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HONEY

About The Production
Having attained success within the music industry as an initiator of some of hip-hop's most groundbreaking and creative ventures, Andre Harrell was looking for a new challenge…and the film industry seemed a natural place to explore. Harrell knew that hip-hop culture was a treasure trove rich with characters and stories that could easily be translated to the screen. A screenplay by Alonzo Brown & Kim Watson about a dancer who wants to attain success outside of her urban neighborhood proved to have the right elements. 

Harrell says, "So much of the music that I'm involved in deals with stories about finding your dreams. There's a lot about empowerment—so many of the artists I work with are all about that. It's about taking action, it's about taking chances, which is exactly what I've always done in my career. Dreams don't just happen, you create them. And that's the idea that drives Honey, this kind of hip-hop rags-to-riches-to-reality story, so I was glad to roll up my sleeves and get involved with it.” 

Marc Platt didn't need much persuasion when Harrell approached him with the screenplay for Honey. Platt was already familiar with the way the genre had spread well beyond its urban origins. He had witnessed its cross-cultural popularity and was eager to become involved with the subject matter.

Platt offers, "I welcomed the great opportunity to produce this film and surround myself with the culture, the people, the music, the feel and the kids—in a way that is exciting, exhilarating and hopeful.” 

With a commitment from Platt, it soon became time to find a director to bring the story to the screen, and Harrell thought of Bille Woodruff. Woodruff had established himself as a visually astute director of music videos for such artists as Britney Spears, Usher and The Backstreet Boys. 

Platt wasn't initially familiar with Woodruff's work, but was impressed by the talent he saw. He comments, "I thought if he can evoke that kind of emotion and character in three minutes, think what he can do in the course of a full-length feature film.” 

It became clear that Woodruff's experience in directing music videos would be an asset to Honey's urban-infused energy. "It's a world Bille knows and since we're exploring this world, the truthfulness, the spirit and energy of it, it's something he can intuit and recognize easily,” adds Platt. 

Woodruff wasn't entirely sure that, as a music video director, he wanted his first feature film to be about hip-hop, but he soon saw the potential of the project. Honey was a chance to draw on his considerable knowledge about the world in which the film unfolds, while being able to showcase some of his more nascent skills. 

Woodruff says, "It is a blessing that my first film draws on stuff that I'm very familiar with. But then I also get to show that I can handle narrative and tell a good story on a larger scale.” 

Woodruff approached the script with the eye of an expert and remembers, "We talked about ways to keep it realistic, given my background in the world of music videos, hip-hop and rock. So we included some things that can happen, given the real world that comes into Honey's story.” 

Honey's theme of overcoming adversity to make your dreams come true struck a deep chord in Woodruff; it took him back to his own childhood dreams. He offers, "The script appealed to me because I'd seen movies like Saturday Night Fever, Fame, Flashdance, Mahogany and Breakin'—they all spoke to me in a certain way. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a famous dancer, or a singer, or a rock star.” 

The director also responded to the story's inspirational quality and continues, "The idea of Honey's journey got me excited. People often see these kind of stories and relate them to their own lives and the goals they would like to achieve. It would be a dream of mine

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