An Interview with Terrence Williams – By Brian Morton

 In August, I had the chance to see a daring new movie, The Hood Has Eyez. What’s so daring about it? Well, not many indie directors would have the nerve to film a horrific rape scene today, no matter how integral to the storyline, but Terrence Williams is out there on the cutting edge and, because of his daring, The Hood Has Eyez is one of the most effective indie movies I’ve ever seen. You can read a full review by clicking here, it’s a great movie and, having seen other movies by Mr. Williams, I felt like it was time we had a chat with this up and coming indie writer/director.

BM – Thanks for taking the time.

TW – No problem, I appreciate it.

BM – Let’s dive right in, how did you get started making movies?

TW – I used to make these Twilight Zone type short stories with a friend on his Hi-8 camera back in the day and I was into drawing my own comics. So I always wanted to make films or at least tell stories. Once I got older I went to film school and said “this is definitely what I want to do!”

BM – The first films of yours that I personally saw were the La Llorona trilogy, what gave you the idea for that? Is La Llorona a real urban legend?

TW – I have always been a big fan of horror films, and I mean the underground taboo stuff, and once I began directing I badly wanted to do a horror movie. I wanted to do something different though. I always thought La Llorona was an interesting Mexican folktale and growing up Latino I always heard about the Weeping Lady… It just made sense to take that legend and create my own character from it with my own twist. The story of La Llorona is a real story, right up until the part she drowns her two children and then herself, but as far as her coming back to life – the press is still out on that one. In the past I have had people swear to me that they have seen her with their own eyes. Who knows?

BM – According to IMDB (which I know can be wrong sometimes) you appeared in Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues, how did that influence you?

TW – That damn IMDB! Some of the acting credits aren’t mine, Mo’ Better Blues is one of those. I have petitioned relentlessly to get the credits that are not mine off of my profile but to no avail. But I do watch Spike Lee movies and they have influenced me.

 BM – Sorry, it serves me right for trusting IMDB too much! Your latest movie, The Hood Has Eyez, is probably one of the most daring indie movies I’ve ever seen. You’re not afraid to ‘go there’ as they say. Did you ever have any reservations about some of the content in the movie?

TW – Yes. After I wrote the script I felt that I had taken things a little too far and almost re-wrote some things and then I came to my senses and remembered why I set out to make the movie in the first place. To shock and entertain. I did face the reality that finding people to do the movie as well as distribute it would be difficult if not impossible. That worried me… that no one else would see that there is a genre for rape/revenge. Most of the actors in the film didn’t believe that there is a market for this type of thing, until I showed them Thriller: A Cruel Picture, I Spit On Your Grave, Last House On The Left. I have discovered that most actors aren’t that film savvy.

 BM – Your movies have an urban setting, is that something that you do intentionally?

TW – Yes. I live in Los Angeles and there are a lot of cool settings out here and I always wanted to use the city as a backdrop for my films. I could have easily gone out to Lancaster or Orange County and shot in those exotic locations but L.A. has a gritty feel to it. Plus, when my wife, Nicole, and I set out to create Cinema Threat Productions we wanted our focus to be on urban themed films. So far we have succeeded in that. Transit, my first feature is an urban tale about a graffiti artist. The Llorona trilogy is an urban telling of the Weeping Lady, and The Hood Has Eyez is just hood all the way around.

 BM – Nicole is a co-producer of your movies, usually. Is it hard working together?

TW – No, not at all. We share the same tastes in movies and have a clear understanding of what we want to achieve with a film. Originally my production company had a third producer who did not see eye to eye with us at all, so we parted ways. She was the co-producer on Transit and we constantly fought. We didn’t see eye to eye on anything. Nicole, on the other hand, read and understood our company goal to make quality, indie urban themed films. We are not trying to be Hollywood.

 BM – This one is a bit awkward. The Hood Has Eyez is one of those movies that inspire, the insane (and uninformed) feminist crowd to arms. Was there ever any issue with working with Nicole on something that graphic?

TW – No. One of my wife’s favorite movies is Visitor Q! She likes this genre of film just as much as I do and we have had several angry emails and letters sent to us for making “The Hood.” Oddly, men have been the ones getting bent out of shape over the abortion scene and Psycho’s torture scene. I don’t get it. Most chicks have liked the movie so far, and the rest of them haven’t even bothered with it. A few of the torture ideas were actually Nicole’s.

 BM – You write, direct, act and produce (among other things), if you could only pick one talent to pursue, which would it be?

TW – Writing. I think a movie comes to life on the page and screenwriting is one of the most under appreciated jobs out there. Without a good script nothing happens. As a director I just follow what I write and then expand upon that in the editing room. So it all stems from the writing.

BM – The Hood Has Eyez is a great revenge movie, is there any thought to doing a sequel?

TW – As a matter of fact, after the premiere screening we all looked at each other and said, we have to make a sequel to this. One of the female moviegoers who saw the film came up with a great idea for a sequel and I’m going to run with it. See, chicks have been very supporting of the film.

BM – What would your dream project be?

TW – I have this gangster thing I have been writing for some time now. Something on the level of the Godfather or Goodfellas. Of course there is no way in hell I would attempt to be better than those movies, but it’s an epic movie about gang culture in Los Angeles. Cinema Threat is going to need Hollywood backing to make that one. In all honesty though, The Hood Has Eyez was one of my dream projects. I have daydreamed about making this film for at least four years, so I am still on cloud nine since we have pulled it off.

BM – Well, you did pull it off…with flying colors, it really is a movie that deserves to be seen! Thanks for taking the time, I appreciate it.

TW – Thank you.

Terrence Williams is one of those filmmakers that really deserves to have their work seen more widely, if you have the chance to see The Hood Has Eyez, you should run…not walk…down to the theatre and check it out. It’s graphic, it’s violent and it’s one of the best movies of the year! To find out more about Terrence, Nicole and their movies, you can head over to The Hood Has Eyez web site or to just get a copy for yourself! It’s well worth your money and time! We here at Rogue Cinema look forward to the Hood sequel, and whatever Terrence and Nicole get up to next, we’re sure that it’ll be worth checking out!