Top Boy’s Micheal Ward And Britain’s Rapman Say “Blue Story” Is Like “Boyz N The Hood” Of The UK
(AllHipHop Features) While some may consider the “hood” movie to be a cliche in a Hollywood context, but these stories more authentic that the standard tinsel town tale. These mini sagas are marginalized or pushed to the fringes once they lose pop viably. Director Rapman’s “Blue Story” breaks through all of the red tape and even the pandemic of coronavirus in a decidedly Hip-Hop fashion. “I’ma show you what these young men are fighting for,” Rapman lyrically spits as he rolls out the tale of Tim and Marco, best friends that find themselves in the middle of warring factions.
“Blue Story” stars Rapman (narrator), Stephen Odubola (Timmy), Michael Ward (Marco) and a host of other talented actors that round out a movie that was temporarily banned from theaters. With the movie getting an injection from Roc Nation and Paramount, the saga of friends-turned-enemies is now worldwide and viral like the pandemic that almost stunted its growth.
AllHipHop: So first of all, I just want to say, well big, big congratulations on getting this movie done. I looked at the backstory what led up to the movie. And so I have to say, super props, congratulations and everything on actually making the movie because-
Rapman: Yeah, appreciate it.
AllHipHop: The story, maybe it might not have gotten done.
Rapman: Yeah, no, it's true.
AllHipHop: So can you first tell me about the process of getting it started and finishing it?
Rapman: Well, when I wrote it 2016, 2015, 2008, end of 2015 early 2016. And I just wrote it because I already had the YouTube shoot on there and everyone wanted it to be a feature version. So I adapted it. By the time I was unknown, I didn't have a big following. So I didn't know how in the world I was going to get it made, but I just knew that I was going to finish the script. I've never wrote in a film before in my life, but I said I need to try, I need to finish this.
So I just done it with no stress, no pressure. And yeah, I just wrote it. And then when it got done, I didn't think it was ever going to get made, but I done some shoots a year after it was called “Shiro’s Story” that really got everyone's attention. They done really well on YouTube.
And then I had film producers approaching me, asking me have you got anything else there? And I said, no, but I've got this script I wrote a couple of years ago and this is what I want to do next. The producer, Damian Jones, he took the script out on a Monday and come Friday he said, "All the studios want to do it, we've got offers." I'm thinking right, films can't get me that quick, this guy must be pulling my chain or something, this doesn't make sense because I've never made a film so I don't know the process. But what I know I met that Damian Jones guy in October and November the following year the movie was out in the cinema. So yeah, he was the real deal. They really liked the script because apparently films never get made so quickly.
It was just big for everyone. Could we haven't had a film based on the streets of London for a long time, so it was a big deal when it got announced. And everyone in the UK was excited and yeah, we got it done.
AllHipHop: Nice. Now attracted you to this script, Mike? What brought you to the table? What was attractive for you?
Micheal Ward: I mean when you're at the beginning you don't get the full script. I had to go for three scenes. And the three scenes that I saw, I saw clearly that there was an arc and clearly that it was different from the character that I was playing at the time, which was Jamie. And obviously because of being it being in the same that was one thing that I didn't want to do. Once I had seen the scene, I saw that Michael would be so fun and so energetic and just a youthful energy to something that I just wanted to portray that on camera, man because I feel like I have never seen that before, just kids in school just having fun.
And when I saw that script I knew what it was going to be. And especially the arc because the first scene I'd got was the scene at the end of the movie. And I saw that there was a clear difference between how Marco would have been at the beginning of the film and how you would have ended. And that is so important within a movie to show different emotions and go through a journey because those are the kinds of stories people enjoy and the stories that I enjoy to watch as a person. So the fact I could be a part of something like that was special, man.
AllHipHop: Nice. Now, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention “Top Boy,” which is a big show on this side of the pond.
Micheal Ward: Really?
AllHipHop:Yeah, at least f or people like myself, I really enjoy it and other films as well. Some might-
Rapman: He said “really”…We was in Atlanta. We worked in Atlanta and TI came up to him, he said, "I know you." I'll never forget that.
AllHipHop: Oh really!
Rapman: Yeah. Working with Mike in America is like working with flipping Denzel Washington. He is the man out there. He's got all the juice, they love the show (“Top Boy”, they love him. It's basically like how he is in that's UK is how he is over there. So don't let him be like that, "Really?" He knows, it pops off over there.
AllHipHop: You had me fooled for a second there, Mike, I got to admit. Massive show. We'll talk about that in a minute. But it's clearly a different story, but what would you say are the differences for someone that may not know?
Micheal Ward: I'd say the clear difference between “Top Boy” and Blue Story is in “Top Boy” it's more about the drugs. Yeah, it's money driven. Whereas I believe anyway, Blue Story is a lot more love driven. People are acting more from real impulse emotions. You know what I'm trying to say? Or for real proper situations that I feel like even if you take the situations that happen outside of the urban world it is still something that could happen. These are still things that can arise without it being in a gang. These are things that, stories that can be told in loads of different ways.
So I feel that Blue Story and "Top Boy” are just so different when it comes down to that. And yeah man, it's just for me it was important to show the two differences and why? Because obviously “Top Boy” has a message and Blue Story has a message and I feel that that was what was important for me just being able to tell the two messages completely different.
And yeah, I believe that with content from the UK, especially from the urban UK it's good to show that, especially now that we can have something from the same world, but how different it is just shows that we've got so much talented people over this side of the pond also man, you know what I'm saying?
AllHipHop: Definitely, I... Well, let's talk about the Hip-Hop part of the movie. Rap, how do you marry it? You do all the rap vocals.
Rapman: Yeah. It's like a musical, I narrate through... Put it this way, Shawshank Redemption, if Morgan Freeman was spitting, it would be that, but he's not reacting while he's saying it, he's just narrating it. I'm just doing it in my own style. And originally in the script, it wasn't in the original script. I wrote it as a traditional script, but the producers were like, "Look, if you put your USP on it, not only does it make it different, it really attracts your audience that are there for what Rapman does? And some people love it, some people hate it. But what I personally like about it is that it's unique.
AllHipHop: So how important are the States to you guys?
Rapman: And I second it, to be honest. You know what it is? Look, we are super proud of our city, we're UK London boys and we love it, but we're like, I don't know the size, not even a quarter of the States. And it's not only because we just enjoy the accent and the food, it's a bigger playground over there. So we would love for this film to resonate over there because it's a bigger audience to see what we sweated on, a bigger audience to see the story we're trying to tell. And a bigger audience to get our message and to be entertained by like what Michael said, by UK talent that they normally wouldn't see.
Rapman: And I think it's a good year for America to see the UK talent because if you think about the last Top Boy was what, seven years ago or something like that?
AllHipHop: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Rapman: And before then, nothing crossed over. I've never seen a UK show cross over like “Top Boy” has, ever. And if Blue Story the Movie, I know we had a cinema round, we would have definitely got it popping over there. And we've already had rows of messages from loads of people from the States who have been watching it illegally. “I'm from New York, I love it. I'm from LA, I love it.”
So we've been getting the messages and I've been to LA screenings and seeing the way they react to it. Mike has been at New York screenings, he's seen the way they've reacted to it. And we just know as long as you guys see it, we know you're going to enjoy it because they call it the British Boy-N The Hood you know? And the reason why that is because it hits you with similar mottoes of what Boy-N The Hood hit you with.