One of the many films to world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Anthony Mandler’s feature film debut, Monster. Adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name by Walter Dean Myers, the film is about a 17 year old honors student and aspiring filmmaker Steve Harmon (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) who ends up being charged with a crime he says he didn’t commit. As we jump back and forth between the trial and the time that led him to jail, the audience is asked to decide what kind of man he is — a young black criminal, assumed guilty and labeled a monster, or an innocent? The film also stars A$AP Rocky, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Ehle, Tim Blake Nelson, Nas, and John David Washington.
Shortly before seeing the film, A$AP Rocky, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and director Anthony Mandler came by the Collider Studio for an exclusive video interview. They talked about why they each wanted to be part of this project, how Anthony Mandler got into directing music videos and why he wanted to make Monster as his first feature film, memorable moments from filming which includes how A$AP Rocky broke his nose filming a fight scene. Plus, how they all like to work on set, making Monster in only twenty days, and a lot more.
Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about and the synopsis.
Finally, a huge thank you to everyone at Kia and The Future Party for helping to make these interviews happen at the Kia Supper Suite and offering up transportation in the all new Kia Stinger high performance Sportback for our guests. We’d also like to thank Altec Lansing, Kunde Wines, Blue Moon Brewing, and Topo Chico for their support.
A$AP Rocky, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Anthony Mandler:
- Anthony Mandler talks about how he got into directing music videos and why he wanted to make Monster as his first feature film.
- Did he almost direct something else before this?
- How did he get financing for the film?
- What was it about the script/story that got A$AP Rocky and Kelvin Harrison Jr. involved?
- With this being Mandler’s first feature, did he plan any special camera shots that he’d been saving for his feature debut?
- How they filmed the movie in 20 days.
- The actors talk about how they typically like to work on set and Mandler how he likes to work.
- They talk memorable moments from filming which includes how A$AP Rocky broke his nose filming a fight scene.
Here’s the Monster synopsis via Sundance:
Steve Harmon, a bright, sensitive 17-year-old, stands trial for acting as a lookout during the lethal armed robbery of a Harlem bodega. Before his arrest, he was an honors student and aspiring filmmaker taking street-level snapshots and on-the-fly footage of neighborhood life. Now, Steve is seen as just another young black criminal, assumed guilty and labeled a monster. But Steve and his lawyer declare his innocence and attempt to defy the odds in a bid to win his freedom.
Adapted from the award-winning young adult novel by Walter Dean Myers, Monster methodically details how an inquisitive outsider found himself inside of a system stacked against him. Veteran commercial/music video director Anthony Mandler, in his feature debut, brings a restless style and formal audacity to this tale of American injustice. Kelvin Harrison Jr.’s moving lead performance is complemented by strong turns from Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Ehle, and Tim Blake Nelson. Deploying Steve’s angry inner monologue set against a propulsive soundtrack, Monster shifts between tense courtroom drama and lyrical glimpses of his life leading up to the crime.