AFI Movie Club: DOPE – American Film Institute

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AFI Movie Club: DOPE

DOPE, a coming-of-age caper directed by Rick Famuyiwa and produced by Forest Whitaker and Pharrell Williams, was shot by AFI alum and Oscar®-nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison (AFI Class of 2006).

In this exclusive AFI Archive video, watch Rachel Morrison talk about working on the film:

 

Movie Trivia about DOPE

DID YOU KNOW?

Pharrell Williams was the first person on board before director Rick Famuyiwa even had a script. The two met through their agents at WME. Williams not only co-produced the film but also was on hand to produce all the original music for the DOPE trio’s band, Awreeoh.

DID YOU KNOW?

Even with Forest Whitaker and Pharrell Williams attached as producers, the movie struggled to find support with Hollywood studios, so director Rick Famuyiwa ultimately made it independently.

DID YOU KNOW?

The character of Malcolm is modeled on director Rick Famuyiwa’s adolescence in Inglewood, California. Famuyiwa said, “Malcolm’s point of view is one of my own, not wanting to be defined or categorized. He was definitely my double on screen.”

DID YOU KNOW?

To get into character, actor Shameik Moore watched BOYZ IN THE HOOD and JUICE with co-star Kiersey Clemons and BELLY and THE WOOD with A$AP Rocky. He also listened to ‘90s hip-hop.

DID YOU KNOW?

DOPE was the first film to accept bitcoins for movie ticket purchases at more than 900 theaters in the U.S., a reference to the film’s own plot.

DID YOU KNOW?

The film marked A$AP Rocky’s film debut. He was cast in the movie as Dom after helping then-girlfriend Chanel Iman run her lines.

DID YOU KNOW?

Costume Designer Patrik Milani researched Instagram accounts of youths from Inglewood to get inspiration for DOPE. He also referenced YO! MTV RAPS and Jamel Shabazz’s BACK IN THE DAYS for the film’s ’90s-inspired fashion.

DID YOU KNOW?

DOPE was selected to close the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

DID YOU KNOW?

After DOPE premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, there was a fierce bidding war among Fox Searchlight, Focus Features, the Weinstein Company and A24 with Open Road and Sony eventually winning the rights.

DID YOU KNOW?

Once DOPE secured distribution with Open Road, the director was able to secure the rights to a lot of the music that he had envisioned for the movie.

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-How is DOPE an unconventional coming-of-age film? What is your favorite coming-of-age film?

-How does Rick Famuyiwa create nuanced Black characters in DOPE? How is the film a response to Famuyiwa feeling stereotyped as a Black director in Hollywood?

-Malcolm and his best friends Jib and Diggy lean into their geekiness as teenaged high schoolers. How do they redefine geek culture? How does DOPE recast the outsiders as the heroes of the film?

-How is technology used throughout the film and what is the role of bitcoin and the Dark Web?

-How did the filmmakers embody the characters love of ‘90s hip-hop in the film? How did they use nostalgic music to transport the audience?

-Rick Famuyiwa cast actors who were mostly fresh faces at the time in DOPE. Do you find this to be effective? Why or why not? What other major projects has the young cast, including Shameik Moore, Kiersey Clemons and Lakeith Stanfield, gone on to be involved with?

-Why do you think Famuyiwa had such a difficult time getting financial backing from any Hollywood studio?

-Why did the film resonat so much coming out of Sundance?

-How would you rate DOPE?

New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

Learn more in our FAQ section.

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