In “Vincent N Roxxy,” a small town loner and a rebellious punk rocker unexpectedly fall in love as they are forced on the run. They soon discover violence follows them everywhere. On April 18, byteclay.com was on the red carpet for the world premiere at Bow Tie Cinemas. Stars Emile Hirsch, Zoë Kravitz, Emory Cohen, Zoey Deutch, Jason Mitchell, Beau Knapp and Scott Mescudi were in attendance in addition to producer and composer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. The film was co-written and directed by Gary Michael Schultz. “What really inspired this film is that people really don’t make films like this these days. I was really cinematically inspired by movies from the seventies. Films like “Badlands,” “Taxi Driver,” “Five Easy Pieces,” films that really felt like they had the voice of America, and I kind of wanted to see what they looked like today. Also, life. The environments you live in, the experiences you have. We filmed in Louisiana, in and around Baton Rouge, some parts in New Orleans.”
When asked about the stellar cast, he said “I’m in love with this cast. We fought really hard for this cast. It was really made possible by Mary Vernieu and my producing team led by Keith Kjarval. To be honest, the role was written for Zoe Kravitz. She was always in mind. I always wanted her to be my Roxxy. And then from there, I’ve been a huge fan of Emile Hirsch’s for a really long time, from ‘Into the Wild’ and on and I’ve never really seen him play a character, this consummate loner, quite like this one. So, to put those two together was really where it started and then just bringing in real actors that were special. People that were powerhouses, like Emory Cohen, Zoey Deutch, Beau Knapp, Jason Mitchell, Kid Cudi — Scott Mescudi —to come play a character you’ve never seen him do. So, for a lot of us, it was just kind of getting out of our comfort zone and trying to do something really truthful and authentic.”
When asked about working with Questlove, Schultz said, “Questlove is a genius. Musically, he’s pretty much limitless. I was introduced to him through Zoe. He read the script and he was a really big fan of the material. And he watched the film and he said: ‘I want to get down with this.’ I was floored to have somebody of his caliber score a film like this. It changed the way everything felt in the movie. It enhanced everything. Music can effect the images and be so special and just change the way everything is. With Quest it was interesting, because he had never done anything like this, either. As much as he’s done from plays to music, to other types of television and film, so to get him also to do something really unique and special it was just one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had.” Read our exclusive cast interviews below:
Shaina Moskowitz: So, tell me a little bit about the tumultuous journey your character Ms. Roxxy takes?
Zoe Kravitz: Ms. Roxxy. I think she’s a really innocent being. I think she comes from a lot of darkness. I think her past is really dark and I think she’s just trying to be a happy person and for some reason, whatever her karma is, the violence and drama kind of seems to follow her, and she has to face that and become the warrior that she needs to become to live in that environment.
SM: And writer/director Gary Michael Schultz said that he wrote this for you. Can you speak about collaborating with him as both a writer and director?
ZK: Gary is amazing. I think Roxxy is a collection of women from his past and women that he has known. But I think that when he was then thinking of who to cast, he thought of me and he was very collaborative. I mean, really every scene, if things didn’t feel right or feel natural, he was so open to just figuring out what was right because he wanted the film to be as great as it could be. He was so emotionally attached to this project and it was just so lovely to see someone who had such a passion for it.
SM: And speak about working with Emile Hirsch?
ZK: Emile is wonderful. I’ve been a big fan of his for a very long time, so when I heard he was going to play Vincent I was really excited. Yeah, the connection was great because so much of the story is about the love connection between Vincent and Roxxy and if that doesn’t exist, then the whole film kind of falls apart.
SM: And lastly, speak about Questlove doing the music. I know he’s one of your good friends, speak to me about that.
ZK: Yeah, once the film was done me and Gary were talking about music a little bit and what the vibe was and scoring and he had some ideas and I was just like: “I have this friend and he hasn’t scored a lot of films, but I know he’s interested in it. I just know that he’s such a music nerd and a film nerd, I think he’d really nail it and understand the world that we’re trying to create.” So [Questlove] read the script, and the texts I was getting as he reading the script were: “Oh my God! Oh my God! What’s going to happen next?” He was so invested in it, besides him being a genius and my friend. But, also, it’s just his enthusiasm—his genuine enthusiasm in this film. You know, independent filmmaking is all about enthusiasm. If you don’t love it, it doesn’t work. So, the fact that he really wanted to do it, and loved the story as much as I did, was why I was like, yes. The film is a different thing because of him.
SM: Congratulations on this project. Speak about collaborating with Gary on it.
Scott Mescudi: It’s been an interesting journey, just being able to collaborate with people that are artists, too, and creative and forward-thinking. And this role for me is different. I’ve never done anything like this before. So, anybody that approaches me about something that’s a little bit outside the norm because people like to put you in a box, I’m always open. It came out of left field. I wasn’t expecting it. My first, I guess you could say… villainous role? I don’t think he’s a bad guy.
SM: People might think it?
SM: Yeah, yeah. I’ve been saying I think he’s more so a victim of circumstance and they all are. It’s crazy, without giving too much away.
SM: There’s some impressive musicians involved with this: Zoe and Questlove. Can you speak on collaborating with them?
SM: I’ve known Zoe for a while. I knew we’d work eventually, but never in this way [laughs]. So, that’s always amazing when things like this happen. You never really know. You know maybe you might work with someone, but you don’t even know how and it’s like in such a violent way [laughs]. So, it’s crazy. We’ve been cool. It was actually tough shooting the early stages for me. This is my friend, you know? Questlove, I didn’t really get a chance to hang with him on set or anything like that, but I’ve known him a while, and he’s always been a f-ing great guy. I’m actually hoping to grab a drink with him tonight. Actually, I heard that when he saw the first cut of it, he was like “man, this movie makes me hate Cudi” [laughs]. I was like sh-t.
SM: And also, we’re very excited because you dropped new music with Mike WiLL Made-It. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
SM: Well, let’s just say that there’s more goodness to come.
SM: Tell me a little bit about your role in this one.
Emory Cohen: So, it’s called “Vincent-N-Roxxy,” right? So then there’s JC, who’s Vincent’s brother. And that’s kind of this colorful, rural guy from a small town in Illinois who likes to start his Sunday morning off with a Miller Light. Those kinds of real gregarious characters you can find in those small towns who’ve never left the five-mile radius and stuff.
SM: I feel like there’s a common thread between at least “Beneath the Harvest Sky” and “Place Beyond the Pines” and this film. Do you feel like there’s any similarity in the environments, or not really?
EC: I do the “bad guy” thing well. I can do the “sweet guy” thing like in “Brooklyn,” but I don’t shy away from things that people would find unattractive in characters, that’s not how I work. So, I think that what you’re saying, that I would agree with, is that I don’t have a problem with being ugly on film. I don’t have a problem with my characters being real for the sake of a happy ending.
SM: And speak about collaborating with Gary as both the writer and director and what you love about his directing style?
EC: Well with Gary, we got on the phone after I had found an idea for the character, and we could tell we were cut from the same cloth. We liked the same kinds of films, he was from Chicago, I was from New York. We weren’t in this for the red carpet and sh-t. We weren’t in this for all that. We were in this to make a movie. And now Gary, and Keith, and Tyler—those are the guys I hang out with out in LA, they’re really my friends. We’re making another movie together this summer as well. So, it’s just working with my buddies.
SM: Since I didn’t get to talk to you about “Brooklyn,” can you reflect on that project? It had a great awards season. It was a beautiful film.
EC: It was a great opportunity. I just look at it as, you know, you hear about a door, and then you can see the door, then maybe you can knock softly on the door, and push it. I’m in some process of getting there. Ten years of my career, kind of the culmination is “Brooklyn” with “Place Beyond the Pines” in between and all those kinds of films. For me, I’m just trying to build a career that I’m proud of, that I think is tasteful and reflects the kinds of stories I want to tell.
SM: Tell us about your character.
Beau Knapp: I play Darryl the kind of villain of this thing. He’s the lead singer of a death metal band. It doesn’t end well for him.
SM: How was working with Emile?
BK: He’s so talented. We really got along well.
SM: What about Zoe?
BK: She’s so talented and beautiful. Everyone was fantastic.
SM: What did you love about this story?
BK: You don’t just get films like this a lot, you know? Truly badass like “Mean Streets” or “Badlands” or any of these things, you don’t see these kinds of films a lot.
SM: What do you have coming up next?
BK: I got “Nice Guys” coming out with Gosling and Russell Crowe. I’ve got “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” the Ang Lee film. It’s some good stuff.
Following the screening, the cast in addition to Nicholas Hoult, Analeigh Tipton, Jackie Cruz, and Avan Jogia celebrated the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of “Vincent N Roxxy” at an official after-party at Black Market with beverages provided by Bira 91. Questlove was on the turntables. Earlier in the evening, Drake Doremus, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Pruss, Romana Singer, Todd DiCiurcio and Constantine Maroulis celebrated the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of “Equals” at Le Bain. It was presented by AT&T.