Blindspotting on STARZ made it’s official debut at Pier 76 on June 11th at the Tribeca Film Festival 2021.
Co-created by executive producers Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casel, Blindspotting brings the Bay Area to life with comedy, harsh realities of the criminal justice system, dance interludes, and elements of spoken word. The 2018 film has been adapted for television and streaming services with a few major changes for today’s climate. One of those changes is that the storyline primarily focuses on a female-centered cast with heavy hitters like Helen Hunt, Jasmine Cephas Jones, and Jaylen Barron taking center stage. To say the cast is incredibly talented would be an understatement. With a majority of the actors having rich theater backgrounds, (Hey Ham Fam!), or hand-selecting top-tier performers from art institutions like UCLA, the show warrants an artistic experience on its own.
We caught up with producer Rafael Casel and Jasmine Cephas Jones, who plays the lead Ashley Jones, at the Tribeca premiere.
The Knockturnal: Congratulations! How does it feel to have Blindspotting premiere at Tribeca tonight?
Rafael Casel: Well a lot of us haven’t been outside in a while. I think just the idea of seeing a story like this we worked really hard on to bring The Bay Area to life onscreen with a crowd is really exciting. And Tribeca? It’s Tribeca! It’s iconic.
The Knockturnal: There are so many artists with theater backgrounds in this show, how does that help tell the story onscreen?
Rafael Casel: I think stage performers really understand how to keep the attention of an audience. They’re showman. It’s just been amazing to watch performers taking up space on a screen. We just don’t see it a lot. I’ve been working with Ben (Earl Turner) since he was 14 years old. I met Jasmine (Cephas Jones) while she was doing Hamilton. It’s just exciting to see.
The Knockturnal: The series was filmed during a pandemic. What was that process like?
Jasmine Cephas Jones: Laughs Very challenging! I think the most challenging part was, or what I missed the most when you’re creating art with people is you get to commune together and we didn’t really get to do that. In between rehearsals and in between shots we had to put on a mask and a shield so you know you just feel very separate from everyone. That was probably the most challenging.
The Knockturnal: Working with friends and also performers has to be special. What was that like?
Jasmine Cephas Jones: It’s kind of this big huge mixing pot of artists. (Daveed) Diggs and Rafa were like, “We know what everyone here is capable of and what they’re able to do so let’s try to incorporate that and not hide it.” There’s little easter eggs in the show of like me singing a little bit. It’s just exciting when everybody can use all the tools and talents that they have. It really does show.
You can watch Blindspotting on STARZ on June 13, 2021.