Taylor in 2011
June 3, 1969 |
Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.
|Residence||Wyolah Plantation in Church Hill, Mississippi, U.S.|
|Occupation||Director, writer, producer, actor|
There's the movie you write, there's the movie you shoot and the movie you edit, and often, you find that you're getting the same information out of a scene that you already have and a scene that's actually more powerful, so you have to make the tough decision to take it out.
I knew I had to write a good screenplay to be taken seriously, and I knew I needed to present Mississippi on visuals instead of just saying, 'Hey I wanted to film it in Mississippi.' It would seem like it was a hometown boy just wanting to be home.
It's easy to forget history or give it a cliff notes. The cliff notes of history. But mainly, so much of what happens in 'Eyes on the Prize' happened in Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson, Mississippi isn't really known for any other touchstone to the movement, other than Medgar Evers being killed. There were sit-ins and riots and atrocities.
I met this woman who was a hundred, this housekeeper, a hundred years old. I interviewed her. She just told me about her whole life. She's like, 'I can't read, I can't write; I can tell you who I was working for, and I can tell you the year, but who was president?'
Everybody in the South loves the one closeted homosexual who's married. It's just too funny to not have in a movie about the South. It's an epidemic. You gotta represent!
I don't steer towards anything. I steer towards character and truth. If it's funny then so be it. If it's dramatic, so be it. I just steer towards characters.
People return my phone calls now, which is really interesting. I'll tell you what I've learned that's kind of bittersweet. So many doors have opened up. I've met everybody in the business. I'm fortunate people want to work with me.
In the South, we tell stories. We tell stories if you're in a sales position, if you're in a retail position, you lure your customer by telling a story. You just do.
After all, the ordinary hero hiding in each of us is often the most powerful catalyst for change.
As a writer, as much as I try, I can't stop writing female characters. They have so much more to offer; they have to wear so many different hats. There's so much wonderful gray matter in a female's life that it just makes for a stronger character.