Podtalk: Co-Stars Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal of ‘Blindspotting’

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CHICAGO – If there are themes emerging in the 2018 film year, a couple of them are incorporated in Oakland, California, and African American identity. Like the recent “Black Panther” and “Sorry to Bother You,” the new film “Blindspotting” – written by and featuring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal – involve those themes.

Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal of ‘Blindspotting’
Photo credit: Summit Entertainment

But it’s also very different that the other two films. Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal are lifelong friends from Oakland, and have experienced the city emerging from being the dismissed stepchild of the grander San Francisco to another rapidly gentrifying land grab, thanks to the expanding Silicon Valley and area housing costs.

In their co-creator story of Oakland, Diggs portrays Collin, who is coming to the end of a prison sentence and probation. Casal is Miles, his best friend and co-worker with Collin for a moving company. When Collin witnesses a police shooting of an unarmed African American man, his life is thrown for a loop, and leads to confrontations he never expected. This passionate and contemporary story combines Diggs and Casal’s rap/hip-hop roots with the screenplay, as some dialogue is played out as street poetry.

The Writers and Featured Performers of ‘Blindspotting’
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for HollywoodChicago.com

As part of their friendship, Diggs and Casal also collaborated on a album called “The BAY BOY Mixtape” (2010), part of the music careers of both men. Diggs is also known for being in the original Off-Broadway and Broadway cast of the now legendary musical “Hamilton,” winning a Tony and a Grammy for his portrayal of the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. He has also gone on to appear on TV (“Black-ish,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), film (“Wonder”) and have a role as an executive producer on the TV series “The Mayor.”

In PART ONE of a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, co-creators and co-stars Daveed Diggs (answers first question) and Rafael Casal (begins second question) of “Blindspotting” talk about the origin of the film’s premise, creating their characters and why the city of Oakland became the center of the 2018 cinema universe.

In PART TWO, the duo reflect on growing up with guns, advice for their characters and the inevitable question regarding the phenomenon of “Hamilton.”

“Blindspotting” opens in Chicago on July 20th, with a wider nationwide release on July 27th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ethan Embry and Tisha Campbell-Martin. Written by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. Directed by Carlos López Estrada. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2018 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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