Boots Riley, the writer and director of Annapurna Picture’s Sorry To Bother You, released five albums as the lead vocalist of hip-hop group the Coup between 1993 and 2006. The Oakland-based collective has included a mix of members over the decades, including their DJ the late Pam the Funktress. The Coup’s music included biting and visual commentary on politics and capitalism in America, so it’s really no surprise that Riley is the mind behind Hollywood’s most rebellious and unexpected film since Get Out. The dramedy, about a telemarketer named Cassius Green and his ascension to the top of the corporate ladder, borrows its name and themes from the Coup’s most recent project, released in 2012. Riley insists that making film was actually his first love, but the music always mirrored his passion for storytelling. Nevertheless, as he expressed in a tweet, there are tangible benefits to making movies over music.
“Hopefully it means that I have to tour less. You know?” Riley tells BET.com. “Although I love performing, I don’t like being away from friends and family. I’ve gone 20-something years without a vacation.”
In addition to spending less time on the road, there are financial benefits to working in Hollywood that can’t be ignored.
“If you’re getting paid pennies, you gotta collect a lot of them. I think that will be a change in my life that’ll be different. But also, I get to create a whole world. I do that with the music anyway ‘cause we’re known for story songs and I’m tryna create a world, but this is, I get to kidnap people for an hour and a half. Give you the life experiences. However crazy they need to be that I wanna give you.”
Sorry To Bother You will be in select theaters on July 6 and nationwide July 13.
Photo Credits: Annapurna Pictures