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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Speakeasy with F. Gary Gray


By Quatoyiah Murry

F. Gary Gray jump-started his career in the early ’90s doing music videos and short films. Since then, the director has stood the test of time as one of the most reputable directors currently out there. Gray has worked with Hollywood A-listers, including Mark Walhberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Donald Sutherland and Kevin Spacey. His most recent film, the cat-and-mouse thriller Law Abiding Citizen, opens Oct. 16. Citizen follows Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) who, feeling betrayed by the judicial system, decides to take justice into his own hands to the dismay of district attorney Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx). Here, Gray discusses the movie, his evolution as a director, and the film industry.

Many of your films, such as Set it Off, Friday, and The Negotiator, share a commonality with Law Abiding Citizen in that they're very character-driven films. What draws you to these types of movies?

Movies with strong characters are always a draw for me. Characters and story, those are the two most important elements for me to kind of get excited about. With this particular film it was really the concept, the concept of a man taking an entire city hostage from a prison cell was different to me and the character was really inventive and very smart. There was a great chess game between the two, which is the spine of the movie, and the chemistry between the two characters [portrayed by] Gerard and Jamie — I looked forward to putting together with these guys.

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(Photo Courtesy Overture Films)

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