In a BET.com exclusive the filmmaker talks directing his first rap video and upcoming motion picture.
Veteran director Mario Van Peebles has set his sights on bringing a coming-of-age dramedy that focuses on youths in present day Los Angeles to the big screen in his next film, We the Party. In preparation of the film’s release Peebles has directed his first music video, “Cat Daddy 2.0,” for the oddball Cali group The Rej3ctz.
The viral video is basically a reenactment of the day The Rej3ctz—the ragtag crew that created the “Cat Daddy” song and dance—came into the auditions for We the Party. The video ends with a trailer for the movie, which stars many young up-and-coming musicians from the L.A. hip hop scene, including The New Boyz, YG, and Pink Dollaz. It also features Quincy Brown (Diddy’s son), Carlos Olivero (of Menudo), Van Peebles teenaged sons (The MVP Boys) and his daughter Maya. Veteran rapper Snoop Dogg will also join the eclectic cast.
Although the Van Peebles-directed New Jack City (1991) depicted a mid-to-late 80s New York City at the height of both the crack epidemic and the Reagan era, Van Peebles says he challenged himself to capture the starkly different reality of this current generation with the same acumen.
“It’s going to be a trip because this is the first generation to come of age under a Black presidency,” Van Peebles tells BET.com. “A lot of things have changed since I did New Jack and that’s what was inspiring—hanging out with my teenagers and going out with them.”
Van Peebles, who also recently directed Things Fall Apart, starring 50 Cent, says that he similarly used music as a driving force in this film. Whereas Ice-T’s “New Jack Hustler” and Guy’s “New Jack City” accompanied the New Jack City saga, the Rej3ctz “Cat Daddy” and YG’s “Truce” will highlight the more light-hearted, yet serious, times in this current film.
“I always use music in my movies almost as the third character,” says Peebles. “[With] New Jack City we did like three videos and today with We the Party we already got like five.”
However, unlike New Jack City, this film is definitely not as serious. “It’s a dramedy. It’s got the humor. There’s a little bit of House Party in there too. We have a lot of love and a lot of light so it’s not just a heavy drama but you’ll see that element come out more in the next videos.”
The film is slated for a summer release.
(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)