Armed is a high action movie filled with surprises but more importantly political teachings. Director and actor Mario Van Peebles spoke to the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper about the process behind the movie.
LOS ANGELES SENTINEL NEWSPAPER: Can you provide details on the moment you wanted to make a film such as Armed?
MARIO VAN PEEBLES: I kept seeing headlines after headlines about gun violence. Bullets are not democratic. They don’t care if you are a black child in Chicago or a white kid in Parkland. I saw so many American of all different colors being affected. It is something that we all have that is uniquely American unfortunately. As a filmmaker, I have the duty to reach people through films. We might not solve everything but we might help people continue the conversation.
LAS: The film didn’t seem to ponder left or right political discussions. Why was that feature added?
PEEBLES: We made sure to include everyone on the gun issues in the film. I wanted to have more of a holistic point of view rather than just left or right. Good film doesn’t exclude it includes. Some people say they don’t do politics well politics will do you and you’ll get trumped. Hopefully we will watch entertainment and it’ll make you think. More importantly I hope we take that and use it at the ballot box.
LAS: Many people believe artists shouldn’t talk about politics. What are your thoughts?
PEEBLES: Here’s the thing. Film and entertainment is so big and that’s it is hard not to bring politics in. Art effects change. In a democracy when you take all races and different backgrounds and put them in this melting pot called America, and put that on the stove with the lid down, the pot will explode eventually. But, if you let the steam out of the pot, it doesn’t explode. That steam is the art, it’s paintings, it’s film, and it’s television. If you can say something with creative expressions, you can change people. That’s very important. That’s what the role arts plays.
LAS: That’s true. Do you believe all movies have politics?
PEEBLES: Most all movies have politics. For example, look at Disney. My little girl was six years old. She looked at me and said Daddy I want to be white. I asked her why? She said because if I was a white girl I could be Cinderella, Snow White, or the Little Mermaid. She started to give a list. The only princess of color they had was Mulan. There’s not a way to look at entertainment as being absent of politics.
LAS: What do you want your audience to take away from Armed?
PEEBLES: I wanted to make a movie to make people think again. I wanted to bring all this before the midterms elections. All I can speak on is my effort to put something out there that shares both sides. I hope it’s a film that’s life affirming to people yet still entertaining and make you think a little bit. I hope we have enough people saying that thoughts and prayers are good but not enough.
Armed is currently in theaters independently. Visit your local theaters for showings.