A.V. Rockwell & Teyana Taylor Interview A Thousand & One Movie

By 4/03/2023 03:07:00 PM , ,

Focus Features releases "A Thousand and One" in theaters Friday, March 31 and offers so much.

From the heartache of a mother trying to care for her child against all odds, to a peek into the history of how the Harlem area has changed, to the over all storyline of a family is what you make it.

A.V. Rockwell Teyana Taylor Interview for A Thousand & One Movie

Note: I was invited as media for screening and cast interview. However any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

#AThousandAndOne is an amazing mix of storylines that weave in and out to touch you in so many ways. To get a peek into how this was done, I interviewed A.V. Rockwell (writer and director) and Teyana Taylor (actress playing Inez).

During the interview, I could really feel their love and support for what it means to be a mother during that time (and even now) and how living in NYC, specifically Harlem, affects that.

Using New York City as a Backdrop

A.V. Rockwell A Thousand and One Movie

A.V. Rockwell: It was complicated, it was impassioned, but there's a lot of pain in it. In order to express pain, you know, there has to be a love that comes with it.

So I felt the movie, in my way is a love letter. A love letter to black women but a heartbreak letter to New York City. It was complicated for sure, just in reconciling what I felt our relationship is as a black community to New York City.

A.V. Rockwell: Because I feel like, damn New York is so much a part of who I am, part of my dna, and I also feel we've contributed so much to the city and what's made it a special place that it is. So how do I reconcile, the fact that this place that i love, that is home to me, never loved me, and that was that was a lot.

Teyana Taylor: One it was amazing to come back home. I definitely think it was a bitter sweet situation, like filming, the art direction, dressing up the block of how it used to be when it was beautiful and raw. That was the sweet part of it.

And a bitter part was when it was all undressed and stripped to it looked like now. It's like your childhood was taking away from you, a little bit. All that rawness and the color a lot of it was was gone, so it was definitely bitter sweet, to come back home and see that.

A.V. Rockwell: Yeah, like celebrating what we love about it. Especially in that first half of the film. But then it got painful once we started having to strip it away and say farewell to that.

Inez Backstory & "Kidnapping" Issues

Teyana Taylor A Thousand and One Movie

A.V. Rockwell: To me, this was about a woman who was desperate to be loved, specifically a black woman. Because at every level of society, we just never feel like we're fully enough. Everybody's love for us is conditional, you know.

So I think, Inez's journey is really like a questionary tale, of like a worst case scenario of somebody trying to find that , because who's gonna love you more, with unconditionalness, then a child.

Teyana Taylor: Also keep in mind that she came up the same way, it's not like she's this random lady that came up and been stalking the kid, like I'm gonna take you. She was the kid that was left out on the street corners, that was in the foster care system.

So if she is following his story, which was a very public story throughout the neighborhood, is wasn't something too far fetch for her to do. Because she's seen this happen before but to herself.

So she's like how can I help? And in what way? As a mother, as a woman, like what are you gonna do? Like, I'll see when I see you?

A Thousand & One "Say Bye" Official Video Clip

A.V. Rockwell: Yeah, she was trying to save him. It came from a deep compassionate place, and i think that by saving Terry, she was trying to save herself in many ways.

Like she (Inez) said, "I saw so much of myself in you (Terry)" and that's the reality. Because as Teyana said so much of their experience was the same experience.

A.V. Rockwell: And she does make a few attempts to like share the secrets, so to speak, that she has with him about those early years throughout the film. So it's not like she is trying to be super malicious with it, obviously, it's a hard thing to share with him while she wasn't there, amongst other things. But she doesn't attempt to. I think it's one of the movies, you got to watch more then once.

Teyana Taylor: I think Inez has a deep story, and it's a lot more than the movie could even feature. So the way you hit for us, is a little bit different because there's a lot of stuff that was taken out as well. But she definitely try to tell him, But I think with Inez it was a damn if you, damn if you don't.

The Message to Viewers

Teyana Taylor A Thousand and One Movie

Teyana Taylor: I think it's a true eye opener for a lot of these youngins. And even for us and our journey because in in 1996, I was Terry's age. So to play a role like that, was the first time I got to actually see the real sacrifices and all the struggles that my mom has been through.

Things I didn't understand at six-year-old, so I think it's a true eye opener because of course, she's moved her life around, to make sure I had a better life. Which now I'm in a position to make sure my kids have an even better life.

Teyana Taylor: We all appreciate our moms, but we never really understood the meaning of, like, you only get one mom. But playing Inez, I get to see what it was like in the 80s and the 90s and like the real struggle.

Because, no matter what status you are, being a mother is the biggest job. It's bigger then being famous, bigger than being rich, and even bigger then having a husband or a partner that can help you. Because you mama bear regardless, so it's gonna always be a bigger job to be a mom.

Teyana Taylor: At the same out the time spread love to the guys that are stepping up. They're not perfect but, they come together and figure it out for the kids. So for me, I think it's an eye opener up for a lot of the youngins and even some of these kids now, who's getting out of control.

So I think it's an eye opener and definitely a love letter to all moms, and also just to let them know we see you, we hear you.

Teyana Taylor: Inez is in so many of the woman's, in my life, life. I see alot of Inez in alot of women. It's my mom, its my aunt, my grandman, it's our community. So the fact that she can endure all that, and still come out with a smile at the end of the movie, I think it's big because, it goes to show that we're survivors.

And sometimes it's not about choice, it's like the survival mode. So it's really that love letter to be seen, like keep your head up for real.

A.V. Rockwell: I agree with everything she said, especially just relating to the topic of moms and mothers. I wrote it through the lines of mothers and sons. But even as daughters, who grew up with the mom, who was either young when she had them, or just figuring out life at whatever stage, I definitely related to that, just in terms of women in my life, who I've seen.

Also, people who struggle with relationship with because of their parents, because they didn't understand. So I did hope that this movie would be healing. And eye opening within those relationship dynamics.

A.V. Rockwell: But I think beyond that, is the story in many ways about like unrequited love. Like whether that's between people, how we related to each other or how they relate to their their homes, the cities that they live in.

So I think, in so many ways you see these characters. Inez you see her fighting for that. Within the relationships that she has with the men in her life and just wanting to feel more seen in society, period.

A.V. Rockwell: But then with this family, you see how they how they interact with a city, that they are very optimistic at first, that as a city evolves, that is going to evolve in a way that elevates them too. But they don't get that, you know?

I think that's definitely a huge bedrock in this film. Just trying to find that thread of like the love that I'm giving to this person, or this place...is it and will it get returned?

A Thousand and One Movie


**Winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at the Sundance 2023 Film Festival**

A Thousand and One follows unapologetic and free-spirited Inez (Teyana Taylor), who kidnaps her six-year-old son Terry from the foster care system. Holding onto their secret and each other, mother and son set out to reclaim their sense of home, identity, and stability, in a rapidly changing New York City.

Starring Teyana Taylor, Will Catlett, Josiah Cross, Aven Courtney, Aaron Kingsley Adetola

A Thousand and One Trailer [HD] - Only In Theaters March 31

Written and Directed by A.V. Rockwell
Produced by Eddie Vaisman, Julia Lebedev, Lena Waithe, Rishi Rajani, Brad Weston

Learn more, visit - www.focusfeatures.com/a-thousand-and-one

Facebook - www.facebook.com/AThousandAndOneFilm
Twitter - www.twitter.com/AThousandOne
Instagram - www.instagram.com/AThousandAndOneFilm

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