*Carl Weber is one of a handful of African American authors who consistently appear on the New York Times bestseller list, and his company, Urban Books – which is the largest publisher of African American works – has close to 3800 titles in its library. Carl’s first stab at writing a murder mystery novel-turned feature film hits theaters today (Nov. 6), “The Man in 3B.“
With a script penned by Weber, the film stars Lamman Rucker, Christian Keyes, Kellita Smith, and up and coming leading lady Brely Evans – who will leave your jaw-open with her ‘ride or die’ performance that leads up to a surprising twist ending.
EUR caught up with Carl ahead of the theatrical release to dish about the film, which was selected as a spotlight festival feature this past September at the 19th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival in New York. “The Man in 3B” was also honored earlier this year by the Pan African Film and Arts Festival in Los Angeles with the“Capri Partners Award.”
Why did you select “The Man in 3B” to be your first feature film?”
Carl: It was originally written to be a film. It was my first stab as an author at writing a mystery. So when me and my partners first talked about getting into the film and television industry, we chose one property that was going to be something for television and one property that was going to be our first movie, and “The Man in 3B” is our fist movie.
Are the dramatic experiences in the film based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Carl: Every book that I’ve written is kind of fiction based on fact. It’s something I heard or saw. Sometimes I lived, but most of the times it’s somebody else. The whole story about The Man in 3B, about this guy that moves into a building, a mysterious guy, and we don’t know much about him from the start, but Daryl Graham, the main character, is what I call the thug you can take home to your momma. He’s the kinda guy that every woman wants to know. He’s not perfect but you feel safe around him. He’s not rich but he’s willing to work. He’s every woman’s kind of dream guy because he’s somebody that you can work with, and unfortunately, a lot of times we don’t find that in relationships.
Tell us about the process of getting the project produced. Did Hollywood option the book?
Carl: No, me and my partner, we’re businessmen, and one of the things that we saw about Hollywood was that things just weren’t moving at any type of fast pace. We really just didn’t like the environment because everybody is trying to use someone else’s money in order to get things done, and I understand it. That’s the way they do things out there. But we’re east coast guys, and one of the things we wanted to do was to consistently put out independent films that could make it to the big screen. We’re kind of self financed through urban books, and some companies that we work with in the publishing industry, specifically to take African American books to film. We basically created a hedge fund for that purpose, which is Urban Books Media.
Why do you think having a book adapted for the big screen is a good experience for an author?
Carl: It’s another validation point that you’ve done something historic and extremely special. I think anytime you can get an African American book onto any type of screen, I think it’s a good thing. That’s one of the reasons why my company is putting out this film and putting out other films by other authors. It’s the next logical step in the digital world.
How does an author’s life change after making the best sellers list?
Carl: Making the list is an author’s super bowl. There are football teams that have never made the Super Bowl. There are baseball teams that have never been to the World Series. So for me, that was the Super Bowl. Other than my children being born, it was the most ecstatic moment of my life. The money becomes a little bit better, but you still have to live your life. I don’t care if it’s sports, if it’s acting, singing or writing, when you’re an entertainer it can all end really fast. So you have to stay grounded, be yourself. That’s the way I try to take everything. I gotta make sure that I’m the same person that I was twenty years ago, when I started the whole process.
“The Man in 3B” hits theaters Friday, Nov. 6. Check out the trailer below.