knicks interview

The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100: 

Ava DuVernay

Selma’s best picture Oscar nomination was the first for an African-American female director; the film also scored at the box office ($67 million worldwide) and with critics. This year, the Compton, Calif., native turned down Marvel’s offer to direct Avengers spin­off Black Panther. Instead, she will helm an untitled Hurricane Katrina project and will make her first TV foray with the series Queen Sugar, which she wrote, will direct and produce for OWN and Warner Horizon.

MY FIRST JOB IN HOLLYWOOD “Intern with CBS Evening News With Dan Rather & Connie Chung out of the L.A. bureau, which was covering Hollywood and the O.J. Simpson case at the time. Wild.”

WHAT I WISH I KNEW WHEN I FIRST STARTED IN HOLLYWOOD “When you nervously walk through the door for that job interview, that pitch, that audition, the person on the other side of the decision wants you to be the answer to their problem, their need, their issue more than you can imagine. I didn’t understand this until I was the person hiring and casting. Then, it clicked like the biggest secret ever revealed.”

THE MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE “Unfortunately, I’ve succumbed to the warped Hollywood trend and become spoiled by the expertly calibrated private screening rooms used around town by studios and filmmakers. Lately, I’ve been choosing perfect picture and sound over the grain, grit and gum-under-shoe of public theaters, and I’m really missing that priceless audience energy. There’s nothing like it.”

WHAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME “I’ve attended 24 U2 concerts since age 15.”

GO-TO LUNCH SPOT My Two Cents on Pico Boulevard. “Southern-inspired scrumptiousness served from a corner strip mall with major swagger and major skills. Love that spot.”

HOW I SAVE TIME “Calls while driving.”

I’M STILL STARSTRUCK BY “The Queen known as Cicely Tyson.”


MY QUIRKIEST HABIT “I like to crack other people’s knuckles for them. It helps them relax, and I enjoy it. I know! So, so weird.”


AS A WOMAN IN THIS BUSINESS, I’M STILL SURPRISED WHEN … “People are surprised by the patriarchy and prejudice embedded in this business, like it’s something new that was just discovered and not a longstanding legacy.”

The new Cinemax series The Knick is set in a New York hospital in 1900, where surgeons were developing new, ground-breaking techniques. The series mixes new developments in medicine (like an x-ray machine) with more mainstream things like electricity.  Show writer Jack Amiel explains how they filmed it to capture the turn-of-the-century aesthetic: 

“The dim lighting was [director] Steven Soderbergh’s brilliant choice and it was real. This was not an era when you had high-wattage light bulbs and everything was lit, it was an era when this was all new and not everything was wired for electricity. We wanted the reality of the darkness and the grit and what life was really like. Technology, ironically, helped us with this because Steven uses a camera called “The Red Dragon” and it has such an incredibly sensitive light sensor that you can be in a room where two characters are only lit by one candle in the center of a table and you can shoot that scene. It can bring more light or less light, it is extraordinary. Steven really took advantage of that and allowed us to see what the darkness really was back then.”

Today’s interview is with show writers Jack Amiel and Michael Begler and The Knick’s resident medical historian, Dr. Stanley Burns

Look. Im a tad angry because I’m bothered by the idea that people doubt me. Im further bothered by the idea people doubt themselves to the point they are no long functional members of society. Once you become in touch with your inner self, you are invincible because you become your own healer. I meditate with music. Whatever gets you to that feeling where you are in touch with yourself, do it.  

I have friends,people I go to for some advice but I come to me when I most need it because no one knows me better than me.No one can tell me what I need to fix better than I can. Once you touch the spiritual (and not by religion if thats not your thing) you’re fucking invincible.

They told me I couldn’t become a journalist at 17. And what did I do? Artsy Magazine and was writing beat stories, interviewing Knicks players. Honestly the list of things I’ve done that people had no faith in I did. So don’t let people tell you otherwise. I hope, in some form I’ve inspired people to just work for what they want and desire. Just fucking work. I went from that kid no one knew in the radio station to having two shows. That awkward kid in middle school to being a model. So don’t let anyone and I mean anyone tell you what to do.

Live your life to the fullest. Be who you are and what you truly are inside. Be the nerdy,wrestling, weezer loving, soulful white lady adoring kid like me or whatever you are inside and cherish that and enjoy that. I swear, just live life.

I’m going to be so huge. I’m accomplishing so much and I promise more in the NEAR future and I’d love to have many people be able to say the same. So when you wake up this week, just LIVE, THINK AND PROSPER.