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John Ridley Wanted To Showcase Black Joy In ‘Needle In A Timestack’

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Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley is ready to turn a new page when it comes to showcasing black people in cinema.

Following films like “12 Years a Slave” — which won him an Oscar for best adapted screenplay, and Tuskegee Airmen drama “Red Tails” Ridley says he wanted to focus on black joy with latest film “Needle in a Timestack.”

“I appreciate that Hollywood has gotten to a place now, where it’s like, okay, we need to tell these stories,” he said before referencing “12 Years A Slave”, “Judas & The Black Messiah” or “Selma.”

“Again, they’re all important and they’re all necessary, and they all represent people who made all of our lives, not just Black Americans, all of our lives. Hollywood, sometimes they look at, okay, we gotta do these black pain. Where is the pain? Where is the struggle part of our lives? But that’s not all of our lives.”

In “Needle In A Timestack” a married couple (Leslie Odom Jr and Cynthia Erivo) struggles to maintain their relationship in a world where time travel exists, with the past and present constantly fluctuating.

Ridley said after reading Robert Silverberg’s 1966 short story of the same name, he knew he had to tell this story for the big screen.

“When I read the short story I saw the world that I live in, and so that’s what attracted me to this story, to tell the story,” he said.

“I think because it was very different than a lot of films that I’ve been able to do in the past, and I’m very proud of those films, they’re very powerful films. They were films about American history led by amazing people of color who are out there fighting and making this country better for all of us, but they are tough stories.

“To tell a story that was about love and about yearning and about possibility and about regret, particularly after the year that we’ve had where so many people undeniably still don’t have the capacity to see us as us, that was important to me.”

“Needle in a Timestack” is in theaters now.

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