Boots Riley and Steven Yeun on 'Sorry To Bother You' Set

Source: Peter Prato / Annapurna Pictures

What was it like seeing Sorry To Bother You for the first time for the film’s cast and crew? We sat down with Steven Yeun (Squeeze), Omari Hardwick (Mr. ______), and Terry Crews (Sergio), who said watching the film reminded him of the first time he saw Do the Right Thing Sorry to Bother You is in theaters everywhere now.

CASSIUS: There are so many things about Sorry to Bother You that make it so dynamic. Now that you’ve seen the final product, was it what you expected it to be?

Terry Crews: I wanna start that out because I didn’t know how [Boots Riley] was gonna put what was in the script on the screen. And I was turning pages and it got more and more bonkers, but then I had to do it. I was like ‘I gotta be a part of this. I gotta. It’s too incredible!’ And he did it. [The first time seeing the film at Sundance] I was like “Holy cow.” It reminded me of the first time I saw Do the Right Thing and my mind was blown. Like the world is different. Everything after this is different.

Omari Hardwick: I got about an hour and a half of phone conversation with [Boots], and in that I did see the way his brain thought. In hearing his thoughts, I thought ‘If it’s made it this far.’ That’s what I kept thinking. Macro Media—shout out to Charles King and that team and Nina [Yang Bongiovi] and Forest Whitaker’s company—they allowed him to make it this far after he had it on the shelf for about seven years, so by the time I got on the phone with him I did feel it was transferrable. Obviously, I wouldn’t have signed up for it if it wasn’t, but the way he told it still tricked us all. Also, Terry and I have known each other and each other’s work so long. Steven and I had never seen each other’s work. I had watched Walking Dead, but awesomely, he had never seen Power. And he said “Omari, I’ve never seen you in anything in life.”

Steven Yeun: [Joking] I was like “WHO are you?”

O.H.: And it was really great! Steven and I built a relationship which is very reflective of what we all built with this movie, and that’s a relationship of learning more than we thought was there, more than meets the eye, more than meets the ear. Even in terms of what [Boots] gave me on the phone, it still was a lot more once I watched the final product, and we learned that about each other as actors.

C.: Now I’m curious, with the white voices, were you guys lip syncing or were you actually reciting lines with the audio being added later? How did that work, and was it awkward?

O.H.: At one point [in white voice] we were going into the white voice [back to normal voice] and Boots said “Don’t worry about it. Just talk.” Because “don’t insult Pat Oswald and David Cross.” He said “Let them have a free-for-all.” So we ended up sort of dialing it back a bit after he told us. Pat Oswald made me sound sexy.

Also, check out our interview with Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson.


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