Diaz aims for authenticity in “Fruitvale Station”

Diaz aims for authenticity in “Fruitvale Station”

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“Fruitvale Station” tells the true story of 22-year-old Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) and his girlfriend/mother of his only child Sophina (Melonie Diaz of “Raising of Victor Vargas”). In the film, we watch the relationship between Oscar and Sophina evolve as both try to raise their daughter Tatiana the best way they can before a tragic event changes everything.


EXTRA: You got the opportunity to meet the real Sophina before shooting the film. Why did you think that was important?
Melonie Diaz: I think if I didn’t meet her, it would’ve been a dishonest portrayal in terms of who she is and her and Oscar’s dynamic. It was really important to [director] Ryan [Coogler] and the family that we make the film as true to life as possible. I don’t think I would’ve been able to do that if I hadn’t met her. I learned so much about their relationship and who she is.

What was going on in your mind the first time you saw the video of the night Oscar was killed?
I’ve only seen it once and I won’t see it again. It’s a video full of fear and anger and hate. It’s very upsetting. I wish this didn’t have to happen. But in a large way, I am thankful for that video because it’s factual proof that this happened.

Do you have a take on the events that lead to Oscar’s death and the way the court handled it?
I think there’s a clear problem with our judicial system at the moment. As a person, I’m a little frustrated because I feel like I have no power. I think a movie like ours shows a side to these people who are killed like that. It brings these issues to the forefront. When you come see our movie, you’re choosing to be aware and conscious. Hopefully that knowledge will help you raise your children to be kinder and more thoughtful and be a little less judgmental.

Are the film choices you’re making synonymous with how you want to be perceived as an actress?
Yes and no. I try and do other things, but sometimes they don’t really work out. Yeah, I’m not this big Hollywood mainstream actress, but who cares? I think I just have a certain sensibility for smaller projects. I like intimate things. I think I do well in that kind of environment. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t love to do bigger projects. I feel everyone has their own journey. This is just mine. n



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