Oakland writer Chinaka Hodge recently caught up with Oakland filmmaker Ryan Coogler and good things happened. In a piece for San Francsico Magazine’s Writers on Writers series, Hodge interviewed Coogler about what it’s like to make art about their hometown. Coogler’s highly anticipated directorial debut, "Fruitvale Station", is set to be released next month. It’s a really good interview, and you should read it and send it to all of your friends.
But what struck me most about the interview were the types of intimate details that you get when hometown folks get together and talk about their work. Things like:
1. Ryan Coogler brings his own PB&J sandwhiches to fancy places.
So, it’s 1:01 p.m. on a Monday. We sit in the cinematic lap of luxury, with all of the trappings one would expect from Lucas et al. But instead of grandly parading around the sprawling campus, we post up in a quiet cafeteria, nearly unseen, with Coog munching the humble PB&J he brought from home.
2. Favorite 2pac album? Me Against the World.
I press further: What’s your favorite Pac album? Coog furrows his brown-skinned brow as if I have asked him to pick a favorite child or most preferred appendage. He finally chooses: Me Against the World. That question is like a hood litmus test, and Ryan shows his true nature, picking the work that best epitomizes Shakur’s time in Oakland
3. He’s getting married!
Coog, age 26, has been preparing for the July national release of the film under the new name Fruitvale Station, planning his upcoming nuptials to his absolutely stunning fiancée, and somehow maintaining an admirable state of calm.