BLOOD ON THE WALL$, EPISODE ONE
In this week’s issue, Chloé A. Hilliard talks with writer Barry Michael Cooper, whose 1987 Voice cover story about New York’s drug trade became the basis of the 1991 film New Jack City. After directing music videos for the likes of Dr. Dre and then ending up in jail for assault, Cooper’s returned two decades later with an 18-part film series called Blood on the Wall$. Hilliard writes:
Unlike other homemade dramas, however, Cooper’s first episode actually stars a recognizable face: Sugar Hill actor Michael Wright, who turns in a remarkable performance as a celebrity who is not happy that a friend has pointed a Fuji Finepix camera on him.
Actually, Wright is acting out the sequence, with Cooper, filming the scene, pretending to be a Source magazine journalist named “Cooper Michaels,” who, flashbacks establish, was once riding high as a Hollywood producer but is now down on his luck and, Wright assumes, high on drugs.
Annoyed at Wright being several hours late for the interview, “Michaels” complains: “I’m being put on hold in my career again by cats like you, Dr. Dre, Kurupt, Robert Townsend, Benny Medina. All of whom, mind you, blew up on my TV show.”
After doing a slow burn, Wright eventually blasts back with what looks like completely sincere rage: “Life is not no damn TV show! Time for you to change the channel.”
On a first viewing, the six-minute film is disorienting. Is this a real-world encounter between a bitter ex–Hollywood producer and an actor he helped make famous? Or is Cooper pretending to be a bitter ex-filmmaker confronting an actor-friend who’s in on the gag? Either way, it’s remarkable stuff for an iFilm freebie.
Episodes two through five below.
BLOOD ON THE WALL$, EPISODE TWO
BLOOD ON THE WALL$, EPISODE THREE
BLOOD ON THE WALL$, EPISODE FOUR
BLOOD ON THE WALL$, EPISODE FIVE
The full series is hosted here.