The Show Must Go On
Interview with Film Director and owner of Blackeye Entertainment
Films, Antonio Simmons, on the upcoming film Doggmen.
Q: What made you decide to go into the film industry?
A: When you come from the music industry background with father,
uncles and friends all in the music industry your whole life, it doesn’t
become challenging anymore. For me, being a former drummer, I grew
tired of music in general. So, in 1998, I wrote my first script which was
called The Last Parole Officer. A family member tried to buy it from me
and that was when I knew I was on to something. I ended up watching
more films, along with lighting and sound and watching UK films more
closely. I stopped watching films after I realized the writing was trash
and I said, “Well, I think I could do better than that.” I crossed into film
100% in 2000.
Q: So why produce Doggmen first? Why not The Last Parole Officer?
A: The reason why I choose not to shoot The Last Parole Officer first
was because Doggmen was easier for me to produce. It’s not about
explosions. It doesn’t have a lot of people jumping through windows.
The cast was easier; more comfortable and they could deliver. The Last
Parole Officer has way more explosions, cars turned over. I would need
a bigger production house. So, I made an executive decision to do
Q: Out of all the actors you could have recruited for this project, why
were you set on DMX?
A: OK. For one, when you put Earl Simmons and Antonio Simmons
together… you do the math. Family ain’t hard to work with. I knew
what he could do as an actor. I knew what he could do on the fly, and
not too many actors out there can deliver like he could deliver. He was
raw talent; he could play anything you wanted him to play. I would
keep Earl because he could deliver. I knew that. Most actors give you
the same face, so you already know what you going to get from them.
Earl had various looks and he was a bad mother f**ker.
Q: You established Blackeye Entertainment Films as a production
company in 2002. Was it difficult to get it up and running to become
what it is today?
A: it wasn’t really hard for me to get people to see my vision because I
talk clearly, direct and think outside the box. But it’s just when you got a
new company, dealing with egos and testosterone, is really hard to get
them see your vision. A person like me, I didn’t really care about what
‘they’ say or how ‘they’ move because I knew what I could deliver for
me. To answer that question, nah, I’m too persistent for that as a Virgo.
Q: Have you ever considered expanding Blackeye Entertainment Films?
A: When you say expand , my company is called black eye
entertainment so we basically do anything under the entertainment
umbrella including music, plays, clothing lines, dog food, food for
humans, whatever it takes to make a person smile, my company will do
it. So, I already expanded in just about every lane. I have a branch in
London, a branch in Germany and the mother ship is in America.
Q: What is the most important quality a film director should have?
A: The most important quality is like a two- part question. 1. Is to have
personality and 2. To be a real good director you should have at least 30
characters in his body that he could bring out at any given moment
while directing the film. The film must be able to make you laugh,
think, cry, feel and react. So, the director has to have personality, or be a
certain type of way or the film will just be flat. It doesn’t matter the
genre if it’s an action film, a comedy, drama, or horror, his personality
has to go into that film and if you don’t have the ability to bring it out of
yourself into these people the film will be trash. But I think you should
have personality… at least 30 characters in your body at all times, to be
a film director.
Q: What is the type of music you listen to before you go on set to film
or inspire you?
A: That’s an easy one for me. Music to me is like food, you gotta eat to
fuel the body and feed the brain in order for it to work. I like anything
from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and then the 90s, only up until like 97. I like
grunge, 90s R&B, everything in the 80s, all the 70s and all the 60s.
There’s certain music I listen to that brings the best out of me and makes
me crazy. It takes me to a certain level in my head that makes me feel
like I’m the actor and what I do with that energy is to make it generate to
fuel me up and to bring the best out of the actor.
Q: If you could work with any producer or director in the world, who
would it be? And why?
A: If I could work with any producer or director on earth I would have
to go with Michael Mann. Michael Mann is edgy, he’s not soft, he’s in
your face. But he has it. It’s the ‘IT’ factor for me. Everybody cannot do
action and drama but he can. Mike, he got it. I don’t know when It
started if it started in 3rd grade, 7th grade, college, but he got it. He did
Public Enemy, he did Miami Vice, Heat, Ali and Thief . When I saw
Thief with James Cann , I knew Mike was a gangster and that’s why I
would love to work with a cat like him.
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