Logline: A black woman and a Persian man must navigate their families’ objections and their own preconceptions when they become romantically involved.
I’m co-writing the film with Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, who approached me in the spring of 2013 to help outline a script that used some of her personal experiences and also drew on the abundance of research and knowledge she had accumulated co-writing the book Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race Culture and Creed.
We spent the summer of 2013 breaking and outlining the story, and in the spring of this year finished a first draft which we used for applications to some screenwriting labs. We finished the second draft in record time in the fall after hearing that we had made the second round for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. We are currently waiting crossed fingers for the upcoming announcement of the selected lab attendees.
But whether or not we find support at this stage in the game, for me, this is a really exciting project to be working on at this time. This week there was an essay by Chris Rock about race and Hollywood. In it, he notes,
And there are almost no black women in film. You can go to whole movies and not see one black woman. They’ll throw a black guy a bone. OK, here’s a black guy. But is there a single black woman in Interstellar? Or Gone Girl? Birdman? The Purge? Neighbors? I’m not sure there are. I don’t remember them. I go to the movies almost every week, and I can go a month and not see a black woman having an actual speaking part in a movie. That’s the truth.
And I thought, Wow, we have a project that is the opposite of that–that maybe even has the potential to be part of a change that is due, and that of late, I feel really might be coming. I’m feeling pretty lucky to have been brought on board to tell this story, and lucky that via the generosity natures of my two collaborators, Janice and Navid Negahban who is co-producing and is attached to play one of the leads, I’ve been granted access to their communities and friends. We keep gathering feedback and discussing and arguing– good arguments– and trying to delve deeper because we all want it to feel authentic as well as narratively compelling.
As a final note, the name Lovers in Their Right Mind comes from a poem of the same name. My favorite line is this one:
The stars are on the lookout, hunting. They are searching for people like us, so why should we hide?
Here is the full poem if you want to read it: