On Monday night April 20th I walked in AMC Magic Johnson Theater located in Harlem to a very intimate red carpet and the beginning of a love story. Flavor Unit Entertainment, Jacavi Films and Electric Republic logos were all stamped on an step and repeat backdrop to bring the Brotherly Lovefilm to life.Cast members such as Cory Hardrict, Eric Hill Jr., Marc John Jeffries, Jay “Lil JJ” Lewis and Julito McCullum began to arrive in a very smooth manner with not many security guards. For many of the actors such as Julito, Marc John Jeffries and Eric Hill Jr this was home and they all appeared to be very comfortable.
(photo by Johnny Nunez)
(L-R Cory Hardrict, Julito McCullum, Eric Hill Jr, LiL JJ and Chris Jarrell)
As I sat down in my seat initially I had an idea of the film due to reporting the trailer on my blog a few weeks ago. Comparisons such as the modern-day Romeo & Juliet and Boyz N The Hood were mentioned in the media and in a way I could comprehend that perception but that view swiftly changed as soon as the movie began with a major cinematic first scene!
June Taylor , played by Cory Hardrict,the eldest brother and head of the family has a heart of gold but is very ruthless due to the decisions he made and street life has chosen to be in. Hardrict revealed that like June he had to quit his hoop dreams in high school after his mother feel ill and he vowed to his mother he would follow his acting dreams. Ultimately when Cory’s mom passed he left Chicago at 18 years old with barely any money and never looked back.
Sergio Taylor, played by a fresh new actor from the Bronx Eric hill Jr., is an all american star high school basketball.Eric phenomoally brought this character to life because we the audience could feel and see Serg’s confliction between his dreams and his loyalty to his street accredited brother.Eric mentioned in an interview I conducted on the red carpet that director and writer Jamal hill was amazing to work with and gave the actors so much creative freedom and was attentive to everyone on set. Also, Hill Jr. revealed that will smith called and spoke to every actor personally on the phone giving the infamous Will wisdom!
KeKe Palmer Played Jackie Taylor , twin of Sergio Taylor, a very focused young girl cheerleader who had aspirations to sing! Jackie narrates majority of the film . Jackie love interest is Chris played by Quincy Brown. Quincy who is a very green actor truly took the role and embodied himself fully because his acting skills were quite a pleasant surprise! Comedian, Lil JJ, also switched gears and played a more serious role quite well!
Themes of Brotherly Love include family,love,dreams,struggles of the urban community but most importantly CHOICES! The family element in brotherly love was so genuine it gave the story an even greater impact visually and content wise. Julito mentioned at the screening how everyone in the cast knew each other for years so often times it was hard for him to turn into their enemy on-screen but his acting skills definitely carried him through.
Brotherly Love was 10 year process that Jamil Hill endured from conception to on-screen! The film was shot in 21 days all in writer/director Jamal Hill’s creative backdrop of Philadephia!The budget was not enormous yet the quality of the film is still impeccable! This film will give many people a perspective into the lives of many families from urban communities who are often frowned upon or considered people of less fortune or even bad people. No one person is born bad but some people make bad decisions especially when their back is against the wall.Brotherly Love exist everywhere no matter how much the presence has been tainted by poverty,addiction and greed!As with all love stories we know things never go as planned so hit the theaters Friday April 24th,2015 to see how this love story ends!
(Cory Hardrict & I)