Is ‘Superfly’ a remake? Here’s what Joel Sliver told us
The producer talks us through its differences to the original, the film’s fashion and why Trevor Jackson was perfect for Youngblood Priest
Joel Silver has been looking to produce Superfly for close to 20 years.
So even when he was given just 6 months to bring the story to screen he still jumped at the opportunity.
But is this new version of “Superfly” really a remake? Or does it differ so wildly from Gordon Parks, Jr’s cult 1972 classic that it probably should have changed title?
I recently had the chance to speak to Silver about the film, during which time I asked him that very question.
“We took the essence of the old movie. It is a guy trying to get out of it. Yes, we have seen this idea a lot of times since then. But we just tried to bring a contemporary feel to it. A very now feeling.”
“I think we did that. It has elements of the original story, but it really is elements that could only happen today.”
“We have like 4 antagonists, which is rare for a movie, as people kick themselves out trying to come up with good bay guy plots. And we had four to contend with, in the rival gang, the former mentor, the shady cops and the cartel, who weren’t a part of the original movie and we brought into it.”
“It evolves into an interesting kind of soufflé, all of these things come together and work together and deliver together.”
If “Superfly” was going to have any chance of rivaling the original film Silver, its writer Alex Tse and director Director X had to make the perfect choice for the leading role of Youngblood Priest, who was originally played by Ron O’Neal.
They landed on the statuesque Trevor Jackson, who had the “young and fresh” qualities they desired.
“We wanted someone who could bring their own persona, too. He really inhabits Youngblood. We wanted someone who could give us something special. Even though he plays someone who is a little older than he is, as he is just 21-years-old.”
“We wanted people that felt fresh, and people you hadn’t seen before. Sure you have seen Michael K Williams and Jason Mitchell before, but we wanted people that made it feel new and different.”
Just as important was the style and fashion of Youngblood, and Silver admitted that they had “long discussions about his hair and the wardrobe and the clothes he wore.”
“He walked in and he just looked great in all of the clothes. Trevor just made it feel like that is what Priest should look like today. He worked so hard to create the character, and I think everyone else fed off him.“
The discussions over the attire for every other character were just as lengthy, too. “The idea of Snow Patrol came from the writer Alex, and we wanted to have all of these guys dressed in white. They were a little bit like Storm Troopers.”
“The idea of them being that they are this big rival gang. Big Bank Black and Kaala Walker really helped to make these guys flashy and the opposite kind of characters to Priest, who is not flashy at all and is restrained and has a moral code. Priest is very into his own place and time.”
You can savor all of these fashion choices, and applaud just how cool and stylish Trevor Jackson is as Youngblood, now, as “Superfly” is finally in cinemas.