The critically acclaimed movie “Beyond The Lights” is now out on DVD/Blue Ray. On Monday, the film’s director, Gina Prince-Bythewood, joined “NewsOne Now” guest host Armstrong Williams to discuss the film and the DVD release.
Bythewood told Armstrong that she is “inspired by and creating characters that have real lives, real humanity, real conflict.”
“The things that are keeping them apart feel real as opposed to fantasy and I think that allows an audience to go in and really put themselves into the characters,” Bythewood said.
Bythewood explained that there are some deleted scenes from the movie that were added to the DVD/Blue Ray release. “During the editing process it was really about just cutting away the stuff you didn’t need because it was all there in their looks to each other.”
“The great thing about doing a love story, especially if you have two actors like GuGu and Nate, who play Noni and Kav, when their chemistry is so strong you realize how little dialogue you really need.”
Armstrong and Bythewood also discussed some of the challenges with getting films to the big screen during the chat on “NewsOne Now.”
“There is no secret to getting a film on the big screen,” Bythewood said. “It’s passion and it’s fight.” She credited her growing up as an athlete as having influenced who she is as a filmmaker and “taught her fight from an early age.”
“Talent is one thing, but it is very tough in this industry,” she said.
Bythewood said, “That is not a secret, especially for filmmakers of color who are making films with people of color . It’s a harder fight but if you are passionate about your material it gets you past those no’s and you just remember you need one yes.”
When asked about the opposition she faced from movie studios in bringing the movie to the big screen and if some of the push back was racist in nature, Bythewood said, “There were different fights at different times at different studios.”
“Some studios did not want two people of color in the lead. They said, ‘Could you make the male lead White?’ And that, I would say, is racism,” said Bythewood.
“Others didn’t like the suicide attempt at the beginning of the film. They felt it made the film too dark and that the audience could not get past it even though in retrospect now when people see the film, that is what draws them into these two characters.”
Bythewood also cited some studios not wanted to cast “two people who were not stars.”
“But the issue is for me, it’s not about the stars, it’s about who is best for the role, and these two were best for the role.”
“The issue with Hollywood there is no farm system for young Black actors. The list for that…in this age range for white actors is pages and pages long,” she said.
It is safe to assume by the success of “Beyond The Lights” that the “fight” in Gina Prince-Bythewood paid off as she has not only redefined how to cast leads in feature films and produced a new classic for movie lovers to enjoy for years to come.
Be sure to pick up your copy of “Beyond the Lights,” now available on DVD and Blue Ray.
Watch “NewsOne Now” guest host Armstrong Williams and Gina Prince Bythewood discuss “Beyond the Lights” and the movie’s DVD release in the video clip above.
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