Legendary filmmaker Gordon Parks once said “You know, the camera is not meant just to show misery. “
That quote easily applies to my latest interview guest Marcellus Cox who recently completed his debut feature film.
Reviews & Dunn - What can you tell us about your new film, Mickey Hardaway?
MARCELLUS COX: These are always tough to answer I swear haha. It’s a Psychological Drama about a Sketch Artist who agrees to an in-house therapy session after years of physical and verbal abuse has finally taken a toll on him.
This is a project I’ve been working on since my Senior Year of High School in 05, where I’ve seen a lot of talented people like Mickey who had their dreams snatch from them and various other things and I wanted to speak on that first had because of the sickening nature society as a whole plays in these situation
Reviews & Dunn - When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in film?
MARCELLUS COX: – Right about 10 years old… The first time I watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit, I was so in amber with that film it completely took a hold of my soul and put a death grip on me that I haven’t been able to escape from since lol. I love the visual power of Storytelling and the impact that it can have on an individual, individuals, the entire world especially if it’s done with love and affection and it really has something to say
Reviews & Dunn - Your film is shot in b&w. What was the motivation behind this choice?
MARCELLUS COX: - There’s just something’s that color can’t do for cinema. Black & White brings a certain realistic viewpoint of life to the screen, putting you directly into the story itself as if you’re playing the character. It’s not just beautiful lol but it’s real, eliminating the escapism that the movies tends to give. I wanted to get rid of all the bells and whistles and put you in this story first hand and Black & White Cinema does that better than color.
Also I wanted it to match Mickey’s artwork, Black & White sketching and drawings and the beauty behind that, Mickey doesn’t see color not just in terms of race but in general because the world around him is so dark and that’s a reflection on his work.
Reviews & Dunn - How many drafts did you go through with your script?
MARCELLUS COX: - Way too many lol like more than I probably would have liked and hope for haha. If I’m including High School to Film School and then Film School to when I was on my own doing it!!!! I would say about 39/40 Drafts. One of the biggest reasons as I got ready to make it was because of budget reasons, trying to find That Million Dollars budget that didn’t exist for me lol and having to re-write to match the budget that I eventually was able to find which ended up being 30K so it was a lot of drafts… But even with that I always remain true to the story I wanted to present and I’m grateful for having to go through that experience
Reviews & Dunn - Was Rashad Hunter always your choice for the lead?
MARCELLUS COX: - Unfortunately no I had another Actor in mind but he drop out because of Covid and I understand and completely sympathize with that. So as I was going through the process of finding Mickey I saw Rashad thanks to my casting director Donny Williams and I had him do a virtual read and I liked him and he had everything I was looking for in Mickey. So we ended up doing the concept short which killed on the circuit and once I found Funding for the feature version I knew there was no one who could play this role but him and I’m beyond grateful to Rashad for his amazing performance I’m forever grateful to not only him but Stephen Cofield Jr, Ashley Parchment, David Chattam, Dennis LA White, Gayla Johnson, Samuel Whitehill, Sean Alexander James, Charlz Williams and my entire cast & crew for bringing my little crazy vision to life…. .
Reviews & Dunn - I'm a big fan of biopics. With an unlimited budget and resources whose life story would you bring to the big screen?
MARCELLUS COX: For me it would have been Fred Hampton but I got beat to production on that one unfortunately lol. I have started an outline on a story of Gordon Parks I’ve wanted to make and I hope to be done with the script by the end of 2023, I’ve always been a huge fan of Gordon and his work so that would be a dream Bio Project for me. Now I just gotta get a studio behind it and won’t kill it in the process lo
Reviews & Dunn - What advice can you offer to aspiring filmmakers?
MARCELLUS COX: - This one is hard to answer because I don’t believe I’m in the position to offer or give advice and I’m learning something new every day in this business because it’s forever changing lol. If I had to one piece of advice I would tell filmmakers to create any and everything from the heart. I get it for the casual reader it’s a business I know I know but without the art you have no business. Artist need to keep in mind that the best cinematic work is always from the heart no matter the genre if your true to yourself and what it is you want to see it will be reveled on the big screen in greater fashions then you can ever expect. So always remain true to the art form and the craft.
Reviews & Dunn - What do you hope audiences take away from the film?
MARCELLUS COX:Live your life to its absolute fullest. Go for your dreams regardless of the distractions and what society throws at you. And most importantly don’t be afraid to reach out for help, that’s the biggest take away I want for the audience. We’re living in dark times and some more than others aren’t mentally strong enough to handle disappointments and heartaches so it’s important to check on these folks and help them as much as possible but these folks also have to step up and announce these issues as well and I hope and pray that they will.
Reviews & Dunn - Are you already cooking up your next project?
MARCELLUS COX: - Been doing that and then-some lol. I’m currently working on polishing up my 2nd Feature Script Jefferson Street: It’s a Crime Drama set in 1951 East Texas following a Black Detective from Detroit who travels down to investigate the murder of his Mother at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan. I’m working on finding the funding for this so hopefully the success of Mickey Hardaway will help contribute to that, and I have a few other scripts as well that I’m working on and getting tighten up
Reviews & Dunn - Is there anything you want to add, and where can fans find you on social media?
MARCELLUS COX: - Ya’ll just really trying to be all up in my business huh lol. Folks can find me on Instagram.com/Cellusworld24, Facebook.com/marcelluscox24 and Vimeo.com/cellus24 anyone that ever wanna talk to me you can hit me anytime… Accept when the Raiders or Lakers Game is on, ain’t speaking to no one at that time lol