Prepare to get wrapped up in Hidden Empire Film Group’s newest psychological thriller: “Fatale” – a seductive L.A. noir film starring Hilary Swank (Valerie Quinlan); a detective who lures Michael Ealy (Derrick Tyler) into a dangerously tangled web.
“When you do a genre film that’s a thriller right, oftentimes the goal is to take someone who seems like an everyday person and put them in extraordinary circumstances…oftentimes the movie-goer thinks they’re smarter than that person…. smarter than the characters, they know what they would do,” Ealy says with a smile. Taking a moment to pause, Ealy continues; “when in reality I think we’ve all seen this year – you don’t know what you’re gonna do until it happens to you.”
Directed by Deon Taylor and produced by Roxanne Avent Taylor, the dynamic duo of Hidden Empire Film Group, “Fatale” takes the audience on a wild ride with no shortage of twists. One major twist? Bringing two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank on as a producer!
“We collaborated on everything, from the moment [Deon Taylor] asked to meet me and the moment we met we didn’t stop!” Swank says when discussing her collaboration with Deon and Roxanne Taylor. “In order to create something and you have that special relationship and that kind of vibe with one another, it just takes off and soars – it’s a gift.”
According to Deon Taylor, Swank was the perfect person for the role of Valerie Quinlan, a calculating yet tactful detective who is willing to stop at nothing for what she loves. “Look, you get people that come on these things and lie all the time – I’m not lying like I really was like, it’s Hillary Swank,” Taylor says with a laugh.
Continuing, Taylor says, “ultimately I knew she could give me the range of being the alpha and being the most dominant person on-screen….putting her against Michael Ealy, who is one of my favorites, I just knew it would push him… and I knew that he was that caliber of actor that if he was able to spar with someone like her, it would be explosive – and that happened!”
When discussing the film’s intense hand-to-hand combat scenes, Ealy says “there’s no gender intimidation with Hilary,” adding with a laugh, “she will punch me in the face.”
Also no stranger to utilizing fighting techniques when filming is “Marvel’s Luke Cage” star Mike Colter, who plays Derrick’s business partner, Rafe Grimes. “When I look at this role, [Rafe] is living in the moment, he’s not caring about tomorrow…. he’s reckless,” Colter says. “That’s different for me and I like playing people who are different.
While reckless and the ultimate party-goer, Colter’s character Rafe also portrays a young affluent black man who is co-owner of a successful company, alongside business partner and thriving sports agent, Derrick Tyler. While not entirely uncommon, this kind of representation of people of color on film in diverse roles is one that isn’t often showcased.
In discussing his role and his desire to play someone “different”, Colter brings up the importance of role diversity. “When I’m playing a priest or a doctor, or a lawyer it’s not always going to be about me being black….we know that’s there…. If you can sort of stay away from that sometimes then you can allow people to relax and see our story as human beings,” Colter says.
Producer Roxanne Avent Taylor attests to the importance of showcasing a story not often seen on film starring a diverse cast. “I really loved this movie because you really got to see a black and brown couple successful in front of the camera that you don’t typically get to see,” Taylor says before continuing, “I think that’s important to see in front of the camera.”
While the casting process in Hollywood still varies, Roxanne Avent Taylor remains hopeful. “New fresh creative minds will bring new fresh creative ideas and hopefully change the way people think and be able to cast everyone across the board so everyone can have an equal opportunity to have these roles, and that’s what we tried to do with Michael and Hilary.”
Above all, while “Fatale” challenges the status quo in Hollywood casting it also seeks to provide the audience with a much-needed escape.
“I think for movies when you get that hour and a half, two hours, it’s important for you to be able to go through that ride and forget whatever is going on in your life and be able to just experience an escape – [it’s] priceless,” Roxanne Avent Taylor says with a smile.
You can catch “Fatale” in select theaters nation-wide, and on-demand on January 8th, 2021 brought to you by Lionsgate!