NYU alum Shaka King talks stoner comedy ‘Newlyweeds’Posted on September 18, 2013 | by Katie Schiller
Shaka King’s debut stoner melodrama and comedy “Newlyweeds” took him on a wild ride long before its theatrical release. Written and directed by King, “Newlyweeds” earned him a spot on the 2011 NYU Purple List — a list that honors the work of graduate film students at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. And then, earlier this year, “Newlyweeds” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
“Newlyweeds” follows Lyle and Nina, a young Brooklyn couple struggling in their relationship as their affections for each other are overshadowed by their love of marijuana. Shot by shot, the film takes the viewer through their daily lives, revealing their relationships, jobs and lifestyle, suggesting the nearly lethal effect marijuana can have as the dominating factor in one’s life.
In an exclusive interview with WSN, King explained how the film was very much inspired by his own experiences and the neighborhoods he grew up in throughout his life. King was born in Crown Heights, raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant and has been living on the border of Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant for the last 10 years.
“I felt an obligation to portray that world as realistically as I could,” King said, regarding the Brooklyn neighborhoods and settings used in the film. “I had the characters in mind early on. They were characters I observed growing up my entire life. Their voices just came out of me.”
“A lot of the issues in the movie were personal issues I had in my own life,” he said.
“Newlyweeds” was King’s thesis film while attending the graduate film program at Tisch. He explained that one of the greatest points his Tisch professors instilled in him was that “reality must be depicted on camera.”
As a result, King remained conscientious in his desire to depict reality and tell the truth throughout the production of his film.
“[‘Newlyweeds’] was a combination of a lot work,” King said. “The goal was to make a movie people would sit in a theater and pay to watch. It was a professional milestone.”
He stressed the collaborative nature of the production process, explaining that when creating a film, “if it’s done correctly, it’s a collaboration of so many different minds and entities that it will be better than the original concept.”
King also discussed the importance of the growth and developmental stages a film and crew experience throughout conception, production and post-production.
“You will inevitably learn something new every day,” he said.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 18 print edition. Katie Schiller is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.