A$AP Rocky Steals the Show While Shameik Moore Makes Geeky Look Cool in ‘Dope’ [EXCLUSIVE]
A$AP Rocky may be headed for a long career in Hollywood after his charismatic role in the new movie Dope.
On Wednesday evening (May 6), Open Road Films hosted the Atlanta screening of the new film. Written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa (The Wood, Brown Sugar), Dope played on all definitions of the term in some unexpected ways.
Rocky's role as Dom, the hood's quintessential, around-the-way drug dealer, had a glimmer of grounded reality, as the main character Malcolm, played by Shameik Moore, found a sort of underlying, big-brother connection with him. Even in all of his self-proclaimed "geekiness."
"This has been a real labor of love for me," Famuyiwa said before the screening. "As an Inglewood native, I wanted to revisit my hometown but with a new energy."
The project centers on the story of Malcolm and his two best friends, Diggy and Jib -- three teenage millennials who take pride in embracing a "trapped in the '90s" attitude in their wardrobe and music preferences, although they were born closer to that decade's end. They rock old-school threads from Cross Colors with re-released Jordans. The three formed a punk rock band, cheekily named Oreo and practice after classes in their high school's music room.
Like any other teen in 2015, the three are heavily influenced by social media. Memes and shots of Snapchat-like posts make their way into the film. There's even a song that the three perform at a frat party where the refrain is "Bitch, don't get deleted." Pharrell Williams serves as the executive producer and at the helm of the film's musical direction. He created original songs for the effort, which are inexplicably hip-hop tinged but rooted in upbeat punk.
In one tense scene, Malcolm, Diggy and Jib find themselves in a home studio with the son of a druglord and they end up recording "Can't Bring Me Down," one of the cheeriest songs on the movie's soundtrack.
Famuyiwa succeeded in capturing the spirit of today's youth while remaining honest about the uncompromising state of the hood -- even years after his own coming of age. The three friends ultimately find themselves in the middle of a dangerous situation while in the wrong place at the wrong time in their Inglewood neighborhood and they have to find a way out unscathed.
Diddy's stepson Quincy Brown also performed well as Jaleel, the son of the aforementioned druglord. Despite being featured in only a few scenes, he was fascinating as the upper-class, suburban kid wanting to capitalize on his father's street cred.
Newcomer and Atlantic Records signee Kap G made a noteworthy appearance as well -- playing a no-nonsense underworld-type that gets Malcolm to understand the meaning of authenticity and commanding respect -- even if he has to scare it into him.
Shameik Moore had a moment here. He was believable, channeling every part of "Malcolm" and it was fluid onscreen. He personified the concept of a kid raised in a low-income community with a variety of interests that may or may not be welcomed by the "cool kids" that sport flags and claim a set. He's unapologetic about being brilliant and dorky at the same time.
Moore and much of his family and friends were at the Atlanta screening to show support. He was visibly moved. "Seeing everyone here, it's affecting me," he spoke carefully. "For this to be my first film... I'ma let the movie speak for itself, but it's dope."
Dope hits theaters on June 19.
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