Craig Brewer‘s "Hustle and Flow" opens this Friday, and we’ll reserve our thoughts on the film itself for a review we’ll post later this week. The crew’s out doing the publicity rounds â€” Terrence Dashon Howard, who stars as DJay and who’s the most interesting, personality-wise, of the bunch, is interviewed by Lynda Gorov over at the Boston Globe and, more interestingly, by Robert Abele in the LA Times:
Howard, who also writes songs and plays guitar, initially wanted DJay to sing Terrence Howard originals â€” an idea Brewer quickly nixed â€” or at least rap "intelligent and profound" things. But Brewer was adamant DJay’s crude, droning crunk style never betray anything above a ninth-grade education.
Says Howard of the film’s set-piece raps, "I hated every word I had
to say, and that was a challenge, to love and believe and stand behind
the words. I love the storytelling [in rap], but I don’t think music
should ever be violent or ugly. Maybe I’m a tree hugger or something,
and that’s my problem."
Howard is mildly famous for being, for better or worse, somewhat lacking in self-censorship in interviews, and it’s a novelty to see, near the end of the LA Times piece, his publicist actually pulling him out of the room for a second and taking him to task over his "media relations skills." Paramount’s certainly been managing the cast of this film ve-ry carefully, and you’ll note how the ads all manage to steer clear of the pimp storyline. Over at indieWIRE, Ellen Keohane talks to director Brewer and Stephanie Allain, the producer who championed the film through to its Sundance success.
The LA Times hearts Brad Grey, the newish Paramount chief who’s turned the studio around with chancy things like the "Hustle & Flow" deal: he bought the film at Sundance for $9 million, a huge deal for the festival (though, even with the $15 million they’re spending to market it, next to nothing, really), and will finance Brewer’s next film, "Black Snake Moan," with Christina Ricci as a nympho and Samuel L. Jackson as the older blues man who cures her of this problem.