X
Now Reading
Producer Trey Ellis Speaks On Revealing A “Complicated, Difficult” MLK in ‘King in the Wilderness’ Documentary [Interview]

Producer Trey Ellis Speaks On Revealing A “Complicated, Difficult” MLK in ‘King in the Wilderness’ Documentary [Interview]

Producer Trey Ellis Speaks On Revealing A “Complicated, Difficult” MLK in ‘King in the Wilderness’ Documentary [Interview]
Photo Credit: Magnum Photo Shop
Producer Trey Ellis Speaks On Revealing A “Complicated, Difficult” MLK in ‘King in the Wilderness’ Documentary [Interview]
Source: HBO

OKP: Oh, wow. How did she know them?

TE: From Howard University. She was a freshman at Howard and then she transferred to Fisk. She knew them and told me stories about them. It’s been an unforgettable experience.

OKP: Was there anything else that you learned during the production and were there any other unexpected revelations?

TE: I was surprised by how funny Dr. King was. Getting Andy Young laughing about memories of him, it was really emotional. And the extent of his depression, that’s another part of the film that people really respond to. You’ll see the film and you’ll see him laugh probably for the first time, and also how depressed he was in the later part of his life until he comes to peace with knowing how it’s going to end. He doesn’t know when, but he’s not afraid of death.

OKP: This documentary was the first time I saw how physically and emotionally exhausted [King] was. Hearing about the fact that he dealt with anxiety and depression, that was something that’s been a conversation that’s been coming up now with current day activists. We know what happened with Erica Garner and what’s been happening with the activists from Ferguson, but I never heard anyone talk about what the heroes we looked up to were dealing with. Was there any kind of hesitation on your part in including that part of King’s life?

TE: I wanted to hear all of the people we interviewed and what they wanted to say. They’re all in their 80’s so I really wanted to get them to tell their truth and then follow the truth to where it took us. And that took us to some dark places in Dr. King’s life and very unexpectedly to some light places as well.

King in the Wilderness is now streaming on HBO Go and airing on HBO. Watch it and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Danielle A. Scruggs is a Chicago-based photographer and writer who runs the website Black Women Directors and is also the Director of Photography at the Chicago Reader, an award-winning alt-weekly newspaper. Follow her on Twitter at @dascruggs and view her site at daniellescruggs.com.

Pages: 1 2 3

GET THE NEWS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX

Subscribe to Okayplayer and enjoy the following benefits:

  • Exclusive content not featured on the site.
  • Exclusive deals for our merch store.
  • First notice on upcoming events and online programming.