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August 2008
THE LONGSHOTS | An Interview with Director Fred Durst

An Interview with Director Fred Durst
By Wilson Morales

August 18, 2008

Nowadays, going from music to film is a natural progression. Some artists take baby steps in taking on small supporting roles, while only a few are chosen to headline an entire vehicle based on popularity. For Fred Durst, front man of Limp Bizkit, he wasn’t to act in a film; he wanted to direct one. What’s a guy from a metal band looking to do in the film business? He first caught the attention of many when his debut feature ‘The Education of Charlie Banks’ premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. When you see that he’s directing a football film based on a true story as his second film, you have to say to yourself that this guy is really serious.

Durst’s next film is ‘The Longshots’, which is based on a true story about a poor Illinois town who comes together behind the local Pop Warner football team and their unlikely quarterback, Jasmine Plummer (Keke Palmer), the first female in Pop Warner football history. Under the tutelage of her uncle Curtis (Ice Cube), a former high school football star, Jasmine leads her team, the Harvey Colts, to the Pop Warner Super Bowl and inspires the town of Wallace to reclaim some of its former glory.

In speaking to blackfilm.com, Durst talked about his attraction for the project, working with Ice Cube and Keke Palmer, and the challenging aspects of making this film.

What attracted you to this project?

Fred Durst: Well, I always wanted to be a film director, and along the way I had a wonderful time with the success of music, and I think it was a natural stepping stone for me to be behind the camera. This project had passion and it got to me through my agents and I read it, saw that it had a heart and I understood the character, and became interested. Ice Cube was attached already and I met with him and he spoke about his character and where he wanted to take this movie, and we just took off from there because that’s what I wanted to do.

This film is based on a true story but it is also being labeled as a comedy. Do you see it that way?

FD: Absolutely not.

How much liberty did you take with the story?

FD: Well, the true story s about the girl and her becoming the first female making it on a football team. That the Pop Warner team goes to the super bowl is also true. Everything else surrounding that is where the film plot gets written.

Having known Ice Cube for some years, how is it directing him in a film?

FD: I thought it was a focused experience. He’s very serious about acting and filmmaking. He’s very talented. I’m very happy that he trusted me and my vision for the film. One of my goals for the film was that we have great chemistry with each other. I look forward to making a dramatic, non-family film with him.

With Keke Palmer beating out so many potentials for the lead role, what did you want her to bring into this film?

FD: Keke just brought a lot of presence herself and she’s very talented. There’s just something about her that felt right. After meeting several girls, she just came in, and I knew she could take it to where I wanted to take it. Jasmine Plummer is very vulnerable and innocent, and I saw that Keke was very serious about her acting and with everyone I saw, still felt Keke was right for the part. The relationship between her and Ice Cube on the screen is very powerful. I’m really happy with the result.

How was it shooting in Shreveport, Louisiana?

FD: It was hot and cold and it was freezing during pre-production, and really hot when I went back to finish up. It’s really interesting because so many jobs are there now because of the tax incentive. That’s why everybody is shooting there. It’s becoming like a mini-Hollywood there. I love the South. I’m from the South. I’m from North Carolina so I know the climate and everyone was cool down there.

What would you say was the most challenging aspect of shooting this film?

FD: When you are working with kids, the most challenging part is the time restraint. They could only work a certain amount of hours, so you are fighting the clock all the time. It takes a lot of time to get a shot together and it could take forever. Time is the most important thing when you are shooting a film. That’s part of the process, how to learn manage and work with time.

What about filming the football sequences?

FD: We didn’t do too many takes on those, primarily because we didn’t have much time. I wanted more to tell the story but it became hard when you have to switch cameras and film sequences. Luckily we worked with a real football team and ran a few takes and all were on point, but the sport is really a backdrop to the film. The story is about the relationship between Ice Cube and Keke’s characters.

Where are you with your music career?

FD: I’m very focused on being a filmmaker and have a long journey ahead of me and I’m really excited about it. I’m always making music.

Why should anyone see ‘The Longshots’?

FD: I think they should go see ‘The Longshots’ because there is a lot of heart in this film. You want to get a good feeling at the end and I liked that this movie does that. It’s a sweet story and had a good script, and based on a true story and Ice Cube is amazing in it and so is Keke Palmer.



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