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Sundance 2019 Exclusive: Joshua Boone Talks Rashaad Ernesto Green’s Premature

The film was co-written by and co-stars Zora Howard

Premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival was director Rashaad Ernesto Green‘s Premature, which was executive produced by Susan Kelechi Watson, and starring Zora Howard and Joshua Boone.

Ayanna is making the most out of her last summer in Harlem before heading to college. She’s bold, confident, and not really looking for love—until she meets the slightly older Isaiah. After one of those rare first dates that lasts for hours, she knows there’s something different about him. Ayanna has found herself at an intimidating crossroads: one foot is still under her mother’s roof, while the the other is primed to step out on her own with Isaiah.

Also featured in the film are Michelle Wilson, Alexis Marie Wint, Imani Lewis, and Tashiana Washington.

Boone is currently on Broadway opposite Bryan Cranston in “Network,” where he portrays Frank Hackett which was a part that was originally depicted by Robert Duvall. The Virginia native previously appeared in the Tupac Shakur musical “Holler if Ya Hear Me” in 2014. Blackfilm.com recently caught up with him to discuss his role in Premature.

You’re starring in Premature. Can you talk about your character and what was it like for you to play this role?

Joshua Boone and Zora Howard appear in Prematur by Rashaad Ernesto Green.

Joshua Boone: Isaiah is an out of towner. He just moved up to New York. About a year prior to meeting Ayana played by Zora Howard. He’s a musician, producer, that’s what he moves up to New York for and he is just finding his way in the city. When he makes his encounter with her and as for me playing the role. As a transplant. I can associate with moving from the South in particular. I’m from Virginia. Isaiah is from Raleigh North Carolina. Which is close to my area of Virginia actually. Just to move up in pursuit of something. I know what that energy feels like. I know what it is like to meet someone who is a native to the environment that you are now living in. So I was excited to bring some of that energy to the role.

Joshua Boone and Zora Howard appear in ‘Premature’ by Rashaad Ernesto Green

This is a love story that is set in Harlem. What was it like for you to be involved in that type of role where you expressing this type of interest in another character on screen?

Joshua Boone: I guess as an actor. This is something that I look forward to, you know, you look forward to showcase these type of love stories. Real grounded love stories. Coming of age love stories even, because I think that is where a lot of truth gets presented. I think that is where the greatest associations happen. Between an audience member and what is presented on screen.  It’s like okay. I know this. I’ve seen this before or I’ve lived this. I see these characters now living and going through the same thing that I am going through now. And there are so many lessons that can be drawn from that.

I was talking to your co-star. And she was talking about the journey that the audience will be taken on in this film. She also co-wrote the film. But she was talking about how not only do you see the love story. But there are also other real life issues that the characters deal with in the film. Can you talk about that?

Joshua Boone: I don’t want to give too much away. But, I had a conversation with Zora and Rashaad after watching it. And there are two scenes that happen in particular. That I wish I had seen presented this way as something I watched growing up. Because even watching myself in one or two of those moments. I learned a valuable lesson. I was like wow. If this is what this particular thing looks like or feels like. I don’t ever want to experience that. And if I have experienced it. I never want to experience it again. If that is what it looks like because there are lessons to be learned. Through the coming of age storytelling. The storytelling structure of the film. I think it is something that people will watch. There are moments that will be ingrained in people’s minds as they leave the film. Things that help us grow as individuals. Help us grow as people. I’m excited to see, hear and feel those things happen with the audience.

You’re acting in this film. You are on the big screen in a movie that is going to premiere at Sundance. But you are also working on the stage. Can you talk about your role on the stage? And what type of preparation you make for a role on the stage in comparison to working in the film. 

Joshua Boone: You know that’s a great question. Because the show that I’m doing right now. Is Network on Broadway based on the 1970’s film. Our director Evo Van Hov his staging of it involves a lot of camera work. So prior to doing the show you hear about the differences between acting in front of the camera. As opposed to being on stage. And there are differences. Noted differences but at the same time there is a lot that is the same throughout. The experience, to be on stage in front of a live audience. And have to bring that energy and at the same time sit into close-ups with the camera in front of you. You also see how similar they are…You go from a big moment to a small moment…sure.  But the energy remains the same.

I don’t think there is anything like performing live. As far as you get immediate feedback. I don’t mean gratification. I don’t mean praise. I mean emotional. Spiritual feedback from the audience. And I think if there was a preference. It would be to perform live. But my love for being in front of a camera and telling those stories.

And watching a story back with an audience. That is also becoming unrivaled in a sense. I have an immense amount of love and appreciation for both forms.

How did you get into acting? Were you introduced through a mentor who suggested that you get into acting? They saw your raw talent and suggested that you pursue that career? What was your entry into it?

Joshua Boone: My public school teachers. I moved around a lot as a kid. It seemed like wherever I moved. My teachers got me involved in some form of skit or play or storytelling situation. I always loved the movies…film and tv actually. That was always the goal. Theater was always something to do in school. I thought that stage led to film and tv. Which it does and can. But it never really was the goal. Until I got to college. I didn’t know about Broadway until I got to college. It was just the circumstances of my upbringing. I was not informed about your Julliard’s and your Yale’s and your Carnegie Mellon’s. I ended up at Virginia Commonwealth University and got an amazing education. Both in life and the artform. That prompted me to move to New York to pursue a career in both theater and film and tv. Originally I wanted to be a weather man because I love nature. I was like, okay, at least I get to be on tv. And talk about nature. That didn’t work out. I went to the Newseum in D.C. My seventh grade year in middleschool. To make a long story short. I was recorded doing this TV weather situation. I went home and watched the tape. I was trash. I was like this is stone cold trash. I love acting. I love storytelling. Im excited to be on many screens. Both big and small. And continue to be on the stage. I love it.

Do you have any other projects besides Network that you mentioned?

Joshua Boone: Any other projects now not necessarily. I’m working on my own stuff. But I’m pretty tied up with Network for some time. Which is a blessing. I’m there at least through April. That could change also depending on the way things move. I’m excited about where I am and presently working on myself. And my own material. As well as putting my bid in for other projects.

That’s the great thing about Sundance. And being in a project that is at Sundance.

Because it is a way for people to discover raw talents and new talents just through being showcased at the festival is a great opportunity in of itself.

Joshua Boone and Zora Howard appear in ‘Premature’ by Rashaad Ernesto Green

Joshua Boone: Absolutely. It’s been a goal for a minute. To be out there in all of that energy. I am thoroughly excited and I’m gonna live it up. You better believe it. We want repeat action. We would like to go every year. Year after year with projects. Working with different friends, directors, producers, whatever. I’m excited for this first time. Because you only get one first time. So I’m going to go out there and have an amazing time.   

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