck with everything. Appreciate it. You know, men, men, death, but don't come back too soon.
I know my Lakers by like you've been a fan. You've been through this season. And I say, let's make a happy man. Thanks again so much, Rick. It was a pleasure. You have a great woman. Appreciate you, brother. Thank you. Thank you, guys.
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