LOVE MADE AND GONE ASTRAY IN “ONE BEDROOM” By Sandra Castillo

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LOVE MADE AND GONE ASTRAY IN “ONE BEDROOM”

Sandra Castillo

Sometimes, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” as affirmed by the sentiment echoed in the 1970 theatrical release “Love Story.” Then again, there’s the defiant response to the universal language of amour and human conflict ignited by betrayal, which ultimately signals the end of it all, as depicted in the film “One Bedroom.”

“Love means never having to give up your apartment.”

Director Darien Sills-Evans has upped the ante and delivered one of the best, freshest and essentially moving films of 2018 with “One Bedroom.” The movie deals with the heart-of-the-matter by dissecting the lives and complexities of a relationship rocked by infidelity. The feature takes an intimate look at its central characters, Nate and Melissa (played by Sills-Evans and Devin Nelson, respectively), and shows what happens when a third person is unwittingly thrown into the fray. It proves that even the most passionate of lovers will come undone as their union experiences heartbreak and broken promises…all because one partner made the unwise decision to cheat.   

RG Magazine was able to check in with Sills-Evans to get the lowdown on “One Bedroom” which critics and audiences, alike, are resoundingly singing the praises of. Born in Brooklyn, New York but now residing in California, the director, who has also starred in “Superior Donuts,” “Treme” and “Rivers Wash Over Me,” took the time out of his hectic schedule to ruminate about life, his creative endeavors and the film that shines the spotlight on romance and what happens when it slides off the rails. Here is what he shared with the publication…

Was there a certain event or muse that struck early on in your life which prompted you to pursue a career in the Arts, namely acting and writing? If so, what was the impetus behind your drive to achieve these goals?

I can’t recall any ONE thing that pushed me into the Arts, but I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was a child. My grandparents gave me a typewriter when I was six, and that started me (on my journey) as a writer. I wasn’t interested in acting or filmmaking, until I became a teenager. 

Millions of people dream BIG but never see their ideas come to fruition. What exactly did you do to make your life’s purpose a bona fide reality?

I never give up. I never stop. This business is pretty much all I’ve known since I was about fourteen, so I’m mostly motivated by wanting to eat and pay my bills. With this project, I was extremely lucky to have a production partner, Devin Williams, who believed in the film.

What inspired “One Bedroom” to be written and turned into a film?

I’ve had a few break-ups and have also collected the break-up stories of others over the years.

For those who may be curious as to what this film is all about, please give a brief synopsis of the movie.

Melissa and Nate’s turbulent relationship has reached its end. While Melissa’s brother and best friend help her move out, she and Nate have their final fight. Flashbacks in the Brooklyn apartment show us where Melissa and Nate’s love life went wrong. Love means never having to give up your apartment.

In your opinion, what is it exactly about New York, by way of Brooklyn, that render the metropolises such wonderful, vibrant settings for film, as showcased in “One Bedroom?”

New York, as a place and state-of-mind, is something that many people have aspired to. It’s automatic narrative shorthand for almost any genre of story.

What does Brooklyn mean to you?

I was born there, lived almost my whole existence there and try to return as often as possible. Brooklyn is my life.

Your film has garnered accolades and won several awards for its relevancy and profundity that cross-examines the ever-changing moodscapes of relationships that oftentimes start out one way but end up another. What makes “One Bedroom” such a compelling, open-book study in its portrayal of the couple featured in the film?

I think “One Bedroom” has been connecting with audiences because everyone can see themselves in the story. Many of us have had break-ups or have been in relationships with someone who prevented us from being our best or have lied to our partner at one point or another.

The cast in “One Bedroom” truly shines. How were you so fortunate to have found this coterie of talent to star in the movie?

Very fortunate. I knew the actors who play the barbers, because we’ve worked together previously, or I knew them as fellow stand-up comedians, but everyone else came to us through casting calls. It’s always exciting to meet someone new and hear how they interpret the script.

The dialogue spoken between the actors in “One Bedroom” feels organic, realistic. What is the key ingredient to ensure authenticity and realness in words chosen and scripted for film?

Thank you. That means a lot to me. I listen to how people speak, not just the words they say but how they use words. My characters don’t speak perfectly, don’t have their thoughts crystalized and aren’t trying to be funny (even though they are funny). I think that might be what makes them feel more real to the audience. I also try not to write things I’ve heard people say in the movies before.

What do you consider your greatest achievement with “One Bedroom?”

That a comedy with an all-black cast has connected with audiences in so many different markets.

What songs/music have been incorporated into the soundtrack of “One Bedroom?”

The songs were written and compiled by our composer Doug Simpson. We have a LOT of great tracks on the soundtrack. “Leaving Me,” by Imani Simpson, is probably my favorite, but “Brooklyn Was Beautiful,” by Doug Simpson and the Sistah, appear frequently. The soundtrack can be heard and purchased on iTunes, Spotify, Google Music and Pandora. I can’t recommend it enough. 

What do you hope “One Bedroom” will leave its audience?

I hope it leaves the audiences satisfied. There aren’t many films about two people expressing complex ideas about relationships and sex. Hopefully, they’ll leave wanting to discuss the ideas with their significant other. Worst case scenario, they leave laughing.

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