Melina Matsoukas is a very experienced award-winning director, but Queen & Slim marks her very first go behind the lens of a feature film. She’s got a lengthy list of music videos to her name, including the Beyonce video “Formation” which won her a Grammy, and she also scored a Directors Guild of America nomination for her work on the “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None, an episode that was penned by her Queen & Slim scribe, Lena Waithe.
Their movie puts the focus on a black man and a black woman played by Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith who go out on a Tinder date. While he’s driving her home, they’re pulled over by a hostile police officer. The situation intensifies to the point that the man shoots and kills the cop in self-defense. Afraid for their lives, they opt to make a run for it together with their relationship evolving every step of the way.
With Queen & Slim hitting theaters nationwide on November 27th, I recently got the chance to sit down with Matsoukas to talk about her experience directing her very first feature film. We spoke about her choice to shoot on film, how she wound up with that unforgettable photograph of Queen and Slim that ultimately became the centerpiece of the film’s marketing campaign, and so much more. You can catch the full conversation with Matsoukas in the video interview at the top of this article and, in case you missed it, click here for my chat with Kaluuya and Turner-Smith, and right here for my conversation with Waithe.
- Matsoukas has a ton of directing experience, but was there anything about directing for the feature film format that surprised her?
- What does she need to have in hand when she’s on set and how do those items compare to what she has in hand on the set of a music video?
- What things did she have to fight for while making Queen and Slim?
- Matsoukas on crafting that unforgettable photo in the movie.