Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Craig Brewer on 'The Poor and Hungry'

The day after Craig Brewer premiered "Hustle & Flow" in Memphis, he attended a screening of "The Poor and Hungry" at the Orpheum. Afterwards, he got on stage with actor Eric Tate, actor/ culture queen Wanda Wilson and moderator John Beifuss, the CA's movie critic, to field questions from viewers. (Photo is of Brewer when he received an honorary doctorate from Memphis College of Art in May).

Here are some notes from the Orpheum Q&A:

Brewer, asked why he shot in Memphis, responded drily, "Well, I do live here." But it is far more than that. He feels the singularity about this place: "There is a community. There is a neighborhood. You can't banish or judge them. It is something I've experienced here that I haven't anywhere else."

Brewer also grasps that prejudices are more often trumped by the fact that Memphians fundamentally share the essentials of love and ambition and regret and randomness and inspiration. "There isn't the divide a lot of people think there is."

Tate met Brewer at a bookstore. They spent two years on "P&H." "If you didn't love it, you'd leave it," said Tate who was both in the cast and on the crew. "And some did. Craig taught me the vernacular of being a filmmaker -- putting emotion and content on the screen."

Brewer noted that FedEx planes flying over his shoots with regularity were but one of a host of issues he had to deal with. "We timed our takes. Me and my brother-in-law Seth (Hagee) made the lights. It took us two years of shooting on weekends. We'd have two in the crew, two actors and no excuses. But the P&H was a perfect place to learn."

Brewer on commitment and getting it done: "The easiest way to make a movie is to write one. A lot of people want to make movies but some crews want just to be able to say that we're making a movie."

How did Brewer arrive at the title? "I was working at Bookstar and had been shelving Dostoyevsky. Wanda told me that P&H stood for poor and hungry and I thought it sounded like Dostoyevsky."

1 comment:

  1. Craig should really give Eric Tate a call if he hasn't already.