Yardie doing the Sundance

Observer writer

Friday, January 19, 2018

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YARDIE, the directoial debut film by British actor Idris Elba, is headlining the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

The production — which features actors Shantol Jackson, Sheldon Shepherd, Everaldo Creary and Antwayne Eccleston — will premiere at the festival tomorrow. The event started yesterday and concludes next Wednesday.

Adapted from the novel by Jamaican-born British writer Victor Headley, Yardie follows the story of D, a young Jamaican (played by British actor Aml Ameen) who arrives in London in the 70s and unexpectedly discovers the man who killed his brother in Jamaica a decade earlier. When his quest for justice explodes into a violent street war, he puts himself and the lives of his loved ones in peril.

The local cast members, except Shepherd, attended a media gathering Tuesday to discuss their experiences while working on the film. It was streamed on Creary's Instagram page.

“The most important thing he (Elba) said to me was: 'Evy, we are film-makers', and when you use the word filmmaker to an actor, it makes them feel more than a talent because it is deeper than just a talent. This makes him such a great director, 'cause he was an actor first, so he understands what he wants to convey to us,” said Creary, who plays Jerry Dread.

Jackson, who plays Yvonne — Elba's (Piper's) love interest, recalled the excitement of getting the role and believes it will create more opportunities for Jamaican actors.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this film. I'm grateful to be able to represent Jamaica because it's not all about me, it's about all of us. There is so much talent here, we all just need the opportunity,” she said.

“Idris fought for us; he wanted the film to be authentic, so when he got the auditions he said: 'I want these people'. He called me late at night 'cause he wanted to be the one to say: 'Yes, you got the role', which I appreciate,” Jackson continued.

Yardie was shot in Jamaica and London over seven weeks last year. The project is produced by Robin Gutch and Gina Carter for Warp Films.

The screenplay was adapted by Bronson writer Brock Norman Brock and Martin Stellman, who wrote and directed the Denzel Washington-starred For Queen and Country (1988).




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