Ava DuVernay, JAY-Z's 'Family Feud' director, shares stunning set photos
For his highly anticipated “Family Feud” music video, JAY-Z scored one of Hollywood’s most exciting talents to fill the director’s seat: Ava DuVernay. The filmmaker behind Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time and the awards-worthy Selma gave fans a behind-the-scenes peek at her stunning work through a thread of photos released on Twitter.
“Family Feud” is a star-studded affair that traverses time to glimpse a future reassembled by women. The video begins in the year 2444 with a scene about a woman named Joan (Westworld‘s Thandie Newton), the death of her brother (Black Panther‘s Michael B. Jordan), and the death of her lover (Moonlight‘s Trevante Rhodes).
“The first scene focuses on errors,” DuVernay explains. “All families hurt each other. Mistakes are made. Expectations unmet. Jealousies fester.”
The following scene picks up with Jessica Chastain sitting down for an interview with this world’s dual presidents, played by Power‘s Omari Hardwick and Irene Bedard (the voice of Disney’s animated Pocahontas). “I won’t tell you what we think they are about. This piece is for you. You decide,” DuVernay noted.
She did, however, tweet, “I loved the idea of their being Co-Presidents of the United States in the future. And that a Native American woman was one of them. One of the first ideas I shared with [JAY-Z]. He was all in. We had fun dreaming this up. This country will not stay the same.”
Time then recedes to the year 2148 for a scene that reunites DuVernay with actors David Oyelowo and Emayatzy Corinealdi, who both starred in the filmmaker’s second feature film, 2012’s Middle of Nowhere. Their characters, Brian and Ruby, “are back and reincarnated as keepers of the peace,” DuVernay wrote.
DuVernay also tapped her leading lady from A Wrinkle In Time for a war scene set in 2096. Storm Reid sits atop a mechanical horse with war paint on her face. She’s surrounded by characters played by America Ferrera, Aisha Hinds (Shots Fired), and Henry Sanders (Queen Sugar).
“Change sometimes require[s] force,” the director remarked. “A vision of freedom fighters. A world of warriors for good.”
For what DuVernay called “the Founding Mothers,” Captain Marvel‘s Brie Larson, activist/author Janet Mock, Niecy Nash, Mindy Kaling (another face from A Wrinkle In Time), Rosario Dawson, This Is Us‘ Susan Kelechi Watson, Rashida Jones, and Crazy Rich Asians‘ Constance Wu play a group of women who “revived the Constitution” in the year 2050.
As the voice of Hardwick says, it was a time in this narrative “when some thought that making America great meant making us afraid of each other” — no doubt a dig at President Trump’s campaign slogan.
“What else is there to say?” DuVernay wrote. “I believe in our power. And I appreciate these dynamic artists who came out on a Saturday to represent all kinds of women at the table. Not a seat. ALL THE SEATS!”
“Family Feud” ends with JAY-Z walking his daughter, Blue Ivy, through a church as Beyoncé appears in the background. The director shared a few images she used as inspiration for this portion, but resolved to keep a formal dissection close to the vest for the time being.
“I’ll let the final scene just stay where it is. In the film, with that family. Being their brilliant, black, brave, bold selves,” she wrote. “May we all fortify our families. Our communities. Our society. In whatever ways we can. Much love. And thanks for watching #FamilyFeudFilm!”
Watch the full video on Tidal.