EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Tessa Thompson and Teyonah Parris Talk 'Dear White People'

Thursday, 16 October 2014 14:31
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Opening in theaters on October 17th is the new film from first time writer/director Justin Simien entitled Dear White People. The movie stars Tyler James Williams (TV's Everybody Hates Chris), Tessa Thompson (For Colored Girls), Kyle Gallner (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Teyonah Parris (They Came Together), Brandon P. Bell (Mission: Impossible III), Marque Richardson (TV's True Blood), and Dennis Haysbert (TV's 24, Heat). 

IAR's Managing Editor Jami Philbrick recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Tessa Thompson and Teyonah Parris to talk about their work on Dear White People. The talented young actresses discussed their new movie, how junket interviews are like speed dating, their characters' identity crisis, being in an entertaining and educational film, and working with writer/director Justin Simien

To watch our exclusive interview with Tessa Thompson and Teyonah Parris about Dear White People, please click on the video player above. 

As an added bonus, IAR also spoke to actor Marque Richardson (via email) about Dear White People. Here is what he had to say:

IAR: Can you talk about the film's theme of identity crisis and how it relates to your character?

Marque Richardson: That’s exactly what I feel this film is, a giant bowl of "identity crisis gumbo”. A giant reflection of ourselves, the human condition and our own identity crises. One of the things I hope audiences get from Dear White People is that it’s okay to just be yourself amongst anyone, anywhere and at all hours of the day. As for my character Reggie, he’s like a modern day Malcolm X mixed with the character Buggin’ Out from Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. He’s this strong black militant man who’s all about the cause of “bringing Black back to Winchester.” However, Reggie defers a lot of his responsibility on the other characters of the film. For instance, knowing deep down he should be the one leading running for house president but deflects that on to Sam. Another example is when Reggie knows he should lead in breaking up the black face party but yet again defers that responsibility on to Lionel. Reggie’s identity crisis is that he runs from his calling. 

What does it mean to you to be in a film that is entertaining but also has something important to say about society?

Richardson:  It’s honor to be apart of this movement. This is one of the proudest moments and projects of my career. To be apart of an entertaining film that makes you think, laugh, reflect and converse is rare. To have been able to do that with a group of people I care about was icing on the cake. Amidst world current events, I think it’s divine timing. 


The lives of four black students (WilliamsThompsonParris, and Bell) at an Ivy League college converge after controversy breaks out due to the ill-conceived theme of the campus humor magazine's annual Halloween party.

Dear White People opens in theaters on October 17th. 

To watch our exclusive interview with director Justin Simien about Dear White People, please click here

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