North Texas Daily

Celebrity Q&A: LUV

Celebrity Q&A: LUV

January 17
20:41 2013

Preston Barta
Staff Writer

Rapper-turned-actor Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., better known by his stage name Common, first made his way into the music world in 1992 with his debut album “Can I Borrow a Dollar?”

Winning several Grammys along the way, Common later became a successful actor, starring in many films and television shows, including “Wanted” (2008), AMC’s series “Hell on Wheels” (2011) and now “LUV.”

In his excellent new drama, written and directed by the talented newcomer Sheldon Candis, Common gives a powerful performance and stars alongside Michael Rainey Jr., Danny Glover and Dennis Haysbert (the voice of the Allstate commercials).

“LUV,” a fictionalized account of actual events that occurred in Candis’ life, tells the story of an 11-year-old boy named Woody (Rainey Jr.) who gets a lesson in what it means to be a man when he spends a day with his Uncle Vincent (Common), an ex-convict that he idolizes.

The North Texas Daily recently had a chance to speak with Common, Rainey Jr., Candis and producer Jason Michael Berman (“Seven Days in Utopia,” 2011) on the red carpet at the AMC Northpark 15 in Dallas.

I wanted to ask you about the title of the film, and what it means to you and in the context of the film?

CANDIS: Oh, wow. Yes, sir. Originally the title was “Learning Uncle Vincent.” And as me and Justin Wilson, my writing partner, continued to write more and more, one day I stacked the title “Learning Uncle Vincent” as “LUV.” Justin and I were like, “Wow. This is actually what this film is about.” This is the deeper meaning of the movie; it’s about love. It may be misguided love, it may be dysfunctional— but ultimately, it’s about a boy loving his uncle. In return, his uncle trying his hardest to express that love, but really having a hard time seeing it through in this day with this kid.

BERMAN: Yeah. Very similar to what [Candis] said. It’s obviously a story about father figures and mentors, and the love that they try to show for the people that they care about. And because the love is kind of shown in a very unique way— it doesn’t always come across as the right way— I think having it be “L-U-V” instead of “L-O-V-E” just kind of expresses that connotation that it is a different type of love. Like what [Candis] said, a dysfunctional kind of love.

You assembled a powerhouse cast here, what was it like working with all those individuals?

BERMAN: It was incredible! You know, we made this movie for well under a million dollars. And to be able to have all these incredible actors come out and support this film from the first attached actor, Charles S. Dutton all the way to Michael Kenneth Williams, Dennis Haysbert and Meagan Good. And obviously Common, Michael Rainey and Danny Glover— it was a dream come true for [Candis and me]. I don’t think we ever thought we would be in Baltimore making a movie with the cast that we ended up assembling for such a low budget film.

You play the kind of uncle that every kid wants to have – one that treats him or her like an adult. However, on the flipside, there is probably not a parent out there that wants their kid to have an uncle like this. When you were young, did you have anyone in your life that you idolized like the character Woody did in the film?

Common: Oh yeah. For sure, man. I mean, my uncle, my god brother— I looked up to all those individuals. Just older cats that had a little bit of wisdom, a little bit of street knowledge— the cool factor. I looked up to those people. My uncle and my god brother were definitely two of the main people. Then you even had people from the neighborhood that I didn’t know well, but they were still people I looked up to.

There are a lot of great actors in this film, how was it working with all these actors?

RAINEY JR: It was exciting to work with all these legends and great actors. It was a terrific experience.

There’s a scene where you are learning to drive a car for the first time. How was that experience? And does your family allow you to drive any, even though you are currently 12-years-old?

RAINEY JR: No. [Laughs] My parents never let me drive. However, it was a fun experience on set to drive for the first time. It was exciting.

I heard that you like to play music, specifically the piano. Did you ever breakout into song with Common, since he’s well known for his music talents?

RAINEY JR: No. Well, we rapped together a bit, which was fun. We had a good time on the set together. But as far as playing piano goes, not really.

“LUV” opens at AMC Northpark 15, The Parks at Arlington 18 and Mesquite 30 today.

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