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‘Shaft’ director Tim Story adds family vibe to moviemaking
Iconic franchise relates to contemporary life
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 12:24 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Tim Story is director of the latest installment in the “Shaft” franchise.

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Tim Story found his voice as a movie director in “Ride Along.”

The 2014 film starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube prepared him for the demands of his latest film, a reboot of “Shaft,” which hits theaters June 14, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Roundtree, Regina Hall and Jessie T. Usher.

“In ‘Ride Along’ it just for some reason kind of all clicked in just the tone—a family matter, but also action, and there is some gun play,” Story said in a telephone interview. “For me to be able to get my voice inside of an action sequence, I kind of said, ‘OK,’ because even with movies before that, I had done comedy, but I kind of said, ‘I wonder if we can work in a fist fight or a gun fight or whatever,’ and once I hit ‘Ride Along,’ it kind of made me feel like, ‘wow, if I can get my voice inside of a gun battle, I think I’m going to stick with this.’ It really prepared me for ‘Shaft’ needed.”

Story is the top African American director in the world, with his seven feature films grossing over $1 billion in revenue. He is the only black director to have six films debut at No. 1 at the box office during opening weekend.

Story has worked on countless projects centering on family, including his debut in 2002 with “Barbershop,” starring Ice Cube, Cedric The Entertainer and Michael Ealy. Other projects include “Taxi,” as well as the “Think Like a Man” series.

“A lot of my movies have a theme of family,” Story said. “When you deal with family, there’s tragedy, there’s drama, there’s a lot of humor—there’s something about the way we are unapologetically that is so funny. It may not be funny to you, but if you have the ability to look at it from the outside, or if someone else looks at it, you’re surprised by just how much humor can come out of our very existence. It’s just going for the honesty.”

Story takes every situation as it comes, whether it is an action comedy or a romantic comedy or a superhero film—such as “Fantastic Four.”

“What’s fun about movies when you’ve had a chance to make a number of them, is that your style becomes your style,” he said. “No matter what genre you work in, if you’re doing it with your voice, it’s going to come out kind of the way you would do it. I’m kind of relaxed in that now.”

Story took on the project of “Shaft” due to the script, the opportunity to work with Jackson, and the way the story relates to contemporary life, as it follows the relationship between John Shaft Jr. (Usher) who starts off as the antithesis of his father, John Shaft (Jackson).

“I read it, and I didn’t even know if this was something I wanted to get into—it’s such an iconic franchise that to dive into it, you have to really be sure that you can do it justice,” Story said. “The script was so well written. It had such a great point of view, and most importantly, it had a way of taking Shaft and putting him into the here and now. It was so much fun, but at the same time, respected the fact that Shaft is the coolest guy walking the Earth, and you maintain that edge, but we have a lot of fun in maintaining the edge.”


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