DIRECTOR SCOTT SANDERS still doesn’t understand why his latest film, the blaxploitation parody “Black Dynamite,” was received so well internationally. But while he can’t unravel the hype, he certainly appreciates it.
“We sold the movie in all these places that we never expected to sell it,” Sanders said. “I had to figure out why people like it, because it’s so specific to the American experience … but the world receives it the way it receives it.”
And critical reaction for the film — which comes out on DVD Feb. 1 and is being shown as a midnight screening at Washington’s Landmark E Street Cinema on Friday and Saturday — has been high: It has an 82 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was highly praised by the all-mighty Roger Ebert. Before Sanders hosts a question-and-answer session Friday after the film, we spoke to him about “Black Dynamite.”
» EXPRESS: Where did the idea come from?
» SANDERS: Well, the idea started actually with <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0925227/”>Michael Jai White, who plays Black Dynamite. … He said we should do a blaxploitation movie set in the 1970s — most parodies are movies that were set in current times — but he’s like a born blaxploitation star: He has seven black belts; he’s built like a football player. It seemed like a perfect idea at the time.
» EXPRESS: What aspects of the blaxploitation genre were most important for you guys to get in the film?
» SANDERS: There were definitely lots of little things that were under-currents that we wanted. One of them was the revenge for the death of a brother, and the second one was that in blaxploitation movies, the songs that are in the movie have lyrics, and the lyrics tell you what’s happening in the movie. … And nudity. I literally was trying to think of situations to stick nudity in there, and we had to cut some of it because it had nothing to do with anything.
» EXPRESS: Any worry that people wouldn’t get the satirical aspects, or take offense at the parody?
» SANDERS: The idea of that was a long time ago. … But a lot of blaxploitation movies were very empowering — the funny thing about them was that they overcompensated.
Everything was convenient for your hero: He’s a superhero who addresses whatever people wanted at the time. He’s in the CIA, he’s a pimp, he’s a karate expert — he’s whatever you want him to be.
» Landmark E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW; Fri. Jan. 1 & Sat., Jan. 2, midnight; 202-452-7672. (Metro Center)
Written by Express contributor Roxana Hadadi
Photo courtesy Prashant Gupta