Robert Townsend discusses new doc 'Making the Five Heartbeats'

Robert Townsend talks "Five Heartbeats" project and his catalogue of work.
22:01 | 12/04/18

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Transcript for Robert Townsend discusses new doc 'Making the Five Heartbeats'
Can't fly AM ABC radio I'm back another with the interview. I had a very important talented wonderful. A veteran in the game. I have Leyland the only Robert Townsend how are you feeling okay will that intro and bat and that please I feel really good thank you so much and have a some I'm happy to have you here to talk about the documentary. And Doug making of the five heartbeats. Over the classic 1991. Film that hit theaters and then became a cult classic. After that we're gonna get it's all that first and for mold. Malts are people who are saying OK I your hyping it up so much we won't let me see what all night it's going to be available in New York right in. It's in new York at the may easel theater in Harlem it's running for a week on December starts this Friday December 7. Through the thirteenth and it's also played in Los Angeles Lim Lee on no whole North Hollywood seven and so it's playing their now in these are our two. Seven day he runs to be eligible for academy and for image award consideration. Absolutely and in and I'm saying and academy and all these boys. Engine. Now now and first thing's first first things first when you may eighteenth the actual film by the five heartbeat was this always in the back of your head that you wanted to document everything and that kind of put it out at a later date. Would that. You know now when I look at in hindsight I think I was thinking about a documentary but I didn't know what the documentary was going to be back then I think I was just really making my second moving in on five Arby's is my second film and I started to make it I don't know I was just like polished film you know and I just happened have all the footage and then I say well you know. It took me ten years to do this documentary because our houses gonna do a regular documentary at one point and I had somebody come in and say okay you'll be in if you know go make a documentary of all this stuff. And he came back and it was cool and then win and I. About us is not I gotta tell a story like my real truth and that's how it name the dark matter that you saw. Yeah and adamant TU I saw the dot it's amazing it's cap of 88 gets you from the moment that you start this narration and it I had I don't get too much what exactly what you got to check it out as you know eventually it will land on what DOD will will will endure the math in. February. We're gonna put you know our distribution. Pipeline together so it'll be on stream mean and dvds and I'm just gonna you know Ambien announcer Norse arm's gonna do it my way. Absolutely as you should as you should now. One thing. That you showed in this can I get iMac and give too much away. Is just the multiple hats that you had to Wear. You know you're the writer the producer of the directing you had he had a lot going on a probability of you who don't know I mean if you go to Wikipedia you could feel what his you know different theories pats were. When you start to feed and his docket and how overwhelming it was. I'm we knew initially said because this scuba. I would say. A pet project of this was something that you wanted to. Do they learn well when I was a kid. You know how the whole home came together I've Arby's was that 1000 kid my favorite group of all time broke up in that was temptations. And when they broke up it was 1960 aid I'm listening to radio station heard -- the cool WV OA news Chicago. And he goes David Ruffin is leaving the temptations and I was like what happened in her greatest guys Ali's hits on it always stayed in my head you know as an adult when what happened you know they saying all these beautiful love songs about love but did they have love in their lives and that was the catalyst to start making would be the five RD. Right now years later. Do you have you made peace with why they broke up I'm fat that I. He we you know it it was everything that I discovered in the documentary you know because there were fights on our sad and a lot of those things came from a lot of similarities. If they do groups went through it where women involved. There was egos involved and so little bottles things that I learned on I was make in the mood. Absolutely. And you know getting back into the that is not you know talking about the multiple hats that you that you had to we're. Did you not realize he could you are such a masterful. Filmmaker that look. We've taken on a lot of thought would ever any point where you were like okay. Abbey Road with specially from Macon is in this is that. Most of my heart I mean you know was was there any point timer you like you know I'm may have let my friend hold the reins on on this. You know behind the scenes. Like. You know viewer Buick grappling with that at some point to try to get stepped down in all the dance move will limit consecutive. Nights at. On me you know hurt billion challenge to make the film you know but I think you know side with anybody in life if there's something that you really want bad enough you can achieve it you'll figure it out and so. I never look you know in the documentary I find is that while I was doing a lot. I didn't look I just thought you know hey I want you know I'm gonna act in and I'm gonna direct it and I'm co writing we Keane and everywhere means I'm producing. I'll get much of them are seeing you know. What that Vickie like. Moved there are no alarm parents the overall you don't let go and everything up so it was quite the experience provides his hand on loses a lot of fun and and looking back would you have done anything differently. No I don't know man and I mean. My casting process you know I'm looking at 101000 actors in. I would meet him and look in their souls in the commit isn't I think everybody that I cast in the film where the right actors in the right actresses. I loved the process you know I I wish you wouldn't have taken in only. Or years to get the movie made. But I think of that it was worth the wait he ask. Now one things that IE. I loved and again I'm very very hesitant to give so much Lincoln's it's it's at a full project you know it it really can encapsulates everything that you went through what not. What I love the ending in the full circle of it in in my opinion. Not set not to say what it is but. Did that help to put things in perspective for you as well. Yeah I mean. In in the documentary and an aggregate of spoiler you know anybody there but there is a fan becomes that he says I and it turned his life around in a beautiful way and it was because of the movie and I think that over the years I've I've I've gotten a lot of different fans that said hey because of view I mean I'm would my brother who you know cheated on me with my wife and warm girl in on people let's say different things. At the film has been you know a tool for healing and so as much as its. Family film and you you love the songs and you sing along and all of that there's some real things. Forgiveness and redemption I think resonates when an audience out there. He he and I and I am sure you now have heard it a million times because. The film came out at decades ago yes it it still resonates with people you know it's still vibrant and it's still in caps leads one of our under the periods of time where we looked. To that you know the movie is always in heavy rotation on television like it was so funny Thanksgiving you know I'm getting Ali's texts and calls nearby and goes. You notify hard visas on why we make in ardent greens and it's like in BT was running at twice and been and their other station in TV one hand it's so. It's always a rotation at at holiday times as a family film. It is it is and now. You know one of the things that I kind of battle a jarring. Was just. You you had said early on when when you wanted to make the film that you and keen in Bergen help. I guess get him back on its heat David Ruffin David Ruffin yeah and then you know during that final in the film was Greenland you're making it he passed away. Was there any conversations I know that there was a little lag time obviously when you guys first wanted to get it done and didn't happen. And then you know obviously when he finally got an up and Keenan had other things going on. I was any conversations with him after that after it didn't work out an. Well I think what happened was because time had passed and I was doing was so many other fires and I was putting out. That you know it was in the back of my mind but because plan a didn't go you know what we thought like me they loved the script we're going into production and it was like narrow. You know there's going to be some delays and delays and delays and I think in the process of those delays. I totally you know like man I want to reach out to David Ruffin and in new known as it's as you seen the documentary wasn't until he passed you know I say hey you know and Michael you know let's go to the funeral so it it it it's. It's a full circle moment with me and the temptations in my childhood and David Ruffin in the in the in the peace. And yeah it it you know I wish I could have you know I Michael you know like the line then Michelson when he called me that night he says. I guess you couldn't save the real Eddie king referring to you know like how I you know in the movie he lived via an aunt in real life he passed of. Yeah and again you know I kind of like he said Berry's old Terkel and it's that is strong connection because you talk about that so early and that's one of the things and then trying to have this. This piece here and I'm like wow. I'm really. Prize and how you were just though we knew it was eight. This is what division was and then it kind of comes back to act in that piece there and and you know you honor him in and you do so much. Or him after the after his passing it was definitely an important from need just. Being that. I think one being one of the that in recent. There's now. You know it it's it's kind of interesting because I got so much from the stock you know I mean just being a fan what hope people who do. You know are eight or going out to watch it in an obviously when it comes to be available. The take away to be because I feel like you you a lot of different nuggets in there and I'm I'm curious as I'm. They guy helping this pride to people to really leave way. You know first and examine joint interview with you just so good men who surrendered. And let me say this. There is a part of me. One inspire people I wanna encourage dreamers to really go after their dreams I think sometimes people you know CD or have some that in their hard that they really wanna do and then they get distracted a little bit and then they. I can't do it and I think when people see what I went through to make this movie that they lot of people now love. They'll say wow in the you know that that teen and towns in stands for tenacious and you know this you don't stop and maybe I can live my dreams I think there's those. In there is. It's a master class on one part you know like old Robert rewrites and Robert as the story born in Robert rehearses and he blocks it and home man in look at him in near in the studio you don't gives it his all and I think. At the end of the day you know you're paying on canvas and it's what I call you kiss every frame. I can say every frame so every extra every had every piece of wardrobe I'm concerned about I look at writes that's that's so I think you know if you really about art you know this is none of. An Odyssey of minorities and now he read with some people consider. Last. I love the lord oddest Alec I eased that because I did see this this adventure this. This undertaking but yet you know use in you don't know what you can expect to date and at the end you know you have to get this result. As surely I am now at me it's a ride it it it you know why some people have said. The documentary is almost as good as the movie because they say you know we love the movie but low lettuce you know the story you know cause this is. And it really happen. Yeah that's and that's that he can. It's it's. This study this in line to be. A fine it means it's even. Me you to be recognized for this. Intense because. You know. We're gonna make at Oscar worthy projects of people. And that. You know. You know it would you now let me say this you never. Do anything for war so let me just preface it starting that you don't do anything towards. You know at the end of the day. Would it be satisfying. Would it be and little victory if we were negated nominations for anything yes -- you know I mean but I'm not like I want it in now is a site sitting here with you right now is award winning. It really is and I really I mean because its site. That we're talking about this baby that I have created in you've taken time out of your scheduled to sit with Armenian really eaten you show up. You know you know things and I've talked to lot of journalists and it's like you're one of the rare breeds that really show. And go away I'm here I'm the president had and is so. I think that. You know at the end of the day it would be nice to have you known if it happens it's okay you know I mean I am I am I've already won despite finishing his documentary and I was on you know an Odyssey with trying to condition was Horry and people like last name you know at the into the screening you know people who gave the documentary is standing ovation and house like oil a beautiful is that you know on them I'm I am just an artist and must create a created new piece of art. In it's it's that's a good p.s are not like. And it is it is a journey but it's a journey worth watching. You know. Again I'm am I'm trying not to just throw it all out there but there's something that you know you watch a film in the and you say okay saw the film and noted that of course not. Behind the scenes as this mr. Obama without I think. NFL he got it so I think the older one of the things that you're you're not to watching the dock in two people kind of sometimes be in their associate with the tribe piece of art that is like. I know this that the full action packed film here. A neck and you thank you out now I you know of course I'm I'm deathly promoting this up but I have to just touch on a couple things because you know. In the nineties the I had with the kid but I I loved lots and television and you. You create what are my favorite sit series parent. I don't think and I feel like Allen the climate of all these reboots of these ninety's they come reboots. Even thought about it. I love you know what. Everybody has been reaching down for me it to me about reboots of almost all my stuff and so I'd be like right ankle meteor man at bat not. Hollywood shuffle. Gets five. It's a really interesting time right now because. I I can only be in one place and one time as soon now I have some real thinking to do. Because. You know I and and then the other thing is I never like to repeat myself I gotta a ton of ideas in my head right now that I think are amazing television series of into why you read eat something that I created. Or do I create all this new stuff that's inside of me so I have a little dilemma right now. But the government have Balboa. You know I was gonna segued to meet your man because. I felt like. That Courtney but. It doesn't supply any yet you know it had its nuggets of of weakness and I mean that's just how I looked at everything. You know in again you have all these ideas in your head but what is your top three if you would say okay. I would be open to what are your top three projects because you know you have a gambit as the from bats. All types of pain. That's another what people reached out to say you know in now would you do a sequel to Babs would Halley Berry and now is like yeah you know also meant it it's another thing that's floating over there because. He you know what I would say is that. I wanna do it all now I just got to figure out time management because. There is a way to do everything is just you know saying OK and I gotta find the right people that I contreras. Will take division to the next level if I can't and I can't write everything I can direct every. Email. Oh. The there's somebody different things that I would like to do but yeah it is now and they're all my kids so it's hard to keep you noses like. No I'm really edited. Newton looted and. It's over the you know is like aegis as secular meteor man in new you kinda apologize. I really like meet it. And see here is that they think meteor man is a really good fit. There's been some people said well you got Robert Townsend added the five heartbeats and Robert towns and it is Hollywood shuffle and then now he doesn't its movie but the real thing is that back in I was going after billion dollars I was like I'll be the first African American superhero put together an all star cast went from Marley gives it robber DO home to James Earl Jones Don Cheadle. Big daddy Kane naughty by nature I'm mean Nancy Wilson iced act that day. And because there were no movies for children back in color. People and only seeing the Wii is in the wee is in the weeds and other that there wars and any movies and so I was kind of a unicorn. As a now and I lets you conduct. And I see that what kind you know black Panthers has done a billion dollars I knew I wasn't wrong is just in the line now at this time there's people to online they've made me laugh the legal argument you all don't make it over black pad to rob tells minimal konduz the twentieth had it is. And I rely. You go MI hoping is that. These are all my cinematic sons and daughters so when I look at Ryan cooler when I look at you know Jordan peeled. You know they're all from my tried so I'm I'm rob pop you know I'm a proud Papa so so I just look at. You know what went picnics I don't know you know I got a lot of stuff in my. You you are heady time I mean you like you said you know that is RD your tribe and have a heavy. Opted any of your tribe members on hold. Yes they all that you know that let me say this. Jordan PO anytime he's he does interviews instead be always gives a shout out you know in terms of you know my any influence on him the same thing when Ryan cooler. The same thing with. Riley boots you know boots Riley and now you know so. You know they're they always known that there's a lot of love this level of. New I mean clearly you know you you are sole master or what you do and we see batten everything that you touch. I'm just so excited to be able to to tell people about this is not as it is it is definitely want to watch and. You know I'm does here and now because I added I don't know much it is that. Yeah. I I know we have to go. But you know. XML five years for Robert Townsend look like and you're busy guy with what I mean do you do you take vacations are you downtime you have too much going on right even now. You know you know I go to the beach. Every week I go to the beach announced in -- hours more hours to clear my it and just in and I go to Malibu I live in Los Angeles and I got to him as in my head and I you know I technique you know like. State accused vacations because what we you know my kids now their older when they were younger you know at a certain point I didn't like traveling so much as it's always a lot of you know. I need to you know probably take more vacations but I love life so much and examined fund and it's not like. New to really relax from all this love. I need a great you go of the I just enjoy life. Well we appreciate you and obviously the making of the bottom art meet me the new York and LA got a check it out and of course. Becoming don't everybody else February right around that time. It's it's definitely well done and you know you have done once again shown us how important black culture is. You've brought to life something that I think we all needed to. Thank you so much for taking time and what a wonderful interview to you relate to a year year the top of the list like. She gave back today from a man. Of course didn't candidly in signing thanks again to Robert Townsend being here.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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