“Gun Hill” debuted last week on BET to rave reviews and stellar ratings. In other words, BET has got a winner on its hands and it could very likely go to series for the network. The film’s encore performance is tonight at 8pm Eastern.
In the meantime, Bythewood has written a piece on what the inspiration was for “Gun Hill”:
*While I enjoyed working on “NY Undercover,” I had not planned to go back to TV writing. My focus was on film.
In 2008, I was in NY working on “Notorious” (I was one of the writers). I received a call from my father who revealed he had prostate cancer. In fact, he had it for quite some time and it reached a critical stage. When he initially asked me to join him for a consultation, I didn’t say yes. I either said no or I said I would have to check my schedule. Something like that. My schedule cleared up and I ran out of excuses. So I met up with him.
We had an estranged relationship. From the time I was 14 up until I was 30 years old, we did not speak once. Even after that, our conversations were sparse. To his credit, he did not want it this way. However, he made choices I did not agree with and I was done with him.
So there I was in a waiting room with him, waiting to see the oncologist at the VA. This sparked a process of us beginning to repair our relationship. There were times when he tried to hug me. I couldn’t do it. Best I could do was offer a handshake. Months later he died. I thought of how I considered Reginald W. Bythewood a “bad guy” for most of my life. However, at his funeral, so many people told me stories about my father. Stories about how he impacted their lives. Stories that painted him as the “good guy.”
I thought back to an idea a producer friend named Don Kurt hit me with years before. A story about two identical twins on opposite sides of the law. It was a cool idea but it was not an idea I needed to explore. Not until now.
“Gun Hill” aired last week and has an encore broadcast tonight, Saturday, July 12 at 8pm (EST). It is a crime drama about two twins. A “good one” and a bad one.” There is action and suspense. There are also some slower moments of self-examination from the lead character (those are my favorite moments of the film). There is a central question of the series. CAN SOMEONE WHO IS NOT REDEEMABLE, BECOME REDEEMED? What make us good? What makes us bad? Some of you will answer that question in a sentence or two. I’m answering or at least exploring this question in “Gun Hill.” If we are so blessed, we will become a series. In any event, I hope to put the audience at the edge of their seats and hit them with the truth. The truth is, none of us are perfect and we are all redeemable.
If you watch “Gun Hill” tonight, have fun. Larenz’s performance is unrivaled. His subtlety with humor, with anger, with the mix of emotions he was asked to play is stellar. The supporting cast was incredible and everyone brought their A-game.
I call “Gun Hill” a DOCUMENTARY GRAPHIC NOVEL. Documentary in that it comes from a real place. And at times, the shooting style feels like war correspondent footage. Graphic novel in that Larenz plays a flawed hero. He is a bad guy trying to find out if he has what it takes to become a good guy.
Finally, I gotta say, you never know how much time you have left on this earth. Never know how much time you will have with parents, children, siblings, friends, etc. Make each day count.
Let’s go get it.