TUD: Before we continue, I have to say one thing that I hope you take as a compliment. You die very well.

MBJ: [laughs] I’m gonna take that as a compliment. My hope is to not make that a trend or a routine thing. I hope this is the last time you’re gonna have to see me go out like that, for a while at lease. Can’t be known as the guy that dies really well.

TUD: With the pressure of all of that responsibility, what sustained you so that you didn’t crack under the weight of expectation?

MBJ: I think it’s just in doing the homework and trying to be prepared as possible. I was able to get to know Oscar through the people who knew him best – through his mom, girlfriend, daughter and best friends. Taking those perspectives, which were all different, and building myself up with all of those perspectives made me confident and helped in the process. Doing that let me know that I was going to be able to get a handle on this guy. I see a lot of myself in Oscar. Plus, having a strong leader in the director, Ryan Coogler, and having a talented cast helped.

TUD: The film is very heavy and serious. So what was the energy like on set? Did it mirror the subject matter?

MBJ: Sometimes. Sometimes the set was very heavy. There were some light moments, but that’s all because of Octavia Spencer, okay. She’d come in every once in a while and she’d make sure everybody had a good laugh and lightened the mood. She is such an angel for that because of course, we respected the work we were doing but every once in a while we needed that laugh because of how serious the film is.

TUD: What else are you working on besides “Fruitvale Station?”

MBJ: I just wrapped a romantic comedy. It’s lighter. It’s about three friends and one goes through a divorce. So they decide they’re going to stay single for as long as they can, but eventually, they all start to fall in love. It’s really about dating in this day and age which is very different from dating 10, 15 years ago.

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