A.V. CLUB INTERVIEW: Michael Jai White introduces us to The Outlaw Johnny Black…
We spoke with White about the project the day before it launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and on White’s own Jaigantic Studios site; as he told us in our interview, going the crowdfunding route was a very deliberate choice, part of his vision to bring greater inclusivity and a sense of community to the making of his films.
The A.V. Club: When you first started teasing this project on Twitter, a lot of people, myself included, thought it would be a sequel to Black Dynamite. But that’s not the case.
Michael Jai White: Basically, I think of it as being like Monty Python. It’s the same team doing another parody movie.
AVC: And it’s a parody of spaghetti Westerns?
MJW: I want it to be like the movies I grew up with that had that same ethos of the Western in the ’70s. Movies like Buck And The Preacher. They were family-friendly, and they were a really fun type of film. So it’s a return to that era.
AVC: Did I hear you say it’s going to be family-friendly?
MJW: Yeah, this one’s going to be a lot more family-friendly than its predecessor. [Laughs.] Plus, when you do a Western, it’s about paying loving homage to it. There are moralities and a code in the best Westerns that I think you’re going to have to adhere to if you’re going to step into that genre.
AVC: Do you have the script already written?
MJW: Oh yeah, the script’s been ready for quite some time. People have been very excited about the script; I had several offers to fully finance the movie, but I’ve chosen to do it in a very independent way.
AVC: And you wrote it, then?
AVC: Every time we write about Black Dynamite on our site, the comments are full of people quoting lines from the film. Did you take the same joke-a-minute approach with this script?
MJW: It’s very similar. It’s got that same mindset, as if the creators of that film [Initial trailers for Black Dynamite “credited” the film to a fictional cast, with “all-star running back Ferrante Jones” standing in for White —Ed.] went and did a Western. It’s going to have the same sensibilities and layered humor, where you have the ridiculous and the deep and the outlandish all at the same time, along with the physical humor. I just believe that great humor should be layered, you know? Like a cartoon that appeals to adults and children alike, and everybody takes their own message [from it]. And with Black Dynamite, I did the humor in such a way where there’d be jokes that went over peoples’ heads until the second time they saw it. And it’ll be the same way with Outlaw Johnny Black.
AVC: Can you tell me about the casting that you’ve done already, as much as you can?
MJW: There are some major A-list actors who I want to keep kind of quiet until a specific time. And there are some big names that we’ve agreed not to reveal until the movie comes out, and that’s the way they want it as well.
MJW: Yeah! It’ll be a surprise, you know? We’ll have cameos where…
VIEW COMPLETE INTERVIEW ON A.V. CLUB