Writer-director Reinaldo Marcus Green, 36, grew up on Staten Island. He took a master’s degree in education, then worked on Wall Street before studying film at NYU. His debut feature, Monsters and Men, which last year won a special jury prize at Sundance, is about the repercussions of the shooting by police of an unarmed black man in Brooklyn. It’s in cinemas and streaming from Friday. Green is currently directing episodes of season 3 of the London-set Netflix series Top Boy.
Monsters and Men is not so much about a shooting as about three different characters’ responses to it.
Title - Film - Question - Nothing - Monster
I had the title before I had the film. It was a question I was asking myself: if I do nothing, am I a monster, am I complicit in not being actively involved? In my short film Stop, I cast a friend of mine who’s a police officer, and we started talking about Eric Garner [who died while being arrested in Staten Island in 2014]. Here’s someone I thought was liberal-progressive [defending the police position], and what ended up becoming the dinner party scene in Monsters and Men [a debate about whether US police should have the right to shoot someone resisting arrest] was the discussion we had that night at Sundance. I didn’t agree with him, but he was bringing up his point of view, as much as it pained me. That was really the start of this film.
The storyline about Zyrick, a young baseball player facing a moral choice, makes us think of recent protests by American athletes, most famously Colin Kaepernick. Was that story happening when you were making the film?
Start - News - Colin - Kaepernick - Man
At the start, it wasn’t. Then, reading the news, I asked myself, how would Colin Kaepernick have responded at 17? He’s a grown man, he has a platform. When you’re...
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