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for the full review of BLINDSPOTTING.
When I spoke to BLINDSPOTTING’s co-stars/co-writers Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal on July 12, 2018, I decided to start the conversation with one of the things that struck me most about their film, which was the enormous compassion it shows for all its characters. That is, with on notable exception that I made a point of bringing up.
We went on to discuss preconceived snap judgments in a polarized town, their approach to making BLINDSPOTTING a non-traditional musical, and their own experiences of a rapidly changing Oakland.
We finished with the how the self-proclaimed sound nerds devised the superb sound mix used to express Collin’s PTSD episodes, the Michael Bay button, and the importance of art in trouble times.
The film is set in contemporary Oakland, where Diggs and Casal grew up as life-long friends, but the story has the heightened reality of a fable. In it, Collin, Diggs’ character, negotiates a fraught last three days of probation while also negotiating the mercurial moods of his best and life-long friend, Miles, played by Casal. Their odyssey through gentrification, class- and race-issues, and best intentions at cross-purposes becomes a meditation on the divisions that lurk in plain sight, but that we won’t, or can’t, acknowledge. A film of high emotions, both farcical and tragic, it is a film explosive in content, and deeply humane in execution. It’s also brilliantly funny and even more brilliantly visualized by director Carlos López Estrada. He directed from a script co-written by Diggs and Cassal. Diggs’ previous work includes Diggs’ turn as Bo’s brother on television’s blackish, and doing double-duty originated the dual role of Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette in Hamilton. Casal is a slam-poet whose credits include Def Jam and the albums The Monster LP, Mean Ones. The pair also collaborated on the play, The Limp.