Monday, July 22, 2024
FIlmMusic & Poetry

Moses Sumney Talks Acting Debut, Dream Horror Project, and His Ideal MaXXXine Soundtrack

Moses Sumney as Leon in MaXXXine (photos courtesy of A24)

Moses Sumney, the award-winning musician known for his melodic, comforting, and eclectic music videos, ventures onto the silver screen in the upcoming horror film MaXXXine. Sumney steps into the role of Leon, a movie buff reminiscent of Jamie Kennedy’s Randy in the Scream franchise. Taji Mag had the opportunity to chat with Sumney about his approach to this much-anticipated film, his on-set experiences, and his favorite horror movies. 

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF):  What can people expect from your performance as your character Leon in MaXXXine

Moses Sumney (MS): I think people can expect to see someone who absolutely loves film. His interests are very specific, and he’s incredibly passionate about them. Anyone who has ever liked something, especially something niche or alternative, can really connect to it.

Leon is someone who is deeply passionate about movies, particularly scary movies and music. He’s just a regular guy who loves his hobbies.

DDF: Do you have a favorite horror film?  

MS: I sure do! My favorite scary movie is Scream, which is fun to think about because I think it’s not unlike the X Trilogy in a way, but Scream is it for me.

I’ve seen it a million times. The first one, of course!

DDF: Have the producers for Scream called you yet about the role or cameo? 

MS: I guess we’ll have to  see! I would love to have been in one of the Scream movies from the 90s, honestly. 

FP: Can you describe the relationship between your character Leon and Maxine? 

MS: You know, I think Maxine and Leon are just very physically comfortable with each other. They share a lot of the same interests, and Leon isn’t like those guys who just see her as a porn star they want to hook up with. He genuinely loves movies. So, you can watch some whenever you want, whatever.

They’ve reached a point of comfort where it’s not like, “Oh, wow, good to see you!” Like with friends, it’s more like, “Oh, you’re here again? Cool!” They know each other so well that they’re really comfortable. They crash on the couch together and watch movies.

He runs a video store below her apartment on Hollywood Boulevard. As she tries to transition from the adult film world to mainstream cinema, he’s helping and advising her, suggesting movies, and connecting her with others who’ve made a similar transition.

There aren’t many who’ve done it, but he’s a great resource because he knows everything about movies. Yeah, that’s one thing I noticed. He never judged Maxine; he just embraced everything about her. He’s one of the few who accepts her for who she is and doesn’t want anything from her.

DDF: You have a cast of some well-known and veteran talent, what was your experience like on set? 

MS: I mean, it was crazy for me because this is my first movie. To be surrounded by so many professionals who’ve been doing it for so long, I think the first time I saw Mia on screen was probably in Nymphomaniac over ten years ago. And then, with Giancarlo Esposito and Kevin Bacon, everday I’d just be like, “Oh, there’s Kevin Bacon,” I’ve been watching him since VHS tapes (were being) in the stores. So it was a crash course for me, and it felt like taking a masterclass in acting and directing too.

Sometimes I would go to set on days when I wasn’t working or when I wasn’t being used just to sit behind the monitors and take it all in. So I appreciate getting to work with such experts.

Yes, I do direct my own music videos often, and I’ve been thinking about transitioning into cinema, writing, and directing my own projects. So it was especially geeky for me to go and try to eavesdrop on what the producers were discussing.

Giancarlo Esposito as Teddy Knight in MaXXXine (photos courtesy of A24)

DDF: You have some experience directing yourself, what did you learn on from being on set? 

Moses: There’s the conversation between Ti West, the director of the film and the cinematographer, and I was always asking the camera guys, “What lens are you shooting on right now? How wide is it? How close is it?” Just trying to soak everything in so that if I ever want to direct something larger than a music video, I have that much more knowledge.

DDF: If given the resources, what kind of horror movie would you make? 

Moses: On wow! That’s a great question. Yeah, it’s crazy. I haven’t fully thought about that yet, but I’m kind of obsessed with vampires. I would also love to see more stories coming out of Africa; I’m Ghanaian myself. So, I would probably do something based in Ghana or somewhere in West Africa that incorporates mythology, maybe even create a new mythology. The villain could be a supernatural character or even a really mean African mom. Lol! 

DDF: What would the soundtrack for this horror movie sound like? 

MS: Yeah. I’ve been really fortunate to have my music a part of actually a lot of soundtracks in film and television, especially television over the past few years.

MS: So it’s been really funny to crossover as an actor. With MaXXXine, it was great because I didn’t have to do anything with the music. People were asking me, ‘Are you on the soundtrack?’ And I’m like, ‘No.’ But I think the soundtrack of my own film would be interesting. On one end, I would love to write and direct a movie and score it.

On the other end, I would love to write something with no music and make people sit with the silence of it. In terms of the soundtrack, I love so many different kinds of music. It would definitely be varied and eclectic, and I’d probably try to sneak in a lot of things that people have never heard before.

DDF: MaXXXine leans heavily on an 80s soundtrack to establish its period setting. In your view, how does the film’s music selection enhance the overall cinematic experience for the audience?

MS: I think it’s great. I think it’s perfect. Everything about this movie really commits to the 1980s. It doesn’t just pay homage to the 1980s, but it feels like an actual 1980s film. So, I think they did a great job with the soundtrack.

DDF: With what was your most memorable moment on set? 

MS: There are so many scenes I’m just like, which ones am I allowed to talk about? But I would say probably my final scene in the film is one that I initially dreaded. When it came time to do it, though, I was like, “This is so fun. This is the most fun I’ve had acting or on a set, and getting to see the mechanics of how it all comes together.”

Whatever happens to me in that scene, I’m like, “Am I allowed to talk about it? It’s hard not to say anything about it. I literally have no idea.” But I think just watching the way the room was arranged and the way we shot that over and over, I was like, “So this is how they do that. Whoa, okay, noted.” And I don’t know, that was just really fun, even though it took all day.

DDF: Did your initial interpretation of Leon evolve or change at all during the filming process?

MS: You know, I wouldn’t say it changed. I definitely got (in) deeper (into the character), and it was challenging. Acting is all about reacting to the people around you. So I feel like I was often challenged to rethink things. If you’ve prepared something like, “I’m going to do this because my character thinks this,” someone might say or do something that makes you reconsider how you talk, carry yourself, or what you reveal about yourself in that moment.

So, I think if anything, it made me re-interrogate how I thought of the character in a deeper way.

DDF: If you could soundtrack MaXXXine with three songs from your own music, which ones would you pick and why?

MS: You know, there’s a song from my second album called “Virile.” I would throw that in there, mostly because it’s the rockiest thing in my catalogue, and Leon really, really likes rock music.

So I would put “Virile” in there. What else would I put in there? You know what? I just put out a single two weeks ago called “Vintage.” I would definitely put that in there because it’s all about vintage and taking it back. And we definitely take it back to the 1980s in this movie. So “Vintage” is in there, plug.

I was going to say, yep. And I would definitely say “Doomed” is for sure the last one. Yep. And we all know why. Everybody will find out once they watch the movie to find out why.

After watching the chilling performances in the sequel, MaXXXine, hitting theaters July 5th, Moses Sumney offers a sonic escape with his new single “Vintage.” Unwind after the screams and find solace in Sumney’s soothing vocals. “Vintage” is now available on all major music streaming services.

Mosey Sumney new single “Vintage”

Dapper Dr Feel

Felipe Patterson aka Dapper Dr. Feel, #BlackLoveConvo & Entertainment | @fdapperdr Dapper Dr. Feel is a Entertainment journalist and member of the Critics Choice Association and African American Film Association.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enter Captcha Here : *

Reload Image