Melonie Diaz On ‘Fruitvale Station’, Michael B. Jordan, Trayvon Martin [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]
Melonie Diaz stars in Fruitvale Station, produced by Forest Whitaker and also starring Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer. The film, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, tells the true story of 23-year-old Oscar Grant’s death at the hands of a police officer in the Bay Area. Diaz, who plays Grant’s girlfriend Sophina in Fruitvale Station, discussed working with Jordan and the narrative of the film’s parallels to the Trayvon Martin case in an exclusive interview with Uinterview.
Fruitvale Station follows a young man on the last day of his life. On set, Diaz reveals that Jordan provided some much-needed comic relief. “There was this scene [and] 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,” Diaz revealed. “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.’” Unfortunately for Diaz, Jordon couldn’t resist breaking her out of character and giving her a wave from the ambulance. “I just think that’s a testament to the fact that he’s obviously this incredibly talented actor, but he’s just a really great person and he’s great to work with. I see a really big future ahead of him.”
While Oscar Grant’s story wasn’t a familiar one to many, including Diaz, the entire country is familiar with the story of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Diaz thinks the two cases inspire a dialogue about race relations. “You want to talk about Emmett Till, you want to talk about Rodney King,” she told Uinterview exclusively. “I think there’s a problem with how we choose to judge each other …. I think there’s a lot of hatred and unkindness in the ways we choose to think about each other. There’s a theme.”
Diaz, duly proud of being a part of the critically acclaimed movie, feels that being in a film like Fruitvale is a rarity. “The fact that I get to work with people like Octavia, and Michael and [director] Ryan [Coogler], and working on such a project that’s so socially aware,” gushed Diaz. “It’s very rare for me as an actress where I get to be a part of something that says something.”
– Chelsea Regan
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