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Exclusive: Why Shaka King’s Feature Debut ‘Newlyweeds’ Will Get You Stoned



Brooklyn native and filmmaker Shaka King is bringing the rich culture of Brooklyn to the big screen. King’s debut feature, Newlyweeds, a flick about a stoner romance, had critics raving after the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

“This movie is going to be very polarizing and I made it that way purposefully,” King told HipHollywood during an exclusive interview. “It’s about a couple in Brooklyn who are in love with weed and in love with each other.”

Amari Cheato, who appeared in the opening sequence of Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and performance artist, Trae Harris star in the small film. According to King, the two bring something very special to the screen.

“They both bring an authenticity, but feel like real people. All of our conversations were about making them as real as possible. They bring a certain level of authenticity and level of rage. It takes skilled performers to pull off this type of film,” Shaka explained.

And while the film might be under the stoner-comedy umbrella, the writer-director tells us that the feature has a serious undertone. “This movie is a much more realistic portrayal of that lifestyle, it’s a very real movie. Even though it does adopt some of the classic stoner comedies, unlike the other classic stoner flicks, it has a serious layer to it. It’s a movie that makes you feel a little stoned. Visually it’s also shot well,” Shaka shared.

As a rookie filmmaker, King shared that he was influenced by a number of directors, but it was legendary director Spike Lee and writer-comedian, Louis C.K, of FX’s smash hit, Louie, that really helped influence the way the movie was made.

“The way Spike shoots Brooklyn, the way his early films incorporated the the culture of the neighborhood, that is something I was influenced by and something I tried to bring to the film. In the case of Louis, his show does a phenomenal job. He never really forces the jokes. All his jokes comes from real situations and truth,” King shared.

“People are going to love this film because it’s a nostalgia that they will have to old New York movies as this place that is beautiful and culturally rich. I think that viewers are going to connect to it in that way, the nostalgic prospective. I’ve never seen this place ever on film,” the 33-year-old explained.

For information on the screening dates and times in your city, head over to

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