One of the many films to world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer-director Matt Ruskin’s Crown Heights. The film tells the incredible true story of Colin Warner (Keith Stanfield) was wrongfully convicted of murder in April, 1980 and how his best friend Carl King (Nnamdi Asomugha) devoted his life to proving Colin’s innocence, doggedly pursuing every lead for years. Adapted from This American Life podcast, the film also stars Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Nestor Carbonell, and Amari Cheatom. Crown Heights also won the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance.
While at the festival I got to sit down with Matt Ruskin, Keith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha and Natalie Paul for an extended video interview. They talked about the incredible true story, playing characters based on real people, using transcripts from court documents, filming in a real prison, and a lot more. In addition, towards the end of the interview, you can also watch them play a game I call “Get to Know Your Sundance Attendee,” which asks tough questions like drink of choice, how long can you go without looking at your phone, what’s the last TV show you’ve watched that you want to recommend, what do you collect, favorite websites, and a lot more.
Check out what they had to say in the video above and below is exactly what we talked about. Finally, a huge thank you to everyone at Plexus, The Future Party and editor Jonathan Mathew for helping to make these interviews happen.
Director Matt Ruskin, Keith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha and Natalie Paul:
- What’s the movie about and who do they play?
- Balancing fact vs. fiction
- What was it like playing characters based on real people? Talk about using transcripts from court documents.
- Stanfield talks about the parallels between his process and Colin’s real life.
- Stanfield and Asomugha talk about their working relationship. Asomugha wrote Stanfield letters on set.
- How the film honors Colin’s story.
- Who did Ruskin show the movie to for feedback?
- Memorable moments from filming. Talk about filming in a real working prison.
- How long was the shoot?
- What’s their go-to drink of choice?
- How long can they go without looking at their phones?
- What’s the last TV show they watched that they want to recommend? Stanfield talks about Atlanta.
- What do they collect?
- What’s the first website they go to in the morning?
- When did they first realized they wanted to be in the entertainment business?
- Natalie talks about working on David Simon’s upcoming HBO show The Deuce.
- They talk about The Wire.