In the second episode of “A Drink With – Detroit” The Podcast we chatted with actor Algee Smith and producer Matthew Budman while they were in town for the world premiere of “Detroit.” Listen in on what it’s like to work with Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, what they think of Detroit today and advice for being in the entertainment industry.

In the Foundation Studio at the Detroit Foundation Hotel we’ll be drinking with Detroiters and those visiting the Motor City. We guarantee you’ll hear stories you haven’t heard before and feel the spirit of the city. Cheers to Detroit!

Listen to full podcast interview on iTunes here.

Algee Smith on first day on set of “Detroit”:

[Kathryn Bigelow] was like, “Okay guys, you ready to shoot? You ready?” And I said, “Kathryn, we don’t have any scripts.” She said, “Oh yeah. Can you get them some scripts?” That first day we understood what we were in for. It was like the whole movie we were unprepared and she wanted us to be like that, that was the method to her madness.  She didn’t want us to know anything. She wanted us to come in and give real reactions. The first two weeks of shooting was in that annex of the motel. She threw us right in there and was like, “Just swim,” pretty much.

This was definitely the hardest project for me to do, but I feel like this is my best work as well … The pressure makes a diamond of course, so the harder it is, the better the outcome is.

Algee Smith on power of storytelling:

I want to be a part of anything that uplifts my community and uplifts people in general. I want to be a part of anything that can make someone feel uncomfortable, but that’s truth, you know? Aside from that, I specifically want to be a part of telling the stories of black inventors highlighting the rise of blacks. A lot of movies show you [the opposite]. Like you said, this isn’t highlighting the uprise of Detroit. This shows you a time where it was really struggling. I want to be a part of telling the success stories of those people.

Algee Smith on city of Detroit today:

You just feel good while you’re here. Everything feels good. The music feels good, the food is good, the people are generous. It’s a great city. I wish I could have been in Detroit back in the day when it was thriving, when it was at its high and at its peak… just to see what it looked like because even to come here now you can still feel it. I would love to see what that looked like.

Matthew Budman on role of a producer:

A producer’s job can be anything from the smallest task to making a $50 million decision. And I think a good producer can do everything in between. It really comes down to a lot of problem solving and dealing with different personalities, understanding different personalities because in our business there are many of them, and just really being able to take the punches and keep on going.

Kathryn [Bigelow] is one of the most efficient filmmakers I’ve ever seen and certainly worked with. She shoots ten-hour days. Usually, a movie is a 12-hour day shoot. She knows the movie in her head. Everything is very, very precise. There’s no screwing around, completely organized, she’s incredible … We don’t do any rehearsals, so everything’s shot. There’s a lot of natural emotion. I’d say 95 percent of the cast didn’t read the script … And the one other thing she doesn’t do is she doesn’t really cut. She just sort of lets scenes play out and you’ll get a lot of really incredible natural moments.

Listen to full podcast interview on iTunes here.

Photography by Bryan Carroll

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