Posted on: January 16, 2024 Posted by: Romeo International Comments: 0


Courtesy of F. Gary Gray

Upscale sat down with the legendary director and cultural icon F. Gary Gray on his new film “Lift” starring Kevin Hart and Gugu Mbatha Raw. The American icon has produced several films and music videos. His career kicked off in early 1995 with his directorial debut “Friday” with Ice Cube. With many other films to follow, F. Gary Gray now makes his Netflix debut with “Lift”.

ROMEO INTERNATIONAL: In your creation of “Lift”, as your first Netflix production, how was the process working within that space? Was the process different?

F. GARY GRAY: It wasn’t much different. You have all the same objectives. You want to tell a great story, and get great performances. You want to have, hopefully if you did your job right, have the audience invest in these characters. Characters that you can fall in love with and hopefully you have the audience on the edge of your seats. That’s the same objective, whether it’s gonna be on Netflix or in a theater. The only thing I’d say that was a little easier about working with a streamer is that you don’t have the pressure of the release date being locked in stone.  So this allows you to have a little more time to play with it.

ROMEO INTERNATIONAL: You know, when January 12th hits, the film releases everywhere in the world. How does that make you feel? Is this feeling different from release dates in movie theaters, especially now with people having the option to watch directly from the comforts of home?

F. GARY GRAY: I’m gonna assume that to have such wide distribution and to have the world have access to it, whether it’s on their phone, on their laptops on their iPads, or in their living room… That’s a global reach that’s a lot different than a studio release. And I’m looking forward to it, man. I really am looking forward to it. How I’m gonna feel about it. I predict that (knock on wood) it’s gonna be really positive. We had the premiere a couple of days ago and it was a great response. We had a great response from the audience. So I’m really looking forward to the world seeing it on whatever platform they’re gonna see it on. I really feel like they’re gonna be really entertained by this one.

Courtesy of F. Gary Gray

ROMEO INTERNATIONAL: Directing and producing the cast with Kevin Hart, like this cast is this powerhouse. Like I’m looking at people that I love from different series or films or productions. How is it working with all of them together?

F. GARY GRAY: Within the heist genre, I’ve worked with Jada Pinkett and Queen Latifah in “Set It Off”.  I’ve worked with Mark Wahlberg and Most Def in “Italian Job”. Now I’m working with Kevin Hart, GuGu, Sam Worthington, and Vincent D’Onofrio with “Lift”.  It’s great to be able to work and deliver a project and a genre that I love with a team and a cast that I admire. I was lucky to get a lot of my first choices, and that’s not always the case in this environment. I can’t wait for the world to see it and hopefully, they feel this is a great cast. They did a great job. We get a chance to take the audience by the hand, take ’em around the world, or at the very least around Europe, and keep them on the edge of their seats. Also this is with a cast that hopefully you fall in love with, because I did.

“Lift” is now streaming on Netflix with Kevin Hart and GuGu Mbatha Raw. It was a pleasure welcoming Director F. Gary Gray to our Upscale spotlight. Upscale salutes you on your latest project and we look forward to many more.

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