On a mundane Sunday afternoon at The London in West Hollywood, Director X—known for curating music videos like Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and Rihanna’s “Work”—explains why he wanted to create a remake of 1972’s Superfly. The classic follows Priest (Ron O’Neal), a drug kingpin who not only runs the streets of New York City but gets his supply of cocaine from the authorities themselves. This time around, Trevor Jackson plays Priest, alongside his partner Eddie (Jason Mitchell, who also stars in The Chi).
The two-cause mayhem in the film’s Atlanta setting within the trappings of lavish luxury: fast cars, beautiful women, packed nightclubs and million dollar mansions. This is exactly what Director X wanted to create; he wasn’t interested in a story that started with humble beginnings, but instead one that showed the finer things in life.
“I wanted to make something that’s a big action film with the chases and the fights,” he tells VIBE. “Even though we start in the drug world, I didn’t want to make a movie that young kids would watch and feel like I was showing them their world—that they need to step up their gangster. You want to come and see the guy with the big house and the armed guards—the stuff that we are used to seeing from big white action movies we bring those elements in and we get one too.“
Amid the luscious homes and deep pockets, interesting relationships come into play. Priest is involved in a polyamorous arrangement with Georgia (Lex Scott Davis) and Cynthia (Andrea Londo). In addition to them all being lovers, they’re also partners in Priest’s drug ring. For Davis, she says it’s important for a character like Georgia to exist—especially for other black women.
“I think what’s important about seeing a woman like Georgia is the fact that she is intelligent enough to know where she is, and what circumstance she’s put herself in,” Davis says. “She is a chameleon. She knows how to be amongst the mayor, and be professional and have poise. But then also knows how to come home and tell it like it is when it’s time. There’s a time and place for everything. And I think that by depicting her, in that essence of knowing which hat to wear is key because often times some people who don’t know that you have to play the room a bit can often times get in their own way and block their blessings.”
VIBE also sat down with Jackson and Mitchell to discuss their roles, and why Superfly is different from other films within its same genre.