The Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (FilmTT) has assisted a multitude of local films over the years. One of the more recent productions is Play the Devil, a film about a gifted and struggling young man who becomes the object of intrigue for an older, well-meaning businessman until their worlds collide. Play the Devil was recently screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival and left an impression on its viewers. The movie, which was filmed in Trinidad, was directed by Maria Govan and stars Petrice Jones and Gareth Jenkins. Here are five interesting facts surrounding the film Play the Devil:
1. Director Maria Govan taught herself to be a filmmaker. Maria Govan has never really considered herself part of the film industry. After an uncomfortable interaction with a producer, she left LA and her job as a PA and bought a camera. She taught herself the art of filmmaking through making documentaries and also by reading books and taking workshops.
2. The Jab was the inspiration for Play the Devil. While exploring the backroads of Trinidad with professional photographer Abigail Hadeed, Govan was exposed to different cultural events and the one that stood out to her the most was the Jab Molassi. Jab is the French patois for 'Diable' (Devil) and is a character that is often seen at Carnival time. The Jab Molassi is known for doing a dance for which money is given by onlookers so that the devil does not interfere with them.
3. The Jab dance in the film is completely spontaneous. The Jab dance which was performed in Play the Devil was not choreographed. The dance was described as primal and raw by actor Gareth Jenkins, “I think when you start to dig really deeply, there are things which connect all of us and start coming out at times like that”.
4. Gareth Jenkins left the audition for the role of James believing that he did not do well. Jenkins, who was actually a design consultant, was approached by Govan to do a screen test for the role of James. The role was proving to be difficult to fill and so Jenkins decided to give it a try. He left the audition thinking “Well, I really suck”. However, a couple days later, he got the call saying that he was actually the right person for the role. Despite acting being one of the most difficult things he’s ever done, Jenkins really enjoyed doing it.
5. British actor, Petrice Jones, spent a long time working on his Trinidadian accent. Some parts of the film which were heavy in dialect were subtitled. Jones realized that the Trinidadian way of speaking would change depending on who the person was speaking to, “In the Caribbean, who you speak to sort of defines how you speak…It was difficult for me to make that switch and having to enunciate more but still sound like I’m Trinidadian. We spent a long time working on the accent”.[spacer height="20px"]
Sources: Photo credit: http://petricejones.com/?page_id=1044 The National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago: http://goo.gl/Ev6Ya1 Nerd Report, LAFF interview: http://goo.gl/Vg5Iit