Ava DuVernay on Her Initial Reluctance to Stories Like ‘When They See Us’

Labor News, Industry News

Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by Annie Howard on June 11, 2019.

“I’ve got to just like it for myself,” Ava DuVernay said of her thought process behind choosing her projects. “I’m tethered to these things for years. I also don’t have children — these films are my children, these projects are my children. My name is on this, that matters to me. This is what lives on when I’m done. It’s a very intimate process, the choosing,” DuVernay told The Hollywood Reporter‘s TV Director Roundtable. “I trust myself enough to know I’m not choosing things that are irresponsible for myself, so they wouldn’t be irresponsible to the people who may look up to me for whatever reason.”

“For a long time I didn’t want to be Social Justice Girl. After Middle of NowhereSelma and then 13th— I get every slavery script,” the Oscar-nominated director said. “After [A Wrinkle in Time], all I wanted was to tell something true, and something that was real, and I went right back to the place I said I didn’t want to go. I realized, ‘You are Social Justice Girl — Social Justice Woman.’ And that’s OK.” Whether she becomes “pigeon-holed” in the industry, or a role model because of the projects she is drawn to, DuVernay said it no longer matters to her, adding, “Do it for yourself.”

DuVernay directs the Netflix limited series When They See Us, centered around the Central Park Five. She joined Ben Stiller, Adam McKay, Jean-Marc Vallée, Patty Jenkins and David Nutter for the TV Director Roundtable. She has one career Oscar nomination for her documentary, 13th. Follow all the Emmy season roundtables at THR.com/Roundtables. …

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About Jeffrey Burman 4733 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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