An open letter to 'Half Nelson' star Shareeka Epps
Dear Ms. Epps,
No no no no no no no. That’s what kept running through my head as I read that you — who just last month so quietly broke my heart as an inner-city junior high school student who bonds with her freebasing history teacher in Half Nelson — have joined the cast of Alien vs. Predator: Survival of the Fittest. Setting aside for a moment that AVP:SOTF is a sequel that no one asked for to a videogame-movie that no one asked for, what I’m more worried about is whether you actually realize exactly how talented — and, more importantly, how impressionable — you are right now. The makers of Half Nelson knew to treat your subtle, expressive face and ease in front of the camera with a light touch, never asking you to plunge into some melodramatic ”Crack is wack!” confrontation with your teacher (Ryan Gosling). Call me cynical, but I’m not all with the confident that the dudes behind this new project will have the same sensitivity, and your acting, still so fresh and wonderfully raw, could suffer for it.
So why not wait a while? You could finish high school, maybe even start college somewhere, and when your inevitable trip to next year’s Independent Spirit Awards comes around, get to know every director and producer there. Sofia Coppola, Gus Van Sant or Catherine Hardwicke could do wonders with you, I’m sure of it.
Just, please, don’t make any more junky horror sequels. It breaks my heart, but not in a good way.