I think I speak for the rest of the S&A crew when I say that we’re big fans of Lance Reddick’s work; most will likely remember him from his role in HBO’s hit series The Wire, or maybe most recently, from Fringe.
As announced back in March, Reddick formed a production company called Christai Productions, along with manager/producer Steven Adams, with the goal being to develop story-driven film and television projects with juicy lead characters that will attract talent and are a little “outside the box” but with “a sharp eye to genre and budget.”
We’ve profiled 2 of those collaborations – a thriller titled St. Sebastian, which stars Reddick, alongside Bill Fichtner, and Constance Zimmer, and which was directed by Danny DeVito (it’s at Cannes this week, where it’s expected to sell to territories around the globe); and a dark, futuristic web series titled The 117, a new web series that will be broadcast on the YouTube channel You Offend Me, You Offend My Family, which Fast Five’s Justin Lin is shepherding.
S&A was granted an opportunity to speak with both Lance Reddick and Steven Adams about their newly formed production company and a bit more.
Monique Landsberger conducted the interview for S&A, which is summarized below:
On the name of the company “Christai Productions”…
REDDICK: The name Christai is a combination of my children’s names.
On the reasons for creating Christai Productions…
REDDICK: As I got further into my career, as a character of color, if I was going to have the types of opportunities I felt I deserved, and continue to have them, I was going to have to start creating those opportunities for myself. As an actor, I was feeling the need to get into the business aspect of it; the last 10 years or so, Hollywood’s gotten so popcorn, fast-paced, comic book-oriented. I’m more interested in telling the kind of stories like those that had been done in the 60s, 70s, and then in the 90s with indie film; I’m much more interested in telling adult stories; and given how interesting and exciting adult storytelling has gotten on TV, especially on cable, I’m interested in throwing my hat into that ring.
ADAMS: Christai Productions also plans projects for TV with an emphasis on edgier content for cable.
On whether these projects will strictly be starring vehicles for Reddick, and their general approach to projects…
REDDICK: I’m interested not just in projects that I’ll be starring in, but producing film and TV that’s really quality and great for adults; and when I say great for adults, it doesn’t mean without humor, because I’m also interested in doing comedy.
ADAMS: In terms of packaging projects… if we were to take all the great people Lance is working with right now, that’s a lot of brilliant access, and a great starting point, an amazing position to be in, in that we can call some of these people.
REDDICK: [Stressing independence] My tastes aren’t so avant garde that my ideas wouldn’t be marketable; we’re not saying that we don’t want to do studio movies, because we do, but we don’t want to be entirely dependent on the studio system; there are other options. Quality sells even if it doesn’t look like it at first; there’s a market that’s starving to be serviced – adults. Look at cable TV networks; their shows are hits. Because of the way tech is changing, and becoming cheaper and user-friendly, it’s becoming easier to make films cheaply, maintaining quality. Don’t be a victim; it you want to make movies, make movies. There’s never been a better time to do things independently and out of the mainstream.
On distribution strategies for their projects, and the competition for eyeballs in various formats…
ADAMS: It’s a case-by-case situation; some films are tailor-made for web releases, others deserve a classic theatrical release; all those “alternative” methods are definitely on the plate.
On dream projects for them…
REDDICK: A film adaptation of Othello; and I would love to play Bishop Desmond Tutu.
ADAMS: I’m most interested in sci-fi, action/adventure type projects; but nothing specific yet.
On Reddick’s love of acting…
REDDICK: The most exciting thing about acting has been the work; it’s always a great benefit when it becomes a kind of family, and you bond with people; for me what’s exciting and exhilarating is finding a human being in the character and becoming that person; and if the other people there have the same level of commitment, then it’s just like dancing… hard to describe.
On potentially writing and directing…
REDDICK: I have no interest in getting behind the camera; Even though I discovered it later, I’m an actor; that is and will continue to be my focus, as well as a sometime song writer and of course producer.
On any advise for up-and-comers…
ADAMS: It’s a business… take it as seriously as any other endeavor.
Up next for Reddick, look for him in the Viola Davis education reform drama Won’t Back Down, which is scheduled for a fall release. And of course, he’ll be back in Fox’s hit series Fringe, which recently received a 13-episode order for its fifth and final season.
From our conversation with both gentlemen, veterans Reddick and Adams clearly have the industry experience, awareness and steadfast vision that will help ensure success with their newly-formed production company.
We look forward to seeing what develops.