The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give Little Infants F—s Everybody. When a movie’s title is borrowed from this chilling Tupac adage it’s a clear sign that audiences are in for some stirring cinematic emotions. The Hate U Give, an adaptation of the bestselling and critically-acclaimed YA novel by Angie Thomas, follows a family as they deal with the aftermath of a police shooting (of an unarmed black teenager) and the ripple effects it creates in their neighborhood. It made for an on-set experience that was as moving as it was heavy — ahead, the movie’s stars describe their most memorable moments.
Amandla Stenberg (Starr Carter)
“The scene where Khalil gets shot, and he dies. We were doing it for so long that, in order to stay in the scene, it made sense for me to just continue the emotion of it. I went to a place where it was really hard for me to pull out and go back in. George would call, ‘Cut,’ and I would still keep going. It would take me a second to kind of wind down and get out of those feelings because they were really heavy.
That was definitely the most uncomfortable I ever seen [George Tillman, the director]…he would come over and he wouldn’t want to touch me because he didn’t want to mess with me…I was still crying. Like seeing a woman cry, I think, made him so upset. I never seen him so upset before. It was really sweet.”
Russell Hornsby (Maverick Carter)
“I think for [me as] Mav, it was really knowing and understanding, and trying to help [his wife] Lisa understand, that we have prepared our kids for this. That they are ready for this…because of the job that we’ve done as parents. There’s a misunderstanding between the two parents, but what I love is that they got to it authentically — it was two parents coming to something together and sort of just trying to figure it out. I think that was very important.”
Regina Hall (Lisa Carter)
“I think what I loved is that [the parents’] disagreement never dampened their love or respect for each other. But I also think that it was very important for us as a couple to show that disagreements don’t affect our family, doesn’t affect our love, it doesn’t affect our strength as a couple, as a unit. We wanted our children to see that.
We’ve also, our characters, we’ve been through a lot, so this was another journey. What I loved was that there was never a thought that we wouldn’t get through this. There’s was never a talk of, ‘If you do this, then I am…’ You know what I mean? It was working through something else that couples who have history and love do.”
Algee Smith (Khalil Harris)
“I just remember myself physically preparing for [the shooting scene] that day. They called me on set a little bit early in the day, earlier than they needed me. So, I was just in my trailer, I had started listening to a lot of Tupac and I was just flooding myself with that, so that by the time I got to the car everything would just feel natural. However, I don’t think there’s a way to really prepare to do something that extreme.
I think we rehearsed almost every other scene — George [Tillman] had us doing some rehearsals, but we didn’t rehearse that scene. We just jumped right into it we had to do it about seven or eight times because of the different camera angles, but every time it never got easier. Just hearing Amandla screaming and her crying and then me, like losing breath physically, but we knew what we had to do in order to get that across. We had to go to that extreme.”
George Tillman (Director)
“I think the most emotional was probably when we did the shooting [scene]. Especially for [Amandla] as an actress to hold that emotion over a course of 12 hours, it was pretty amazing. We wanted to make sure we got that scene right and make sure we was honest with the material. I think that was more the toughest…we wanted to make sure we feel like the audience. who never experienced that or never experienced racism, would be able to understand. But also from a humanistic level, I think it was one of our toughest nights as a director and actress.”