In the indie drama Pariah, opening in limited release on December 28th, Alike (Adepero Oduye) is a 17-year-old African-American woman, who lives with her parents and younger sister in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. Quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian, she has the support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura (Pernell Walker), but her parents already strained marriage becomes even more tense, at any mention of the topic at home. Regardless of the fact that she feels like she can’t confide in her own family, Alike’s humor and tenacity proves to be a great asset, as she struggles through adolescence to achieve her dreams.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, first-time feature writer/director Dee Rees talked about the development of the semi-autobiographical story, her decision to make it first as a short and then as a full-length feature later on, how discovering one’s identity is something that anyone and everyone can relate to, assembling such a talented cast, and what she learned about filmmaking from Spike Lee (who served as an executive producer on the film). She also talked about having already finished writing two more features, Bolo and Large Print, and that she’s developing an HBO series with Viola Davis. Check out what she had to say after the jump: