I don't think Craig Brewer really needs a introduction at this point, but if you're new to the game he is the mastermind behind moving pictures such as Hustle & Flow, Coming Back to America and most recently Dolomite Is My Name. Craig might be a superstar but is never to busy to shy away from floating around his hometown of Memphis. We got the chance to catch up with him at his loft and discuss his most recent endeavors and inspirations.
MM: What have you been up to since your latest release of DIMN?
CB: The whole time I was time I was doing the awards circuit on Dolemite I was filming Coming 2 America. So I’ve been in the Eddie Murphy universe for the past two years. Most of my time now is working in editorial on the movie. I’m also trying to line up my next film that I want to write and direct. I’ve also been doing a lot of organizing and cleaning in my office and apartment. I think I needed to get a handle on all the little details in my life just to feel like I’m still in control of them instead of all these unfinished projects having control over me. It may sound silly, but if I had a side hustle it would be to help clean and organize my friend’s closets.
MM: How does feel to be entrusted with creating the vision of these special projects that not many other directors get to have?
CB: I would love to say that it feels wonderful but the truth is, it’s daunting and stressful. Luckily I have a better perspective on it now that I’ve been through it a few times, but to make a film for a major studio and for an audience with high expectations is hard. I’m incredibly grateful, and I love what I do, but sometimes I have to remind myself that art is subjective and everyone is going to have their own opinions, and you can’t please everyone. You just have to trust your gut and move forward with some confidence.
MM: How influential is Memphis culture when you travel around the world?
CB: It’s everywhere because so much of modern music is standing on the shoulders of our legends. Stax and Sun and Hi Records created some of the most enduring tracks of all time. Some songs from back in the day get sampled and repurposed. I was on set directing Empire when one of the makeup artist started blasting Beyonce’s Six Inch Heels. I had to play her Isaac Hayes’s Walk On By so she could hear the sample that Beyonce used brilliantly. One tune feeds another, one artist inspires another. And most of that original inspiration came from Memphis.
MM: What is the future of Memphis looking like to you?
CB: It’s this new younger crop of artists that seem to be much more collaborative than my generation was. It feels like today everyone is showing up to each other’s events and shows. Memphis can sometimes fall behind in supporting their own artists. But lately I’m seeing a big change. I started off making movies in the P&H Café on Madison Avenue. 20 years ago it was the place that theatre and movie lovers would go to drink and get inspired. You go there now and the place is bursting at the seams with new talent. Comedy shows, concerts, karaoke, trivia night, all these different ways of having fun and expressing yourself is still alive and well. We just need to make sure our artists feel loved and supported.
MM: Anything to expect from you going forward into the future?
CB: I want to tell stories in a different way. I still want to do movies and TV but I think I’d like to get back into the theatre and maybe do some storytelling, like live spoken word. I’m also available to organize your desk and kitchen.