One of the stars of the critically-acclaimed documentary "The Interrupters," called "the most necessary film of the year" by Slatelast year, was interviewed Wednesday on "The Colbert Report" a matter of weeks before the film makes its Feb. 14 television debut on PBS's Frontline.
Ameena Matthews is one of the "interrupters" who work with Chicago-based anti-violence group CeaseFire, an innovative organization that aims to decrease the brutal violence that continues to disproportionately impact the city's poor, urban neighborhoods through a peer-based public health-oriented approach. CeaseFire's model, pioneered by epidemiologist Gary Slutkin, has been replicated in a number of other cities around the world who also struggling with street violence, most recently in Philadelphia, Baltimore and London.
"She should have Michelle Pfeiffer teach them poetry," host Stephen Colbert suggested as he introduced Matthews.
Colbert, finding common ground with Matthews, said he, too, is an interrupter, before he noted that interrupting violence is a dangerous predicament to place oneself in.
"Yes, you're an interrupter in a rude way, I'm an interrupter in saving lives," Matthews told Colbert. "We as violence interrupters stop the transmission of violence from one person to another. … We just get right in the middle of it because my goal is to save a life and be proactive and not reactive."
Later in the conversation, Colbert asked Matthews about a comment she makes in the film -- that violence is a disease -- and tells her that she is "like an antibody ... like, if you pardon my expression, a white blood cell."
"You know what, I would like to say I'm a paper sack brown blood cell," Matthews countered.
As Moviefone reported last month, "The Interrupters," which did not make the Academy's shortlist of Oscar-eligible documentaries this year, has been prominently mentioned in ongoing discussions over the Academy's changing rules governing its documentary category.
"The Interrupters," produced and directed by Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") and Alex Kotlowitz ("There Are No Children Here") debuts on PBS's Frontline at 8 p.m. CST.
WATCH a preview of the documentary below: