Dear Evan Hansen,
Exclusive: Helen Hunt, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Rafael Casal Talk ‘Blindspotting’ At LA Premiere [Video]
Blindspotting, co-written and co-starred by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, is part dark comedy and part poetic musical, choreographed by Jon Boogz and Lil Buck. Casal and Diggs are executive producers on the series and features Casal as not only the showrunner but also reprises his role as Miles, Ashley’s longtime boyfriend. The limited series (8 episodes) follows the critically acclaimed 2018 feature film, six months after Miles goes to jail. However, this time the narrative is heavily focused on the people who are affected by Miles’s longer-than-expected jail sentence for possession of drugs.
Ashley, his loyal and devoted longtime girlfriend, is forced to move in with his hippie, Birkenstock-wearing mother, Rainey (Helen Hunt), and Instagram baddie sister Trish (Jaylon Barron) to raise their young son Sean (Atticus Woodward). While Ashley is making ends meet by working in a boujee Chateau Marmont-esque hotel full of white privilege, Trish has a progressive sex workgroup of girls running their half-naked business in the living room.
The series is nothing short of hilarious with Candace Nicholas-Lippman as Ashley’s protective best friend and Benjamin Earl Turner as the neighbor next door negotiating with little Sean for a food truck burrito since he’s on house arrest. Blindspotting is more than a comedy as it tackles deeper issues of wealth disparity and shows the reality of the failed justice system in America. You can expect to laugh out loud and want to become more of an activist for prison reform after watching the series.
The LA premiere took place at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Sunday, June 13th, and stars Jasmine Cephas Jones (Ashley), Helen Hunt (Miles’s mom, Rainey), Jaylen Barron (Miles’ sister, Trish) were all in attendance. Jasmine Cephas Jones and Andrew Chapelle got to reunite from their last time working together on Hamilton as they play opposite of each other as friend co-workers in the series.
The 2018 film was written as a love letter to Oakland and features some of the best bay area music out there and the series is no different. Because Casal and Diggs are real friends they share real experiences growing up in the Bay and wanted to put an accurate representation of where they come from on-screen.
“The music and the culture of the bay is so beautiful and so multidimensional and complex… I think it’s been put on the map many different times by many different artists but never quite in this way so we wanted to add a little sauce to it and really just show love to so many artists and so many culture creators and innovators the bay has to offer,” said Rafael Casal.
Producer Keith Calder spoke about the underlying message of the series when talking about how important it is for stories to be told that deal with the aftermath of a loved one being locked up and what that experience is like. He also touched on how the US plays a significant factor in that corrupt prison system as it has the highest incarceration rates in the world.
“The United States has the highest incarceration rates in the world and it’s something that’s taken for granted as an unchangeable fact and we don’t believe that to be true,” said Calder. “We think that if people see the impact on not just the people inside the jail but the tens of millions of people that are indirectly affected either being a family member there or someone in the community or really the long extent of prison once you leave incarceration, too.”
The series puts a face and name to the need for change in America. Audiences who may not have empathy for drug users will hopefully walk away with a more open mindset after they fall in love with the characters in the show.
Guests from the premiere also included Oakland native, Kehlani, where she talked about her new song with T-Pain ‘I Like Dat’ which they performed on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE June 10th! Of course, Ron Cephas Jones was also there in support of his daughter’s performance on screen as well as Brandee Evans and Dascha Polanco.
If you like shows like On My Block and films like Do The Right Thing then you’ll binge Blindspotting in no time. Blindspotting is now available to stream on STARZ.
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