Posted by Wilson Morales
Currently in theaters from CodeBlack is their new thriller, ‘TRAFFIK‘, starring Paula Patton, Omar Epps, Roselyn Sanchez, Laz Alonso, Luke Goss, William Fichtner, and Missi Pyle.
The film was written and directed by Deon Taylor, and produced by Roxanne Avent, Paula Patton and Taylor.
In the action packed thriller, Brea Stephens (Paula Patton) goes on what is supposed to be a romantic getaway to a remote estate with her boyfriend, John Wilson (Omar Epps), until the couple is surprised by the arrival of two friends, Darren (Laz Alonso) and Malia (Roselyn Sanchez). Just when the weekend starts to get back on track, they find themselves unknowingly in possession of a phone containing proof of a violent biker gang’s sex trafficking exploits. Caught in the crosshairs of the relentless crew, the foursome are forced to fight for their lives against the gang who will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.
Best known for her roles in Déjà Vu, Precious, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Jumping The Broom, and Baggage Claim, Patton is not only playing a lead role, but she also got involved behind the scenes as one of the producers.
Blackfilm.com recently spoke with Patton regarding her role in Traffic.
How did the role come about?
Paula Patton: Well, I’m friends with Jeff Clanagan, who owns Codeblack, and he told me about the director Deon Taylor and his script and he thought I could produce it with him and it would be a great opportunity for me. So, the three of us got together in 2016, and we just had a lot of great conversation. At some point each of us were working on different projects and it seemed liked we wouldn’t be able to this. Then the money ran out on the money on the project I was going to do and I called Deon and ten days later, we were shooting.
There’s a lot going on with your character. How involved were you with the script?
Paula Patton: It was great. It was a collaborative thing between me and Deon. It’s one thing to do a genre film and it’s another to have the characters in a certain situation and be specific as we could. That’s what made it interesting and entertaining, especially when you’re not frightening people.
Can you describe your character Brea?
Paula Patton: I would say that she’s a woman in the crossroads in her life. She feels she’s not on a stable ground. She’s afraid of love, and afraid where her career is going. She goes out and spends her weekend with her man that she loves. They have a stop at a truck stop, just like life, when you go in the wrong alley suddenly your whole life changes. Then you get to see who she really is. Like anybody, whenever our backs are against the wall, our true colors appear and you realize that this is a tenacious individual with a true passion that helps people other than herself.
How much research did you in the sex trafficking ring?
Paula Patton: I didn’t really know much about it at all and the film is about bringing the truth about this to the audience and call it for what it is, slavery. I believe the world could be better and we can actually move forward when we starting speaking the truth about everything. Trafficking is slavery in modern day.
Were you more physical in this film than you were in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol?
Paula Patton: Good question. In this film, Brea didn’t have a skill set. She had a will to survive. It was fun. It was scrappy and bruised up. That’s the fun of it. With Mission, it was different.
How was the chemistry between you and the cast?
Paula Patton: We all knew each other. It was one of those magical things where everyone got along. Laz had played my soon-to-be fiancé in the movie Jumping The Broom and Omar Epps and I knew each other socially. The same goes with Roselyn, but we had never worked together. Deon is excellent at bringing folks together and encouraging us to feel the characters and bring our own details and specificity to it.
How was working with Deon?
Paula Patton: He was great. He’s confident in listening to other ideas. He has a vision but also allows you to have your word. He’s an enthusiastic, kind human being and that lent to a really great working experience.
What was the experience like as a producer? What does that mean when folks can see you were involved behind the scenes as well?
Paula Patton: What it means to me is that I get to be part of the creative team. It’s about seeing your vision come to light and I’ve always cared about the process as a whole, the movie as a whole. It’s not just about my role and what I get to do in it. I’ve always spoke my mind and given my opinion in the past, and this was one of those opportunities where people had to listen and it was all with love. I really have a desire to make better movies, where people are treated fairly and kindly. I’m trying to find a way where it’s less suffering in life as a whole, but definitely in the process of making movies. I’m hoping now to producing more in the future.
What’s next after this?
Paula Patton: I’m going to London to shoot a pilot of Starz called “The Rook” and I’m playing a villain and I’m excited about that.