Science fiction/action film "Sleight" opens in theaters nationwide today (April 28), nearly a year-and-a-half after its debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Here’s why we’re excited to see it:
"Sleight" boasts a leading cast of color.
The film stars Jacob Latimore ("Collateral Beauty") in one of his first leading feature film roles as Bo, a young street magician who uses his skills to impress tourists. Since that doesn’t pay enough to care for him and his little sister Tina, (Storm Reed, "12 Years a Slave") after their parents’ deaths, Bo supplements his income by selling drugs for Angelo (Dulé Hill, "Psych"). Bo eventually gets in too deep, and Angelo’s death threats force him to develop his magic abilities into powers that can save him and his family. The film also stars Seychelle Gabriel ("Falling Skies"), Sasheer Zamata ("Saturday Night Live") and Brandon Johnson ("NTSF:SD:SUV") in supporting roles.
"Sleight" is directed by J.D. Dillard.
After creating several short films under the name "Justin," J.D. Dillard makes his feature film directorial debut with "Sleight." Dillard, who is Black, co-wrote the movie with White filmmaker Alex Theurer. As he explains to the Los Angeles Times, Dillard hopes to break stereotypes about what Black directors can make with this film:
"It’s funny because you make a movie about a Black kid and so many of the next things that are in your inbox are, like, ‘Cool, so do you want to do this kind of "Chi-raq" drama?’ or ‘Do you want to do the first Black firefighter movie?’
"This is not to devalue any other type of movie or any other approach that a filmmaker of color might have, but my goal is really just about different faces," he continued. "I’m not immediately attracted to stories that are solely, narrowly about the Black experience necessarily. But by having a really big, cool genre movie center on women or people of color—having a really fun and dreadful horror-survival movie ["Sweetheart"] that just stars Kiersey Clemons—that’s at least where I would like to start to close the gap."
The studio behind "Get Out" also produced "Sleight."
As mentioned in "Sleight’s" trailer (above) and other film promo, Blumhouse Productions partnered with WWE Studios to produce the movie. Blumhouse also produced Jordan Peele‘s critical and popular smash horror flick, "Get Out." That association doesn’t guarantee "Sleight’s" success, but it does add to both the movie and studio’s profile.
Check out the "Sleight" trailer above.