One of the craziest films you’re going to see this year (and maybe this decade) is writer/director Boots Riley’s debut movie, Sorry to Bother You. Unlike most films that are pretty easy to explain, the less you know about Sorry to Bother You the better, because it’s a film with a lot of unexpected twists and turns. However, the spoiler-free summary would be: It takes place in an alternate present day version of Oakland and follows a telemarketer named Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) who begins rising up the ranks at his office when he’s taught how to use his “white voice”—which is just David Cross dubbing all the lines. The film tackles issues of community, greed, assimilation, unionization, corporatism, racism, misogyny, feminism, gentrification, and much, much more. The film is highly satirical and takes place in a heightened reality that, as it gets crazier and crazier, somehow continues to feel realistic. Sorry to Bother You also stars Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer (the less you know about his character the better), Terry Crews, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Jermaine Fowler, and Danny Glover.
At the New York press day for the film, I got to sit down with Boots Riley. During the interview he talked about how the film changed during the development process, why he never thought of using the three act structure, what he learned from early screenings, why he wanted to bend reality in the film, and more.
Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by a few images.
- How did the film change during the development process?
- Why he wanted to bend reality in the film.
- What did he learn from any early screenings that impacted the finished film?
- Why he never thought of using the three act structure.