‘The Hate U Give’ Author, Director and Star Discuss The Book’s Journey to Screen

By Sameer Rao Jul 17, 2018

Author Angie Thomas‘ best-selling novel, "The Hate U Give," offers young readers a path to understanding their role in activism. With nearly three months until the much-anticipated film adaptation‘s October 19 premiere, Thomas tells The Root today (July 17) that she could not have predicted her current life.

“If you would’ve told me all of this two years ago, I would have not believed you," she says about the reception of the book and the existence of the film. "For so many people to have taken to this story the way that they have, and then so many people came together to put together a phenomenal film the way they did; this is beyond my wildest dream by far!”

Thomas joined "The Hate U Give" movie director George Tillman Jr. ("Notorious") and several cast members, including lead actress Amandla Stenberg ("As You Are"), to discuss the film’s development with The Root. Both the director and star professed their own personal connections with the novel, with Tillman Jr. noting that he often consulted the author on set. 

"Angie was around the whole time we were doing the film," he explains. "She was always always informing me, and that’s how I like to do it as a director because I feel like she’s got such a strong piece of material, and I just wanted to honor it.”

“When I first read the book, I never felt so accurately represented by something because I don’t think we get, very often, such fresh three-dimensional portrayals of Black women and girls," adds Stenberg, who plays the story’s teenage protagonist, Starr Carter.

The book and film both follow Carter as she balances two social worlds: her Black community and her predominantly White high school. Stenberg notes that she relates to the character, as she also experienced "growing up in a lower-income Black community, but going to a White private school."

The scales tip when a White police officer fatally shoots Starr’s friend Khalil (Algee Smith, "The New Edition Story") and she forges a path into activism against police violence. Thomas hopes that this story of a Black girl’s political awakening can inspire future generations of activists. 

“I always think about these kids I write for and the kid that picks up my book today can be a politician with a Twitter account 20 years from now," she says. "I want to make sure that I plant a seed in them."

Read the full story at TheRoot.com.