Tina Gordon Chism started off as an intern in the writers room of The Cosby Show. Then she wrote two movies: Drumline and ATL. And tomorrow her directorial debut Peeples opens in theaters, so she came in to talk with Tell Me More Host Michel Martin about the film's real-life familiar premise: meeting your significant other's family for the first time.
The movie stars several popular and accomplished actors (Kerry Washington and Craig Robinson as the couple, David Alan Grier as Washington's father, and Diahann Carroll as her grandmother), something that Chism thought would be intimidating for a first-time director. But on the first day, Carroll made a speech about how excited she was to be working on this movie with this cast. It set a great tone for the entire shoot.
During the interview, Chism told Martin about the inspiration for the premise of the movie and a few of the characters too: her own life. Chism recalls anticipating meeting her boyfriend's family for the first time. She had seen pictures, and thought they seemed perfect, describing them as the "Chocolate Kennedys." But then, during a weekend with them, she realized there were cracks in the façade along with unconditional love. Grier's character in the movie is inspired by a family friend: an accomplished, powerful, African-American family man, who spent an entire dinner whispering to Chism that her boyfriend wasn't a suitable match.
If that's not enough, in the interview you also get to hear a clip that Chism refers to as the "sweat-off" scene, which takes place during a shoot she calls "Moby Dick Day." You'll just have to listen to find out why.
And on her way out, Chism took a minute to show some love for NPR. No, I mean she REALLY loves NPR.