It’s almost time for BET’s highly anticipated series, Boomerang to hit the small screen and TheGrio caught up with Executive Producer and Showrunner, Ben Cory Jones at the Sundance Film Festival to find out how he transformed and updated the iconic film for television.
“You know Lena [Waithe] was my co-developer on this series. She had a great idea to take Boomerang to Sundance and for a specific reason. I think the Sundance audience is a smart audience that is very specific about the kind of work and film that they enjoy and we feel like we have a TV series that has the caliber and the storytelling and the visual storytelling and the performances of a lot of the great works you see here at Sundance,” he explained about his decision to unveil the series at the MACRO Lodge during the annual film festival.
Jones refuses to call his show a “reboot” and instead, thinks of it as more of a “recharge” on a classic. Instead of trying to recreate the classic, Ben Cory Jones and Waithe decided to recreate the feelings the original flick evoked from viewers.
“You can’t recreate a classic, but we wanted to recreate the feeling the film gave us. Boomerang made me feel a certain way when I watched it. I felt Black, I felt cosmopolitan, I felt sexy, I felt professional, I felt I can be in love,” he said. “So hopefully you watch our TV series, you feel the way Boomerang made you feel but it’s all new characters.”
Judging by the crowd’s response during BET’s special screening of the show’s premiere at the MACRO Lodge, Jones’ mission was accomplished. The packed house clamored to find out more about the show during the event that featured an intimate conversation with Jones, Lena Waithe, and director, Dime Davis.
One new element of the TV series is that it is much more inclusive and representative of today’s youth and that was an important choice for Jones.
“That is a very important point for me because to be very honest the film was centered in a very hetero-normative world. The film was a very good guy meets girl; guy chases girl; girl chases guy type of world that is not 2019,” he explained. “We have to be inclusive of the LGBTQ experience and also just the experience of ‘I’m just fluid and I like who I like when I like them.’ I think our characters have the license to do that…Young people these days, I think they just have a lot more freedom to decide who they are and then decide they don’t want to be that anymore. And I think that’s what’s so great. I think we want to capture that on the TV show.”
Ben Cory Jones is also a head writer on Insecure and took time to reflect on his ability to work with some of the industry’s brightest talents, who happen to be some of his closest friends.
“I’m just so thankful…to me it was this alchemy of me deciding very early on that I want to be a writer, a creator, a storyteller and me deciding very early on who I want to collaborate with and finding friends that I can collaborate with. Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Justin Simien…I can work with my friends. And I think that when you put all that together it’s a winning formula. We’re going to win because we have each other’s back. We all have a very specific focus and a niche and we’re not all doing the same thing. It just feels really great,” he continued.
“I’m inspired by Lena [Waithe] and how she’s always not taking ‘no’ for an answer. Let us tell our story the way we want to tell it. Let Black artists be Black artists, and that’s a fight to be very honest. It’s not always easy…We all had a similar goal which is to put content in front of specifically Black folks. Black folks need date movies. We need dating TV shows. We need action movies where we can see ourselves. I mean ‘Black Panther’ is winning awards at SAG and everywhere else because it’s like, let us see ourselves.”
Our newest chance to see ourselves comes courtesy of Boomerang, premiering February 12 on BET.