With director Fletcher Moules‘ Entergalactic now streaming on Netflix, I recently spoke with Kenya Barris about producing the adult animated music television special that accompanies Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi’s new studio album of the same name. If you haven’t seen the trailer, Entergalactic is a cool 21st century reboot to the rom com that combines animation, fashion, music and art. It’s also about two young artists navigating the twists and turns of finding love in New York City.
Entergalactic boasts an all-star cast including Timothee Chalamet, Ty Dolla $ign, Laura Harrier, Vanessa Hudgens, Christopher Abbott, 070 Shake, Jaden Smith, KeithDavid, Teyana Taylor, Arturo Castro other Macaulay Culkin.
COLLIDER VIDEO OF THE DAY
During the interview, Kenya Barris talked about why he wanted to make the project, how they wanted to create something no one had seen before, collaborating with Virgil Abloh for the costumes, his upcoming feature directorial debut, you peoplewhich stars Jonah Hill other Eddie Murphyand the White Men Can’t Jump remake.
In addition, after you watch Entergalactic, you’ll be like me and wonder if they will continue the story or use the format they created to tell new stories. I asked Barris what could happen in the future. He told me:
“We would love to do it as a proof of concept for something we would like to do for other artists, and maybe either continue this story, or do other artists. We think that it’s a really interesting way to sort of introduce music along with story, and to bring the magic of animation together. Animation, especially when you put music, it lasts forever. My kids are still singing Moana, and Bambi, and all this stuff. So the idea of that just can go on forever.”
Watch what he had to say in the player above, or you can read our conversation below.
COLLIDER: I want to start with a sincere congratulations. I thought Entergalactic turned out fantastic.
Oh thanks bro. I’m super excited about it.
As well, you absolutely should be. I like throwing a curve at the beginning. If someone has actually never seen anything that you’ve done before, what is the first thing you want them watching and why?
I would say Black-ish. I think that it’s something that changed my life and it’s about my family, gives a lot of context to sort the types of stories I like to do, and kind of like speaking about things in a way that’s not necessarily been spoken about before, and I’m super proud of it. So like #BlackAF. I would probably say #BlackAF. I actually would probably say #BlackAF. I think that one’s really
So the answer got changed. I got it.
I think that was the version I was a little bit more comfortable with myself and it sort of was a little bit more honest look at my family.
One of the things about an animated project like this that has so many different parts is it takes a long time to obviously make. How long ago did you start working on this?
Years. I think it’s been almost three years.
And because a lot of animated stuff changes dramatically during the making. Was this one of these things where it always stayed the same? Were there radical changes?
Yes and no. You know what I’m saying? I mean, we knew what we wanted to do. It was the first time an album would be associated with a project in a very unique way, a proprietary way. We knew we wanted it to be about love and romance, and guy meets girl, guy lose girl, guy gets girl back because that’s often not the stories we get to tell.
We knew we wanted it to look different in a way that we had never seen before, and I feel like very of the moment, and hopefully, of many moments past this. I think there was some differing things of whether it was going to be a feature, whether it was going to be a series, and we kind of found the best mesh of the two.
I’ve read a lot where it says it’s a series, but I almost consider it a movie. How are you quantifying this?
It’s a series. It’s a series event. It’s broken up by chapters and I think it actually is a really, really good analogy for what it is.
Do you think this could be the beginning of others…Do you envision this continuing in some way, either using the animation to tell other stories, or do you think this was an isolated thing for you guys?
We would love to do it as a proof of concept for something we would like to do for other artists, and maybe either continue this story, or do other artists. We think that it’s a really interesting way to sort of introduce music along with story, and to bring the magic of animation together. Animation, especially when you put music, it lasts forever. My kids are still singing Moana, and Bambi, and all this stuff. So the idea of that just can go on forever.
One of the other things that I found really cool is you collaborated with Virgil Abloh for the costumes. Can you talk about getting to work with Virgil and because I think one of the things that’s so cool is the way you reported cool costumes, art, it’s just a cool melting pot.
Well, Virgil and Cudi are really good friends. I’m a huge… Virgil and I knew each other, but I wasn’t a friend like Cudi was. But we knew that we wanted to have in a way that we hadn’t seen from an animated show, we wanted… For me as a producer and filmmaker, everything in that screen, I think I’m responsible for, from which you hear, to which you see, to what people are wearing, to everything.
And I think that we wanted to make sure not to lose that because it’s animated and to actually expand upon that. And to get Virgil Abloh’s brilliance in the design aesthetic of this show, and it happens to be one of the last things that he was able to do, it stands for us like it’s a sentiment and something that we feel like is a really special hallmark of what this project is.
I’m so curious about the White Men Can’t Jump remake. Why is now the best time to reboot it or what can you tell people about it?
I think that was a very, very special relationship that started between Woody and Wesley, right? And I think it was about people from different worlds coming together. And I think right now that’s sort of becomes a hallmark of the stories I want to tell. It’s about people coming from different worlds who have something that they feel like other people don’t believe in them, but they believe in themselves, and it really is a perfect time.
Jack Harlow’s amazing. Sinqua (Walls) is amazing. And the soundtrack, DJ Drama’s doing our soundtrack for it, and we think that’s going to be in the same way that we’re doing Above the Rim too, but the same way we want to really bring that back. I think music is emotion and we want to bring back big music to movies and make you feel like that’s just as part of much of the movie as the movie itself.
Last question for you. I’m very excited to see you people next year, which I believe you wrote with Jonah Hill. You have Eddie Murphy in it. What can you tell people about it? What are you excited for people to see?
It was my feature directorial debut. I was terrified. You know what I’m saying? We could spend a lot of money with big stars, and seeing your words that you wrote is one thing, but seeing the words that you wrote directing them is another. And I feel like it really does, in the same way, take two different takes. People have said it’s this, it’s that. It really is talking about two worlds coming together and the thing that brings them together is love, which I really not trying to be saccharin, which I really think the world really actually needs more of.
I think that people are going to be blown away with Lauren London. You’ve never seen Eddie Murphy like this. Jonah as a leading man murders it. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, she’s a surgeon. David Duchovny, who’s in it, is amazing. Nia Long is amazing. I think we got just a gold mine of cast and I hope people really respond to it the way that I have been, in every iteration of it, really happy with it.
Can’t wait to see it. And serious congratulations on Entergalactic. Thank you for your time.
Thank you bro.