The Root [TR] did an exclusive interview with ‘LOVE JONES‘ director Theodore Witcher, who since that classic movie, which will always be 1 of my all time favs, has never done another film.
He discusses the making of ‘Love Jones’ and why he’s never done another movie…check out some excerpts below…
TR: How did you cast Nia Long and Larenz Tate?
TW: I’d originally written the film with Jada Pinkett in mind, and she liked it but passed. I met Nia Long through executive Helena Echegoyen, who recommended her. The studio was keen on Larenz because he’d done Menace II Society, but he didn’t want to work with a first-time director, which I was, and I thought he was O-Dog [his character in Menace], which was not what I wrote.
He liked the script, and once I realized he wasn’t O-Dog, the only question was, could he act enough to be Darius Lovehall? Then I screen-tested he and Nia together and showed the tape to my female friends, and they all said the couple had a spark.
The Root: Why did you make Love Jones as such an atypical love story?
TW: I wanted to do something that was closer to my dating experience — there was a lot of game playing. Also, I was a part of a similar world in Chicago in the early ’90s and thought it was an interesting backdrop on which to paint this young romantic story.
The movie’s look came through a confluence of ideas by myself and my team, and the month we shot was the wettest Chicago had seen in years. Rain was written into the script, but then every other day was raining so, out of my control, the movie ended up looking like Seven.
Why he hasn’t done another movie since “Love Jones”:
TW: I intended to have a long list of credits, but I couldn’t get another movie. There has to be something that you want to do that a studio wants to pay for. I was never able to sync that up. I wanted to do ambitious films with more black people. You don’t get to do that.
Some things came my way that I passed on, and I have no regrets. I continue my career as a screenwriter and I briefly directed videos — I was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for City High’s “What Would You Do?” — and commercials, but I didn’t like them. Now I’m working on an adaptation of Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris. We’ll see what happens.
The great news is, that maybe there will be a sequel to ‘Love Jones’, as Nia Long tweeted early last month:
With such a great classic film that he created with ‘Love Jones’, I don’t understand how he wasn’t able to have more success in Hollywood. We need more films like this 1.
Read more of the full interview with this director, and the story behind that last scene in the rain…HERE!