When writer/director Rick Famuyiwa started to shop his comedy Dope, about a high school senior’s crazy mission to escape the confines of his Inglewood, California urban neighborhood for the Ivy league walls of Harvard, the major studios didn’t get it. So Famuyiwa and producers Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi, who were behind 2013 indie hit Fruitvale Station, made Dope their way, outside the studio system. In the end, Famuyiwa got everyone hooked on his feel-good teenage tale. The Sundance premiere started a fierce bidding war among Weinstein Co., Fox Searchlight, Focus Features and A24 with Open Road and Sony winning the rights.
The movie features a handful of unknown actors in break out roles who will undoubtedly make some waves once people see their performances. It stars Shameik Moore in the lead role as Malcolm and his nerd buddies are played by Tony Revolori (Jib) and Kiersey Clemons (Diggy). Rapper A$AP Rocky makes his feature film debut as Dom, a neighbourhood drug dealer and there are also appearances by Blake Anderson, Zoe Kravitz, Quincy Brown and Chanel Iman.
This coming-of-age comedy is set in 2014 but has it's main characters are obsessed with '90s hip-hop. You really get the best of both worlds: the pop culture references, Bitcoin, iPhones and YouTube, paired with the best '90s wardrobe a teenager could ask for, a soundtrack featuring NWA, Easy E, Snoop Dogg, Pharell and the perfect flattop. The story is universal and completely relatable no matter where you live or grew up.
I spoke with director Rick Famuyiwa and stars Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Blake Anderson, Chanel Iman and Quincy Brown about why this movie is so Dope and it's universal theme.