Netflix has released the first trailer for a new original film called Beats, which stars Anthony Anderson (black-ish) as a former music manager who’s working as a high school security guard when he discovers one of the school’s most troubled students is a hip-hop prodigy. You may be able to guess how this is going to play out, but check out the trailer anyway.
This is the first high-profile hip-hop story from Netflix since Baz Lurhmann’s incredibly expensive period piece TV series The Get Down, which was unceremoniously cancelled back in 2017.
Beats comes from writer Miles Orion Feldsott (Syfy’s Deadly Class) and director Chris Robinson, who has plenty of experience with the intersection of music and film – Robinson has directed music videos for some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Jay-Z & Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, T.I., Usher, Fat Joe, and Prince (just to name a few). He made his feature directorial debut back in 2006 with ATL, a stylish movie I remember enjoying at the time but admittedly haven’t thought much about since.
ATL is the only theatrical feature Robinson has helmed thus far, but that’s about to change with Beats (not to be confused with the UK movie about kids who attend a rave). But Hollywood has changed a lot since 2006, and it’s almost impossible to get a film like ATL made in 2019. That’s where Netflix comes in, and while I’m not out here suggesting they’re operating with fully altruistic interests, it is interesting to look at the types of movies that are being made in the studio system and how Netflix is providing a pathway for directors of color telling stories with small and mid-sized budgets. (See also: Blitz the Ambassador’s magical realist fantasy The Burial of Kojo.)
Anderson stars alongside Uzo Aduba, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Dave East, and more. IMDb says Paul Walter Hauser, of I, Tonya and Black Klansman fame, is also involved, though he’s nowhere to be found in this trailer.
Here’s the movie’s brief official synopsis:
An agoraphobic hip-hop prodigy and a disgraced former music manager cross paths in Chicago’s South Side and help each other face demons of their pasts.
Beats arrives on Netflix on June 19, 2019.
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