Bryan Stevenson on Just Mercy, the film inspired by his life

bryan stevenson just mercy jamie foxx michael b jordan daniel destin cretton when they see us death penalty walter mcmillan

When [it was] proposed that a movie be made, to be honest I was apprehensive. I wasn’t confident that a Hollywood interpretation of the story would be appropriate – I’ve seen [similar] movies that, for me, were disappointing.

But when I met Destin [Daniel Cretton] our director, and when Michael B Jordan got involved, we all had a great conversation about it – and they were all aligned in trying to do this right, and that gave me the confidence to move forward.

This, I think, is perhaps the most nervous I’ve ever been before an interview – talking to actors, writers and directors is easy, but a “real” person, a civil rights lawyer with “real” life experiences? That felt like an entirely more momentous interview.

Luckily for me, though, Bryan Stevenson was a very friendly, and very assured, presence (which is not massively surprising, in hindsight), so I was very much put at ease throughout. Possibly you can tell, possibly not – I refuse to actually watch these video interviews, I find it much too awkward, so maybe I do look very nervous throughout. But I felt less nervous, which was good.

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Michael Chabon, Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman and Kirsten Beyer on Star Trek: Picard, what it means to treat Star Trek as a franchise, and more

star trek picard michael chabon interview alex kurtzman akiva goldsman kirsten beyer executive producers franchise

Between the four of them, Michael Chabon, Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman and Kirsten Beyer have written a lot of Star Trek: novels, comic books, films, and, of course, television. The series isn’t just that anymore – over fifty years after the original Star Trek was quietly moved to Friday nights and eventually cancelled, it’s now the jewel in the crown of CBS All Access, and a major international acquisition for Amazon Prime. That little television show has grown into an empire.

Or, put another way, it’s a franchise.

“It’s interesting this word ‘franchise’, right?” muses Kurtzman. “Because it feels like a very – Michael used an excellent word the other day – a very mercantile term, where everything is about ‘okay, we can sell this and we can sell that’. But I actually don’t think that’s what it’s about for any of us. I think that’s someone else’s job. Our job is to create great stories and figure out how to use all these different mediums to tell them in interesting ways.”

I’m really, really pleased with this one, actually – it is, I think, my favourite of the four Star Trek: Picard interviews I’ve done this week. Certainly, I think it’s the most insightful and most worthwhile as a piece of writing on its own terms – I’m particularly proud of what I was able to build out of the roundtable interview here.

Take a look!

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