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Issa Rae: HBO tried to get Insecure a big-name director -- who later admitted “I woulda f*cked that sh*t up!”

  • "Initially, they wanted experience," Rae said in a conversation with Yvonne Orji at the Vulture Festival. "Having done this for several shows, they pitched directors who were bigger names, who were sexy. In their defense, they could put it on the trailer or the poster and be like, 'It came from this person! You have to watch!' And then the more I met with people, the more it became clear that either they didn’t understand the show or it just wasn’t the right dynamic." Rae declined to name the directors she met. "I will say, there was one big-name director who I’m a huge fan of," she added. "They were pushing him so much so that they were like, 'He’s not from L.A., but we’ll send a jet every week for him to shoot the show.' And I was like, 'Y’all gonna send a jet for him, and we all don’t have a budget to shoot this sh*t? Okay, cool, great.' So they flew me out to meet him, and it just wasn’t right, you know? As much of a fan as I was of his, I thought, We’re not gonna make the show that I want to make together. I was gonna tell him 'Hey, this isn’t gonna work,' but he ended up backing out, and I was so relieved. And then I saw him at a party in season two when the show was out. (Laughs.) And he was like, 'Yo! I saw your show!' And I was like, 'Dope!' and he was like, 'I woulda f*cked that sh*t up!' It was so validating." Rae and Orji also discussed their real-life relationship off-screen. "She’s become a sister to me in so many ways," said Rae. "She’s the type of person to just have your back, to look out for you. She’s one of the most considerate people I’ve ever met, so much so that I aspire to be that way. I just am not! And you’re always giving me advice. Even in other relationships and friendships, you’ll be like, 'Just do this, just do this' and I’ll be like, 'That didn’t even occur to me.' She’s such a genuine person, and I feel so blessed to have actually made a true friend during this process, even though I set her up to do that the whole time! It was all part of my plan. So I won." Orji added: "You don’t give yourself enough credit for how good of a human you are, which also translates to how good of a person and friend you are. Like, yes, I’m considerate, but I’m also like, ho, you changed my life! You don’t have to be more considerate than that! I can get your water. What I can’t get is my mama a house, but you did that! It’s not apples to apples. Because the reality is, Issa took a shot on so many people in season one. It was just her being like, 'I want to make a show with people I think can do it.' And convincing the network that was acceptable. And now we’re all doing it in our own ways, but that’s because that’s your heart. So, sure, you’re not as considerate, waaaahhh … but like, you’re fine." To which Rae responded: "Thank you, girl."


    • Showrunner Prentice Penny and music supervisor Kier Lehman reflect on Insecure's legacy: "I hope it leaves behind a generation that’s inspired to want to see themselves on screen at a very high level," says Penny. "I hope the legacy is more people of color behind the camera with the cast, the crew, the writing, and directing because you’re really defined by your coaching tree. Just like any team in any sport, they’re only as good as the coaches. I think every great director is marked by the talent that he either discovers or continues to work with. And who did those directors inspire? Like for Mara Brock-Akil her tree includes myself, Karen Gist, Kenya Barris, Lena Waithe, and Regina Hicks. And now think of how many people Kenya has put on, who Lena’s put on. writers we hired for Insecure are on other shows — Syreeta Singleton is now running Rap Sh*t. So it’s like you are part of someone’s tree and then you create your own tree. And that’s what I hope the legacy will be, more branching." Lehman adds: "It’s pretty amazing to have the music from the show that we worked on, to have that be a part of people’s lives even outside of the show. And so I hope that continues and I hope that people continue to have this music in their lives and connect to it within their personal lives.And just like we look back on soundtracks of the ’80s and the ’90s and have that, you know, nostalgic feeling for them and how they represent, you know, a time in our lives and a certain place that, you know, in the future that this music will represent, you know, this time of our lives and, you know, South L.A. and the way that that area, you know, was transitioning in this time and you know, flourishing. And I hope that, you know, people remember it fondly and have a nostalgia for it in the future."
    • Kofi Siriboe on joining Insecure for its final season: "I feel like my life changed at the inception of Insecure," he says. "I’m from L.A. and I think that’s why me and Issa connect. We grew up in the same area. It’s such a powerful show and such a unique perspective on what’s going on in the culture right now. Of course we want more, but I’ll never forget it. Looking back five and ten years from now, the way we celebrate Girlfriends and a lot of the shows we grew up on, that’s the same thing Insecure will be for everybody."
    • Courtney Taylor on playing intern Quoia: "What I did was make her take her job way too seriously in the most comedic way," she says. "I wanted to make sure I channeled a little bit of me into that, too, because I think my personality is just as vibrant. But also she’s a Black woman working for another Black woman, so she’s extremely excited about this opportunity. She’s someone you want to work with. You know she’ll get the job done."

    TOPICS: Insecure, HBO, Courtney Taylor, Issa Rae, Kier Lehman, Kofi Siriboe, Prentice Penny, Yvonne Orji