Melonie Diaz Video Interview On 'Fruitvale Station,' Michael B. Jordan, Trayvon Martin
Melonie Diaz stars along side Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer in Fruitvale Station. Co-produced by Forest Whitaker, the film tells the true story of 22-year-old Oscar Grant III’s life (Jordan) on the day that he is killed by a police officer at a Bay Area train station on New Years Day 2009.
Diaz, who had breakthrough roles in Lords of Dogtown (2005) and A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints (2006), didn't know about the Grant case before signing on to do the film. “I couldn’t believe this happened and I had no idea about it. We’re such a media obsessed country, and I wasn’t sure why this didn’t come in front of me,” she told Uinterview exclusively.
Fruitvale Station premiered in wake of the George Zimmerman verdict for the shooting of Trayvon Martin, and Diaz thinks that reflects poorly on our society. “I think it says that there’s an obvious issue with our judicial system you know, and I think it goes further back it’s like you want to talk about Emmett Till wanna talk about Rodney King,” she said. “I think, I think there’s a problem with how we choose to judge each other.”
- Q: Did you know the story of Oscar Grant before you took this role? - Uinterview
- A: No I didn’t, I got the script Ryan’s agent sent it to me, and I read it and I thought it was a narrative because it was like this well structured script and all these weird coincidences of it being his mothers birthday and the day he died, and I couldn’t believe this happened. I had no idea about it — we’re such a media obsessed country and I wasn’t sure why this didn’t come in front of me.
- Q: This story has similarities to the recent Trayvon Martin case. What do you think this says about our society? - Uinterview
- A: I think it says that there’s an obvious issue with our judicial system, and I think it goes further back it’s like you want to talk about Emmett Till you know wanna talk about Rodney King. I think there’s a problem with how we choose to judge each other and the issue of like racial profiling you know a couple weeks ago Forest Whittaker was in a store and somebody thought he was stealing something. I think there’s a lot of kind of hatred and unkindness in the ways we choose to think about it each other. There’s a theme, and I’m not sure if it’s the that way we choose to raise our children or it’s the people we’re choosing to be our jurors. I don’t have the answer to that but I’m obviously incredibly furious about it.
- Q: What’s your most memorable moment working with Michael B. Jordan? - Uinterview
- A: I mean this is like — this is kind of like a joke. And I mean this isn’t a funny movie but with all this depressing stuff there has to be some kind of fun [laughs]. Well there was this scene when obviously he was upstairs and I was downstairs and so I told Mike that day I said, ‘Mike like you can't be around me. You need to respect me!’ because he makes me laugh obviously and we have a great time with each other. And so I told him — I said, ‘Just don’t look at me just be on the gurney and leave me alone because I have to be in a head space.’ And so like I see him and he’s in like the ambulance and he like does like this [makes gesture] and waves at me and I’m like ‘God----- it Michael! Why would you do that?’ [laughs] and completely broke my conversation. But I just think that’s a testament to the fact that he’s obviously like this incredibly talented actor but he’s just a really great person and he’s great to work with and I see a really big future ahead of him.
- Q: Does this role stand out as a professional high point? - Uinterview
- A: It feels like it — the fact that I get to work with people like Octavia, and Michael and [director] Ryan [Coogler] and you know working on such a project that’s so socially aware, its very rare for me as an actress where I get to be a part of something that says something and it's kind of topical and for me too this is the most dramatic thing I’ve ever done and I really think personally fell like I dug deep for it, and I’m really proud of my work, and I rarely say that.
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