Exclusive: Allen Hughes Talks The Defiant Ones, Now On Blu-ray

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Exclusive: Allen Hughes Talks The Defiant Ones, Now On Blu-ray
Posted by Wilson Morales

November 28, 2017

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD  from UPHE Content Group is the four part documentary, The Defiant Ones, which chronicles unbreakable bond of trust and friendship between Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, two street-smart men from different worlds who have shaped many of the most exciting and extreme moments in recent pop culture.

Director Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents)  filmed Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre with unfettered access over a three-year period in making The Defiant Ones. The series includes extensive interviews with Dre and Iovine, who speak frankly about their highs and lows as well as interviews with major music icons including: Snoop Dogg, Bruce Springsteen, Gwen Stefani, Bono, David Geffen, Eminem, Nas, Stevie Nicks, Kendrick Lamar, Ice Cube, Jon Landau, Patti Smith, Lady Gaga, Doug Morris, Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Diddy, Alonzo Williams and will.i.am. The series also features never-before-seen footage from a multitude of recording and writing sessions with Eazy-E, JJ Fad, Stevie Nicks, N.W.A., Tom Petty, The D.O.C., Bruce Springsteen and U2, among others.

Blackfilm.com spoke with Hughes about getting this project off the ground.

How did you get involved with this?

Allen Hughes: Well, I started with Dre. We started together in 2011 on a music video called ‘I Need a Doctor’ with Eminem; and it’s more like a career retrospective. Some time after the video was shot, we came up with the idea of telling his life story and this was before Straight Outta Compton. Me and him batted around a few ideas and I took it to HBO and told them about it. They were with it immediately and in the same phone call they told me that they had greenest a Jimmy Iovine Interscope documentary about Interscope. I said, “Let me call you right back” because a light bulb went off. I have a better idea and it was The Defiant Ones.

How did you get Jimmy involved when he was already attached to another project?

AH: Well, they hadn’t done yet and I have known Jimmy for over 25 years and I have known Dre for over 25 years. I knew them both before they even met each other. I have a relationship with both and when I called Jimmy, he was with it immediately. There were other issues more challenging than him signing too that concept of the Interscope documentary.

With some new stuff in the documentary that the public didn’t know about, was it challenge to get Dre and Jimmy to open up?

AH: It depends on what the stories were. When it close to home with their families, it was difficult to get them to open up. With the others stories in the doc, people came to be real.

When you started this project, did you have an idea how you wanted to end it?

AH: That’s a funny question. There was an LA and NY premiere in late June and there were people from HBO coming up to me and telling me how incredible they thought Part 4 was, and I have never seen Part 4. The one they had was an unfinished part. The last 10 minutes came together a week before we aired. July 5th was the last day when I was working on it. It was really scary because I didn’t know how it was going to end. I knew how I wanted it to end, but we still had to cut it. You never know how it’s going to work.

How challenging was editing and balancing Dre and Jimmy’s stories?

AH: That’s a very challenging thing to balance the narratives and all that started together, especially in Parts 1, 2, and 3 six months before the release. It was still rough but we had two versions of Part 4 that I scrapped three months before the release. We had to start from scratch on that last part. That was more unnerving, but by the time we were good to go on that last part we knew what the balance of Jimmy and Dre’s stories were. We had a road map and it just needed to be cut.

Was it easier going to the other performers and get them to comment on the subjects?

AH: It was easier with the fact that most of the people who spoke still had a lot of love for Jimmy and Dre. Everyone was very patient. They all showed up. No one was a prima donna. There was a combination of factors where everyone took it seriously and I was touched by that.

Was there any toning down on the dark aspects of Jimmy and Dre’s lives?

AH: Jimmy was open about it. I don’t think there could be anything more embarrassing for Dre than the situation with Dee Barnes. That wasn’t glanced over. Even with Jimmy and some of his dealings with Death Row, he dealt with it. These guys have gigantic lives that they will probably some that ask, “Why didn’t you cover this part or that part?” We dealt head on with the stuff that was tough on them. That’s what makes the piece dynamic. It’s not a vanity piece. You can see the pain in there as well as their triumphs.

You were always known as one half of the Hughes Brothers, so what did you learn on your own as you ventured on this project solo?

AH: I learned a lot of things directing by myself and the number one I learned even when I worked with my brother is that you’re only as good as your collaborator. The guys that worked with me on The Defiant Ones stepped up, but ultimately I learned that this is a one person medium. Especially when you bring a voice to it. There can’t be two people. It has to be one voice. I got my voice back. I rediscovered the kid I was in high school. I have it in my personal life, but in the creative field, I was always sharing it with my brother. We did a lot of good things, but when you have something to say, you have to say it.

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