With director Fletcher Mussels‘ entergalactic now streaming on Netflix, I recently spoke with Kenya Barris about the production of the accompanying adult animated music television special Scott “Kid Cudi” At Mescudi’s new studio album of the same name. If you haven’t seen the trailer, entergalactic is a cool 21st century rom com reboot that combines animation, fashion, music and art. It is also about two young artists navigating the meanders of the search for love in New York.
entergalactic features an all-star cast, including Timothée Chalamet, Ty Dolla$ign, Laura Harrier, Vanessa Hudgens, Christopher Abbott, 070 Shake, Jaden Smith, keith david, Teyana Taylor, Arthur Castro and Macaulay Culkin.
During the interview, Kenya Barris talked about why he wanted to do the project, how they wanted to create something no one had seen before, collaborating with Virgil Abloh for the costumes, his first feature film to come, you peoplewhich features Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphyand the white men can’t jump remake.
Moreover, after looking entergalactic, you’ll be like me and wonder if they’ll continue the story or use the format they created to tell new stories. I asked Barris what might happen in the future. He told me:
“We would like to do this as a proof of concept for something that we would like to do for other artists, and maybe either continue that story or do other artists. We think it’s a really interesting way to introduce the music along with the story, and bring together the magic of animation. Animation, especially when you put on music, lasts forever. My children are still singing Moanaand Bambi, and all that. So the idea of it can go on forever.
Watch what he had to say in the player above, or you can read our conversation below.
COLLIDER: I want to start with sincere congratulations. I thought Entergalactic was fantastic.
Oh, thank you brother. I’m super excited about this.
Likewise, you absolutely should be. I like to throw a curve at the start. If someone has never seen what you have done before, what is the first thing you want them to look at and why?
I would say Blackish. I think it’s something that has changed my life and is about my family, gives a lot of context to sort out the types of stories I like to do, and kind of like talking about things in a way that doesn’t hasn’t necessarily been addressed before, and I’m super proud of it. Also as #BlackAF. I would probably say #BlackAF. in fact I would say probably #BlackAF. I think it’s really-
The answer has therefore been modified. I understood.
I think that was the version I was a little more comfortable with and it was kind of a little more honest look at my family.
One of the things about an anime project like this that has so many different parts is that it obviously takes a long time to complete. How long ago did you start working on it?
Years. I think it’s been almost three years.
And because a lot of animated things change drastically during manufacturing. Was it one of those things where he always stayed the same? Have there been any drastic changes?
Yes and no. Do you know what I’m saying? I mean, we knew what we wanted to do. It was the first time that an album was tied to a project in a very unique, proprietary way. We knew we wanted it to be about love and romance, and guy meets girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl back because those are often not the stories we tell.
We knew we wanted it to be different in a way that we hadn’t seen before, and I feel like very much of the moment, and hopefully, many moments past. I think there were different things about whether it was going to be a feature film, whether it was going to be a series, and we kind of found the best mesh of the two.
I’ve read a lot where it says it’s a series, but I almost consider it a movie. How do you quantify that?
It’s a serie. It is a serial event. It’s broken down into chapters and I think that’s actually a really, really good analogy for what it is.
Do you think this could be the start of other… Do you envision this continuing in some way, either using animation to tell other stories, or do you think this was an isolated thing for you?
We’d like to do this as a proof of concept for something we’d like to do for other artists, and maybe either continue that story or do other artists. We think it’s a really interesting way to introduce the music along with the story, and bring together the magic of animation. Animation, especially when you put on music, lasts forever. My children are still singing Moanaand Bambi, and all that. So the idea of this can go on forever.
One of the other things that I thought was really cool was that you collaborated with Virgil Abloh on the costumes. Can you talk about working with Virgil and because I think one of the things that’s so cool is how you’ve fused cool costumes, art, it’s just a cool melting pot.
Well, Virgil and Cudi are very good friends. I’m a huge… Virgil and I knew each other, but I wasn’t a friend like Cudi. But we knew we wanted to have in a way that we hadn’t seen in an animated series, we wanted… For me as a producer and a filmmaker, everything on this screen, I think I’m responsible, at what you hear from, what you see, what people are wearing, everything.
And I think we wanted to make sure we didn’t lose that because it’s animated and to develop that. And to get the brilliance of Virgil Abloh in the design aesthetic of this show, and it happens to be one of the last things he was able to do, it represents us like it’s a feeling and something that we think is a really special hallmark of what this project is.
I’m so curious about it white men can’t jump remake. Why is now the best time to restart it or what can you tell people about it?
I think it was a very, very special relationship that started between Woody and Wesley, right? And I think it was people from different worlds coming together. And I think right now that kind of becomes the hallmark of the stories that I want to tell. It’s about people from different worlds who have something that they feel like other people don’t believe in them, but they believe in themselves, and it really is a perfect moment.
Jack Harlow is amazing. Sinqua (walls) is amazing. And the soundtrack, DJ Drama is doing our soundtrack for that, and we think it’s gonna be the same way we do above the edge also, but in the same way, we really want to bring that back. I think music is an emotion and we want to bring great music back into movies and make you feel like it’s just as much a part of the movie as the movie itself.
Last question for you. I am very excited to see you people next year, which I believe you wrote with Jonah Hill. You have Eddie Murphy in it. What can you tell people about it? What are you looking forward to people seeing?
It was my first feature film as a director. I was terrified. Do you know what I’m saying? We could spend a lot of money with big stars, and seeing your words you wrote is one thing, but seeing the words you wrote to direct them is another. And I feel like it really takes, in the same way, two different takes. People said it’s this, it’s that. It’s really about two worlds coming together and the thing that brings them together is love, which I’m really not trying to be saccharine, which I really think the world really needs more of.
I think people are going to be blown away with Lauren London. You’ve never seen Eddie Murphy like this. Jonas as a leading man assassinates him. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, she is a surgeon. David Duchovny, who is in it, is incredible. Nia Long is amazing. I think we just have a distribution goldmine and I hope people really respond to it like I’ve been, on every iteration, really happy with it.
Can’t wait to see it. And serious congratulations for entergalactic. Thank you for your time.
Thank you my friend.