EXCLUSIVE: Kerry Washington on new Facebook Watch series ‘Five Points’
The powerful new series premieres today.
Five Points is coming to Facebook Watch and there are so many reasons this series is not to be missed. The 10-episode show was created and written by Adam Giaudrone (Being Mary Jane, Black Lightning) and executive produced by Indigenous Media and Kerry Washington through her company, Simpson Street.
Following the trials and tribulations of five teens in a South Side Chicago high school, Five Points highlights the many aspects of teen life from love to loss, and everything in between.
An intense examination of the challenging world teens live in today, Five Points thoughtfully captures how the daily pressures they face can lead to difficult choices which sometimes have life altering outcomes.
The story is told from five unique perspectives, Hayley Kiyoko (Lexi), Madison Pettis (Tosh), Ray Cham Jr. (CJ), Spence Moore II (Eric), and Nathaniel Potvin (Wallace) which eventually come together to give the plot a resolution.
The ground-breaking series was directed by three-time Emmy-winning producer/director Thomas Carter who reunited with executive producer, Kerry Washington who starred in his beloved film, Save The Last Dance in 2001. We caught up with her to find out why this series was the right move and what makes it so important.
“This was a reunion for me. Thomas Carter directed the very first studio I did, Save The Last Dance, so it was a little surreal to be back in high school filming with Thomas only I was on the other side of the camera and we’re filming teenagers. It was so fun to be able to work with him again and he’s such an extraordinary director. We really had to shoot it like an indie film because you’re shooting multiple viewpoints of the same event so our production team and Thomas really figured out how to get this story in. I’m so impressed with it…I feel winded at the end of every episode,” she said.
“We were trying to do something really game-changing in telling stories with these complex issues in short form on a social media platform. It’s really ground-breaking and they had the opportunity to set the tone for doing that in the right way and they were all really dedicated to bringing these characters to life in such a real way. They really supported each other in that process. It was like guerilla filmmaking, all hands on deck, done as quick as possible on a tight budget with incredible talent. I think this cast is so extraordinary. They remind me of a younger, greener version of the Scandal cast because they have really fallen in love with each other and their characters and the material.”
The show does an incredible job of representing the depth and complexity of teenage life and that was important to Washington. “One of the things we love about this show is that as grown ups, we tend to forget that teenagers are these fully-realized people. I think we sometimes forget that. You see people being blown away by the student activism happening across the country and we really wanted to make sure that our show didn’t feel in any way like we were trying to minimize the impact or the lives of these young people because they are fully realized characters whose lives are no less complicated just because they have been on the planet for less time.,” she explained.
“One of the things I am most proud of is the idea of a shifting protaganist. I think that with Scandal, there was a lot of talk about how we haven’t seen a protagonist like this in the form of a black woman on a show in forty years and I think that we understand that protagonists don’t just look just one way. Every single person has a story to tell and I think this show is such a good example of the idea that every story and every life and every perspective is important. Having the courage to experience one event through multiple eyes is important to the human experience.”
As an executive producer on the project, Washington’s expertise came in handy in several situations.
“I contributed mainly to working hard on casting and the edit process, working with our cast in terms of giving them the tools to talk about the complexity of the issues on this show. Lending a hand as much as I could…bringing on great team members to help support the process,” she explained. “I feel like so much of your role as an executive producer is giving people the support they need to bring their best selves to the project. You’re not doing everything but you’re helping everybody do everything well.”
Kerry Washington also revealed why she chose a social media platform to host her first post-Scandal project.
“Scandal was one of the first shows that really leveraged social media. Live-tweeting did not exist in the way it does now before Scandal. I really thought a lot about ways to give back to that social media community. I’m totally convinced we wouldn’t have had a second season of our show if it weren’t for social media,” she said.
“What we were able to do on Scandal was utilize those communities and create a community around the show in order to support it. But what if we were actually creating content in those communities instead of asking those communities to support outside traditional media? How might it take on a life of its own? I just think its such an exciting opportunity to work in that landscape.”
Washington took to social media on Monday to share her excitement about the series.
“I’m so excited for you to finally see @fivepointsshow. The cast and crew worked really hard to bring you this compelling story. Check it out and let us know what you think. Click link in bio to watch. #FivePoints #SimpsonStreet,” she posted.
Five Points premieres on Monday, June 4 at 9pm ET/6pm PT on Facebook Watch.