*Once upon a time the role of an African American in films was less than desirable, but time has witnessed the evolution of the black actor/actress, the black director and now it appears as though the black film production company is making its way to the head of the pack as well.
Rainforest Films is no stranger to the game. Since Will Packer and Rob Hardy released “Trois” back in 2000 they’ve been working hard to expand their brand.
With “Takers” it seems as though they’ve taken it to the next level. With an ensemble cast that features Idris Elba, T.I., Michael Ealy, Chris Brown, Matt Dillon, Zoe Saldana among others, “Takers” delivers on the excitement from the opening scene. We don’t want to be spoilers, but it looks like an instant classic for this generation to us.
“That’s the dream. To have a movie that people will consider a classic,” co-producer Will Packer tells EURweb’s Lee Bailey. “I mean all you work for as a filmmaker is to put your product out there. Most filmmakers don’t make a film just for themselves. You make it for other people. You make it to be received a certain way. Then you make it to make a bunch of money, you make it for the critics, most filmmakers try to do both. But you make so that it is received by a certain audience somewhere. So, to make a film that even has the possibility of being considered a classic? That would be the ultimate gratification. It would really be validation for all the hard work and effort that I’ve put in. I’ve been blessed enough to have some successful films, I am very proud of this one.”
Oh yeah, in case you wondering what “Takers” is all about, here’s a synopsis:
“Takers” takes you into the world of a notorious group of criminals who continue to baffle police by pulling off perfectly executed bank robberies. They are in and out like clockwork, leaving no evidence behind and laying low between heists. But when they attempt to pull off one last job with more money at stake than ever before, the crew may find their plans interrupted by a hardened detective who is hell-bent on solving the case.
(Scroll down to view the film’s trailer.)
Again, as much as we want to blurt it all out, we don’t want to be a spoiler. But we just have to say T.I. did his thing. He truly became the character.
“That’s a testament to him,” said Packer. “That’s a testament to the job he did with the portrayal of that character. He did an excellent job. With that character of Ghost we needed somebody that was charismatic, likeable, but had edge. A lot of edge and swagger and that’s him, T.I., naturally. If we had cast that differently it wouldn’t have quite been the same. A lot of people come in with expectations for he and Chris Brown in this film and they exceeded them all.”
EURweb.com has been covering Rainforest Films from day one. We showed “Trois” and its cast a tremendous amount of love 10 years ago. We’re not certain whether anyone remembers but there weren’t many films that were written, produced, directed and starring African Americans, so covering it was our pleasure. We’ve witnessed Packer take it to the next level with “Stomp the Yard,” “This Christmas,” “Obsessed” and now “Takers” is turning heads.
“This is huge for myself and for Rainforest Films,” Packer humbly admitted. “We started off as a small production company. Two kids with a dream at Florida A&M University. We want to take this as a stepping stone to other things. The reality of it is I want to take this film and do bigger budget films, other genres: sci-fi, horror, comedy, comic book hero. I want to do it all.”
And we suspect that it won’t be long before Rob Hardy and Will Packer have their hands in those genres. In the mean time Packer tells us about his upcoming projects that are being released and those in development.
“The next one to be released is “Stomp the Yard: Homecoming”, that’s about to be released soon. I am also in development on a couple of projects. I’ve got this adaptation of the Steve Harvey bestseller “Act like a Man, Think like a Woman.” I’m also working on the biopic of Kemba Smith, a story that’s near and dear to me. It’s the true story of a woman that was sentenced to over 24 years in prison because she was dating somebody who was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. Bill Clinton pardoned her before he left office. Then some other really cool projects that I’m looking to line up. We’re not going to stop, that’s for sure. I only want to go up from there.”
It’s great to see that he is mixing in projects like the Kemba Smith story, one that is sure to cause an intense emotional reaction in the viewer. Being wrongfully accused is something almost anyone can relate to. Meanwhile Rainforest Films is ready to bask in the glow of yet another quality offering.
“I am excited about “Takers” because it is an opportunity for me to show a diverse cast and to show them in the type of film that you do not traditionally see in Hollywood fare and if there’s anything that I want people to take away from this is that this is another Will Packer film that didn’t waste a hour and a half of my life. It’s entertaining, it’s fun, it’s a thrill ride, it’s smart and I hope audiences will see it and enjoy it.”
“Takers” opens this weekend, in theaters nationwide. Critics are showering the film with accolades and we’re thrilled to give “Takers” a big thumbs up. Watching a dream develop into reality is a sight to see. What a difference 10 years makes!