Interviews Movies

To Protect and Serve – An Interview with 21 Bridges’ Chadwick Boseman

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21 Bridges follows NYPD detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) who leads a citywide manhunt for a pair of cop killers. Davis’ relentless pursuit also uncovers a massive conspiracy, and lines become blurred on whom he is pursuing – and who is after him. When the search intensifies, extreme measures are taken to prevent the killers from escaping Manhattan, as Davis directs the authorities to close all 21 bridges to prevent any entry or exit from the iconic island.

The movie presents an intriguing mix of spectacle, propulsive and non-stop action, an epic “ticking clock” crime story. The explosive story unfolds during a single night, after a drug heist gone horribly wrong results in the deaths of eight cops. Det. Andre Davis devises the desperate but ingenious plan to close down Manhattan, to enable him and his team to entrap the two perpetrators, who’ll have no place to flee in the sealed-off island.Image result for 21 bridges movie"“The idea of locking down Manhattan for a manhunt was incredibly compelling and cinematic. We haven’t seen that before,” says Chadwick Boseman, who portrays Davis and also serves as a producer on the film.

The film is totally exhilarating and puts you in the center of a gripping crime drama that pulls you in and won’t let go. That social potency points to the film’s rich and layered social commentary, much of it focused on the sometimes-thin line that exists between cop and perpetrator, and all brought to life by characters with surprising nuances. Andre begins his unstoppable pursuit in full hunter mode, but as he draws closer to his prey and begins to understand the context of their actions, he undergoes a fascinating evolution.Image result for 21 bridges movie"The cops and bad guys to be equally compelling, to the point where you may actually be rooting for the two gunmen to escape, as much as you are for Andre to capture them. All the characters are flawed and human, and because of their circumstances, they are forced to examine their own morality.

Boseman confirms that Andre is a complex figure. “He has prepared his entire life to be a cop,” the Black Panther star explains. “Andre’s father, a policeman, was killed in the line of duty when Andre was just 13, so he has grown up with this unsettled murder of his dad. Over the years, Andre has become determined to not only avenge his father’s death, but those of any cops he has served with.”Image result for 21 bridges movie"As Boseman indicates, the filmmakers were focused on fine-tuning the character of Davis and giving him as much texture as possible. “Chadwick wanted Davis to be a layered and unexpected hero,” says Kirk. “We, along with screenwriter Matt Carnahan, working off initial drafts from screenwriter Adam Mervis, wanted to bring out Andre’s honesty, bravery and intelligence. He’s a warrior with a purpose. Detective with a code, Chadwick brought everything to the table to realize the character’s potential.”

The Koalition spoke with Boseman about balancing his producing and acting duties, what techniques he used to capture the essence of Andre and more.

21 Bridges releases in theaters on November 22th.

Check out our interview below.

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