The lauded film ‘Blindspotting’ returns this year, but this time in series form Inspired by the characters in the film, a production that, according to one of its creators, Rafael Casal, has been much more complicated than the 2018 film version, which was directed by Mexican Carlos López Estrada.
“It was a completely different experience,” he says in an interview with Efe Casal shortly before its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this Friday, after which it can be seen on the Starz content platform from June 13. “Television is much, much harsher. It takes a lot of effort. It takes much longer to do and involves the collaboration of many more people to be successful, “explained the young American of Cuban and Spanish descent, who not only wrote the script for the original film and the series, but has also participated in the production of the television program and plays one of the protagonists, both on the big and small screens.
The film revolved around the life of Collin (Daveed Diggs), a young African American who faces the last three days of his provisional release, and his friend Miles (Rafael Casal), with whom he links precarious jobs and faces racist attitudes and classists in the city of Oakland (California).
But the series, of eight half-hour episodes, has a much more feminine character and focuses on Miles’s girlfriend, Ashley (Jasmine Cephas Jones), who sees her life take a radical change when her partner is sentenced to 5 years in prison, and is forced to ask for the help from her mother-in-law, Rainey (Helen Hunt).
“More people are going to see the first episode of the series than have seen the movie in the last three years“says Casal, who stresses that although ‘Blindspotting’ was highly applauded when it premiered at the Sundance Festival in 2018, the success, financially at least, was much more limited.” It was incredible, but it was not a financial success. We all lost money, because it was an independent, small film, and love is what helps you make a film like this, “confessed Casal, who revealed that a single episode of the series had a larger budget than the film had.
Drama and comedy, dance and poetry
The program juxtaposes dramatic and comic situations, and also incorporates scenes featuring dance or poetry, or speeches that the characters deliver looking directly at the camera. None of these elements, says Casal, are new in film or television, but the fusion of all of them in a single program is: “I think this particular cocktail, how we have put it all together in this medium, is what innovative. That is the innovation, the exciting thing. We are artists at heart and we want to (…) push the limits as much as possible. ”
They refuse to ignore reality
As the film did, the series once again highlights the problems of racism, police violence and injustices faced by communities of color in the United States, but the poet and actor assures that there was no specific intention to denounce these types of problems, but rather that an issue that is present in all the aspects of the life of this sector of the population.
“It is an artistic and funny show, but it simply does not ignore the reality of a country to be able to achieve that humor. I think it is very novel for some people that one does not act as if systematic problems do not exist to be able to make a joke”, raises.
Added to the difficulty of producing a series was the fact that this new ‘Blindspotting’ was recorded in the midst of a pandemic in California in the last months of 2020 and early 2021, when the covid-19 was preying on the region. “That was the huge difference, that we couldn’t look each other in the face, we couldn’t see if someone was smiling, or if they were sad. We were all having a hard time with masks, and (protection) screens, and tests, and anxiety about a disease that is affecting the family and friends of many people, “he concludes.