“I think I broke some of the structure that we’re told to put narrative film into,” said Boots Riley, writer and director of the much buzzed about film, Sorry To Bother You, which screened at SXSW. Before the screening, Riley, along with some of the cast — Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Armie Hammer, and Jermaine Fowler — dropped by the Deadline Studio to talk about his approach to the dark satiric comedy.
Set in an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success, which propels him into a macabre universe. But the unimaginable hits the fan when Cassius meets the company’s cocaine-snorting, orgy-hosting, obnoxious, and relentlessly optimistic CEO, Steve Lift (Hammer).
Per Riley, the breaking of the conventional storytelling approach was purpose-driven. “It was out of wanting to have people engage with the film in a different way and to not be able to guess exactly what’s going to happen, just like in life, so to keep people on their toes,” said the lead singer of the sociopolitical hip-hop group the Coup. Putting it simply, “there are things that are done in this film that you’re not quote-unquote supposed to do.”
Terry Crews, Tessa Thompson, and Danny Glover also star in the film, which Annapurna will release in limited theaters July 6.
Peek the video above for more of the sit-down.
The Deadline Studio at SXSW 2018 is presented by MoviePass.