Is there a message to Romello Blade’s wild new comedy GRAY PEOPLE? Sure, but as the filmmaker tells us in this exclusive interview, that’s best left to the audience to decipher.
For the unversed, what’s the title GRAY PEOPLE refer to?
Great Question! You’re the first to ask me that. Two things, first of course it refers to the actual Gray people and their story. The second is what’s referred to as the grey aura, a mix between the light, positive energy and the dark, negative energy. The different shades of grey in people.
What was it about the story that grabbed you?
I think the opportunity to create a new race of people, bring them into our current climate and see how they’d adapt and were pre-perceived by everyone. I wanted to explore how the sophomore’s and juniors would treat the freshmen. But most importantly explore what kind of people the Gray’s would they be.
Any difficulty in pitching your cast this zany idea?
To be honest, no. Not anyone in the movie anyway.
Did everyone say yes?
Not everyone. There was a little more to the scene with Nick and Judea, played by the talented Rajvi Gosawani. A scene that I thought was very funny, but a little over the top, and she didn’t feel comfortable with it. I understood that. I knew I wanted her in the movie because her audition was so powerful and convincing, she was Jueda. So I did what any smart director with common sense would do. I rewrote the scene that you now see in the movie because no one else could have played that part to perfection like she did.
I imagine it would’ve been an amusing set to work on, too – any funny stories?
There are lots of funny stories, many dealing with cast and crew fighting really hard not to laugh during the scene while filming. But one stands out in particular. The day of filming the scene between Madoff played by the brilliant Dennis Mallen and Huffa, played intensely by another brilliant actor, Luis Sanchez. Luis had flown in from Georgia during a gap in his schedule while working on another project. Talk about dedication. He arrives on set and begins his makeup process. He comes in and his presence is felt immediately, he’s very intimating, and he’s very serious, I mean very serious. He speaks very little. At this point, I start to get it. Dennis arrives shortly and takes the time with Don Larson and Madi Jarrard to rehearse scenes. At some point Dennis crosses paths with Luis, a very serious Luis. Lol. So, Dennis comes to me and ask, “What’s up with this kid? What’s his problem? He looks pissed off. Do I know him, what did I do?” And you could see Dennis skeptical about this guy. So I tell Dennis, “ He’s just method acting, he stays in character all day.” I said, “He’s like a big teddy bear, he’s a great guy.” And Dennis goes, “Oh, okay.” Lol.
Was it hard to make the characters ‘gray’? How did you do that, practically-speaking?
No, not at all, but it took some time to get them all made up. Our head makeup artist came up with the Idea that they should have different complexions, which was a great idea! To answer your second question, makeup with lots of rotoscoping, and a bit of qualifying.
Why Tubi for your release?
Why not? It’s the largest free streaming service featuring award-winning movies and TV series It’s becoming a household name like Netflix and Disney +.
Is there a message to the movie?
Absolutely not. Lol. Nah, I think there are a lot of messages in the movie. Messages that resonate with some more than others, and vice versa. But I’ll leave that to the audience.
GREY PEOPLE is now available on Plex and Tubi.