The Chicago International Film Festival is an annual film festival held every fall. Founded in 1964, it is the longest-running competitive film festival in North America.
Mr. Sophistication stars Harry Lennix, Tatum O'Neal, Robert Patrick, Richard Brooks, Gina Torres, Rick Fox, Bruce McGill and Paloma Guzmán.
The film deals with "a comedian, Ron Waters, who is a Richard Pryor-type of entertainer who makes commentary about the world rather than one-liners. After a self-imposed exile from Hollywood, Ron is back."
For more info on the screenings see the Chicago International Film Festival, listing for the film here
Check out the Official Website @ http://www.mrsophisticationmovie.com/
Danny Green is a personal friend of mine and my social network followers will know him as #MyDirectorFriendFromLA because he didn't want me to say too much about the film before he was ready.
I have to state because I was asked, I had nothing to do with the production of the film. I just supplied my friend with marketing advice. I’ve been sort of a “social media/marketing consultant” for the film after the fact.
I’ve also seen the film and I’ve given him some advice on the trailer and such. I will write a review for the film soon and I will keep it as honest as possible even though he is a friend of mine.
Until then you can check out the film’s star Ron Waters on social media (I had no hand in any of Ron’s stuff online either. That’s all Ron.)
UPDATE OCTOBER 2012
I really enjoyed “Mr. Sophistication.” For Ron Waters, are you naturally that smooth, or did you have to do some research to get to that point?
[Laughs.] Well, first of all, I want to thank you for your review. It’s extremely nice and you were kind to us and we really appreciate it. I’m glad you liked the movie most of all because it confirms some things that we’ve been waiting to hear for a long time. ... We started it about three years ago. To answer your question, Harry Lennix is not [as] smooth as Ron Waters. [Laughs.] When I was a single man I didn’t walk around with a black suit on and a lot of pomade in my hair or anything. I think I have a bit of Ron Waters in me from people I’ve observed. I was never the smooth guy with lines or anything but I’m fairly witty, so I’m probably a little more—I can’t say off the cuff ‘cause Ron’s very off the cuff too. I’m a little more deliberative. [Laughs.] I can focus in a little bit more than Ron.
Danny wrote the part specifically for you. Why do you think he wrote it this way? I’m unclear if this is based on a true story.
It is insofar as an amalgamation of personalities and biographical figures, but there was no guy named Ron Waters. It’s our kind of blending, or Danny’s blending, of a guy by the name of Jon Edwards, who actually is one of the producers, Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce. So somebody that can flow on stage talking about real events in real time. And is crazy, like most comedians, but has a kind of definite smooth style or veneer that he puts on, this suit of armor. So he’s really a mix of all of those personalities. So in that sense it’s based on real people, although not on a true story so to speak.
How do you think the fact that Danny was writing for you influenced how he wrote the character?
I am not convinced that Danny was writing it entirely for me. Danny says that he wrote this for me, I believe him of course, but I based a lot of the character, in terms of the execution, on Danny Green. So a lot of his rhythm in terms of his way of speech, that’s really Danny Green, or the pronunciation of certain words. That’s my take on how Danny hears it in his head. An actor’s real responsibility I believe and I think the responsibility of at least the theater and practitioners of it is to achieve the vision of the playwright. It may not be exactly what the playwright had in mind, per se, but what was the playwright or what was the writer, what is the story really getting at? What is the essence of it? To that extent I’ve taken on from time to time characters I would otherwise not play just because I could get behind the story, but in this case I was getting behind both a story and a character. I think the story is reflective of a lot of men in our society, particularly black men who need basically to put on a suit of armor. In this case you’ve got this armor of outward civility and so forth but he’s incapable of lying when he’s on the stage. I think that’s the ultimate quest of the artist is to always be in the truth when he’s on the stage.