BLACK VOICES
05/22/2017 02:51 pm ET

Why 'Everything, Everything' Director Made A Film 'For Us, By Us'

Stella Meghie's latest film was written, directed and starred in by black women.
The film marks another special occurrence in Hollywood, as black women wrote, directed and starred in the picture.
Matthew Eisman via Getty Images
The film marks another special occurrence in Hollywood, as black women wrote, directed and starred in the picture.

Stella Meghie wants everyone to share the experience and allure of falling in love through her latest film, “Everything, Everything.”

Adapted from Nicola Yoon’s debut bestselling book of the same title, the film chronicles the love story of 18-year-old Maddy Whittier (played by Amandla Stenberg), who has spent her entire life confined in a sterile, sealed environment due to a severe combined immunodeficiency, and falls in love with her new neighbor Olly (played by Nick Robinson).

Meghie told HuffPost that she wanted the romantic drama to focus on the vulnerability of Maddy and Olly’s romance.

Of the pair’s onscren chemistry, Meghie told HuffPost: “There was that awkwardness and that innocence and that you just don’t know anything. Just like a baby walking through something. And I identified with that.”

“When you’re young and trying to feel your way through dating ― what does that feel like and what could that look like on camera? And for Maddy, her situation is extreme, but she would have the same feeling as any girl,” she added. “And so, I just thought that it was chance to show those first love jitters and what’s that like.”

The young adult novel became an instant success when it debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2015, and remained on the list for nine consecutive months.

The young adult novel became an instant success, debuting at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list when it was releas
MGM
The young adult novel became an instant success, debuting at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list when it was released in 2015.

The film marks another special occurrence in Hollywood, as black women wrote, directed and starred in the picture.

“It’s so important to have us in front and behind and at the origins of stories that represent us,” Meghie said of Hollywood’s decision to support the film. “I think the producers at MGM and Warner Bros. were behind that because they’re the ones doing the hiring.”

“It was amazing for them to option Nicola’s book. And when I met with them they understood what I could bring to it that may be someone else could not. And then obviously finding the right girl for Amandla’s role,” she added. “It was very powerful to have a story created by us and told by us, and acted by us.”

Meghie credited Yoon, who wrote the film’s script, for helping provide important context for the film from the book.

“I wanted it to pass her test for sure,” Meghie said of Yoon’s involvement. “I was like, ‘If Nicola doesn’t like the movie I probably have failed, because kids love her book. So I really would hit her up if I had questions in terms of the intention of something.”

As for Meghie’s hopes for the film’s audience, that’s fairly simple: “I hope when they leave they feel optimistic and they feel love,” she said. 

“Everything, Everything” is now playing in theaters.

HuffPost

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