Mike Colter, Frank Grillo, and Nafessa Williams all play characters in Black and Blue who are in some way or another, a blockage to the rookie cop, Alicia West (Naomie Harris).
We spoke with the three about their first reactions to the film and what it was like to unpack the loud and clear theme: be the change!
The Knockturnal: What were your first reactions to this film?
Nafessa Williams: “It was so insane. It was as if I didn’t read the script or do the movie or be in the movie. I was like… I forgot a lot of it and maybe I wasn’t there when they filmed certain scenes. So reading the script I knew what was happening, but it was as if I didn’t know anything about this movie like I’m not in it. It was so amazing, action-packed… alright let me shut up, I’m talking as if I’m not in it [laughter]. It took me on a ride. It exceeded my expectations. It was amazing.”
Mike Colter: “Similar to that, my take away… I was telling Deon, ‘I said how long is it?’ Because a lot of times when you’re watching a movie, a lot of times, people, not audiences, but people, in general, are concerned about run times. But I didn’t feel like this movie was that long. It’s because of pacing, because of the immediacy of it. By the time…when I clicked in and I knew this was the third act, this is where it’s almost over, I went wow, it’s almost over already? And that’s a great thing. That means there was really not much time, when I looked at this movie, going this is a filler, there is not much time where I’m going, this is a scene just for scene sake. This is a scene that doesn’t really do much for us, it propels us, it’s mostly exposition… It’s really action-packed, just constantly cranking up the tension, always wondering what’s going to happen next and before you know it, it was over. And that’s a great thing.”
Frank Grillo: “Well it’s a chase movie. And in chase movies, the chase should never end until it ends.”
The Knockturnal: Frank for you, this training that you did, were you guys doing ride alongs? What was it like working in New Orleans? Tell us about that…
Frank Grillo: “I have a buddy down there, a cop, a fed, and I did some ride alongs with him just to get an essence of New Orleans at night. But I’ve done so many kind of cop things, I’ve ridden with so many cops and there is a through-line whether they’re in New Orleans or New York, or Atlanta, and there is a through-line of how cops are so at this point I think I can be a cop.”
The Knockturnal: Mike, there were some parts where people were laughing and that were fun to watch. I’m wondering is that something that was written into the script or something that you developed?
Mike Colter: “That was one of those things where we took liberties in how he was going to dress and his entrance and stuff like that because I think there’s a little bit of, and this goes back to Deon the filmmaker, what you see first influences the audience… who is this guy? And I think it made them immediately have a liking for him because he was a little extra. When he shows up it’s like, man, what an entrance. And I think that kind of sticks with the audience and after that we get to know the guy a little better but that’s what it’s about. Cinema is a visual medium.”
The Knockturnal: What was it like coming from this comic universe into the world of Black and Blue?
Nafessa Williams: “You know what’s interesting, with both projects, the goal is the same: to create a project that’s going to spark change, and that’s what caught my attention. The fact that this was a timely piece that we need to see in this country. But for me, the characters are different and my character, she’s super smart, and educated and she’s so-called the good girl, and here I get to dive into a different role that I never dove into as an artist. And that was really really fun and just not judging who she is and understanding that she’s just trying to survive.”
Black and Blue is set to hit theaters October 25!