Fruitvale Station. Miles Ahead. Creed. Moonlight. If you've seen any of these films over the past few years, then you're familiar with the work of Hannah Beachler. You may also know her for her Afrofuturist design direction on Black Panther, becoming not just the first Black person to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Production Design, but also being the first one to win it as well. She's even worked with Beyoncé on Lemonade, as well as the On The Run II tour with Beyoncé and Jay Z! In short, Hannah Beachler is definitely #goals when it comes to Black design.
While we did discuss Hannah's career highlights, we also talked about her life growing up in Ohio, her early work in production design, and how she first met Ryan Coogler. Hannah also shared how she prepares for working on films, what life is like after winning an Oscar, and how she stays inspired. Hannah is definitely proof that if you do your best, it is definitely good enough!
This episode is sponsored by Sappi North America’s Ideas that Matter program.
Sappi, a maker of high quality printing, packaging and release papers as well as dissolving wood pulp, is celebrating 20 years of this unique grant competition for designers working on social impact projects.
Applications are considered by an annually selected panel of top designers and social impact leaders and this year includes Sam Aquillano from the Design Museum Foundation, Ashleigh Axios from the Obama White House, George Aye of Greater Good Studio, Antionette Carroll of Creative Reaction Lab and Christine Taylor from Hallmark Cards.
The 2019 deadline to apply for a grant is July 19. To learn more about the program, visit sappi.com/ideas-that-matter.
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Maurice Cherry: All right, so tell us who you are and what you do.
Hannah Beachler: My name is Hannah Beachler. I am a production designer in the film industry.
Maurice Cherry: Now, I know that our audience definitely knows about your work. Certainly for anyone who's listening to this episode who has not heard of Hannah Beachler, press pause, go Google, come back. So I'm sure they're familiar with what you do, but can you tell us what exactly a production designer does and why it's such an important role?
Hannah Beachler: A production designer is a lot like an architect, but for film. So we're building sets, we're building physical sets. We're designing what you see on the screen, as far as the environment that the actors walk into, walk out of, live in, having their struggles in. And our environment wants to either play against that story or along with the story. So we're kind of there with the director and the cinematographer, in what you would call the troika, the three that sort of set the tone, the mise-en-scène of the film. And I try to tell stories through my environment.
Maurice Cherry: And now, what is that process when... Correct me if I'm wrong here. It seems like everything in Hollywood is done so quickly. How do you come up with concepts as a production designer?
Hannah Beachler: It really depends on the film first. And I always want to tell people, "Each film is like a fingerprint. It's completely different from the last." There are certainly things about the production of each film that are the same, budgets and things like that. But I would say it really depends on the size of the film for how much time I have. So if you think about something like Moonlight, which was $1.5 million, I had three weeks to prep, or what we call pre-production, and then we shot for five weeks. But on something like Panther, I had 10 months of pre-production. And that's the time... and I'll talk about pre-production, but then we shot for four months.
Hannah Beachler: So in pre-production is when I really have the time to sort of engage with the script, engage with a story, talk to the director and the cinematographer. We sort of all talk about what we envisioned from the story that we've read in the script, what we see. How does it align? And maybe I like the idea that the director has about a certain thing, and I want to incorporate that theme into the rest of the ideas that I had. So we kind of do a brainstorm session. And then you start implementing the things that you do, and things change over time.
Hannah Beachler: Now, when you don't have a lot of time, you really pray that you have a director who knows what they want. Because that helps. It helps guide you. It helps direct you. That's their job, directing me. And then I bring what I bring to the table, and try to capture something. And so on something like Moonlight, I had to do that very quickly, but Barry really knew what he wanted. On Panther, we had a lot of time to do research and development of the place that we were trying to create, the places, I should say because there were several that we were trying to create, not just Wakanda, but South Korea and London and Oakland, and the things that were important. So I had a lot of time on that one to really work the design, really put a lot of things into the design that come from a place of emotion that come from the place of tradition and familiarity, and a sort of a Afro-futurism, if you will.
Hannah Beachler: But sometimes you've just got to... Miles Ahead, we had maybe four or five weeks for prep, not a long time, big builds. You just got to work fast, and you learn over time how to sort of be conceptual straightaway. So when I read a script, I really envision what I'm reading. And if I don't visualize anything, I'm probably not going to work on that script. Because if I can see it, when you read a book and you see the place and you hear the voice, then I can go directly to the director and say, "Here's everything that I'm seeing." I'll pull references and pictures from books, from the internet, from magazines. I'll take pictures. I'll look for old pictures that I took. To put together a look book, if you will, for the director, to say, "This is what I saw when I read your script, and these things are how I feel the look will work."
Hannah Beachler: So that's really how it is. You get better over time, and you are able to work faster when it's necessary, and you just kind of do what you do.
Maurice Cherry: So, with it being such a a visual job, of course it's film, so people see it. But how much of what you do considers designing for accessibility?
Hannah Beachler: And accessibility you mean for?
Maurice Cherry: Oh, such as low visibility or colorblindness or something like that.
Hannah Beachler: For something like that, I'm always thinking about the story. So you're talking about accessibility for the audience too?
Maurice Cherry: Yeah, for the audience. That's what I mean, yes.
Hannah Beachler: Right, right. It's funny because I've worked with color blind directors, and it's always an interesting thing to happen because you have to think of it like you think of black and white film, in a sense, that it's not necessarily the colors. And I use very specific colors in almost every film that I do. And it's very noticeable to me. I don't know about other people. And those are colors that are... I scale the colors, so it's a little bit different. So someone who had low visibility could understand the color. If you take gray... and it gets very technical, you take a grayscale, zero to 100%, right? And I'll say I want whatever blue that we're using in a 30% in this tone. Basically this shade, this tone, but someone who might be color blind, they would see blue as orange, I believe. They would see the complement and not the color.
Hannah Beachler: I'm not sure about that. I think they would see the orange of it, but it would still work. And, honestly, I go with colors that are for the story more than anything. I honestly can't say that I've thought about low visibility. And I think that's something that the cinematographer probably thinks about more, and the director things about more than I do. Oftentimes, when you look at a movie production design, they always say, and it's mostly true, is 80% in shadow. It's always going to be in shadow.
Hannah Beachler: So when you watch the next movie you watch, look at the background, it's going to be in shadow mostly. Unless it's like Ragnarok, where they want everything to be poppy. And then you're [inaudible 00:07:05] every single color at it. But that is an interesting question, and it's something that maybe I haven't thought about that much when I'm designing. And that's the honest truth, is colorblindness, other than the fact that I've worked with colorblind directors before, and I'm always like, "No, I promise you this is what the color is."
Maurice Cherry: Right.
Hannah Beachler: [inaudible 00:07:22] that's pink." "No, mm-mm (negative). Not pink, beige." "No, no, it's pink." "All right." "Hey, yo, you other..." Some other people come in the room. "What color is this?" "It's beige."
Hannah Beachler: So that is something thinking that maybe now I need to fold into my design is to really... And that's part of the journey, is something like this to come up and maybe that's not something that I've really thought about. Now, I'll look at something like Solo, Bradford, light, dark. And oftentimes, theaters nowaday, the projectors aren't... They're not the right candle... They don't have enough candlelight. They don't have enough light to light his films. And that was a big argument with Solo. That is low visibility.
Hannah Beachler: When the Game of Thrones episodes, eighth season came on, and they were really low light, and the photographer was like, "Well, you need to adjust your TVs." Right?
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: So something like that, to me, falls in cinematography. No matter what I do with color, if they put it in shadow, it's gray. I always want to figure out a way to accentuate the shape or the color, and that's by grading it in percentages.
Maurice Cherry: As you mentioned that there were two movies I was thinking of, which ironically I saw in New York in the same theater probably 10 years apart. The first being Medicine for Melancholy by Barry Jenkins, which has kind of the same sort of play on color in that it's very desaturated, almost black and white, but not quite. And then, this past last week actually, I saw The Last Black Man in San Francisco. Saw them both at the Angelica in New York. And that one was really interesting in how it approached color. I don't know, have you seen that movie yet?
Hannah Beachler: I haven't, I saw the trailer for it, and it looks fabulous. And I heard that it's magnificent.
Maurice Cherry: It is such a gorgeous movie. Oh my God. I'm not going to spoil it, but there's certainly-
Hannah Beachler: Don't spoil it.
Maurice Cherry: No, no, no. I'm not going to spoil it, but you will watch it and you will see how they play with color in different settings. It's a great movie. It's great.
Hannah Beachler: Oftentimes, when you're working with low budget film, you'll notice that the color is more for... It's a stronger element because that's the thing that you can control the easiest and most sufficient, right? So when I worked on either Fruitvale, when I worked on Moonlight, you control the coloring. And on Fruitvale it with kind of controlled in a way that felt... There was an agitation to the control, right?
Hannah Beachler: And Moonlight, there was a control that was this... it just felt like it just flowed out of you. You know?
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: It was easy. It didn't jar you. It was very soothing because we used a lot of pastels, especially in Little's story. And then the colors get darker, and you can get a little more uncomfortable. As you get to Black's story, it gets a little deeper inside of you. And then, by the end of the movie, we lightened it up a little bit, again, when they're in the kitchen, in Kevin's kitchen, in his apartment. And you go back to that yellow that you start with. It's full circle for Chiron.
Maurice Cherry: See, now I have to go back and watch Moonlight because I definitely remember the colors changes. But I'd need to pay more attention to that.
Hannah Beachler: They're pretty bold and strong, and so I think that when you watch a lot of indie films you will see designers kind of moving that way a little bit more. Because you can't do the big [inaudible 00:11:04]. You can do some, a little, if you have the time, and you have the crew, right? But the one thing that you can do with paint. You can find the color thing that you want to put in the room. You can control it, and you can make it... You can do so much with color. You can make it feel because there's even the physics of color, the psychology of color, what color does to you. If you're in a room that's purely orange and you're in there for long enough, it can make you kind of chaotic. The more chaos happens in that field of orange.
Hannah Beachler: My friends that I used to test this when I was in college. So my friend had a party, she had this artist's loft, right? This old warehouse. This is back in the '90s. She painted everything orange, and then put all these orange clothes, made a big tapestry out of orange clothes that covered one wall. The floor went... Everything in the whole place was orange. And everybody was asked to wear orange to the party, just to see what happened. How do people react in that environment?
Hannah Beachler: And it was wild. It was awesome. So we know that in the '50s kitchens were predominantly painted yellow. People argue longer and harder in a field of yellow. People eat more in a field of red. A lot of Italian restaurants are red. You eat more spaghetti and pizza. So there's not only controlling the color for the story, but controlling the way your audience feels with color.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah. Now, you mentioned earlier the look-book that you have to put together, I guess, when you're sort of building the world for a film. Of course, I heard that you've done this for your designs on Black Panther. One of our audience members asked me this. They asked me this Friday when we recorded our live event. They were like, "When can I buy the Black Panther bible?" I don't know if that's anything under your control or not.
Hannah Beachler: It's not, [inaudible 00:13:01]. That bible, man, it's pretty awesome. And I'm not going to lie. I'm usually very like, "Oh, it's no big deal." But no, a lot of work went into that. I'm going to take a little bit of a pat on the back for that one because it was basically nine months in the making, and I went through a lot of iterations. I had a great team that also helped me put that together, a lot of the timelines. And I wrote a lot of the story about the city itself, Wakanda, we're talking about Golden City. I wrote a lot about the history behind certain pieces of Wakanda, or Golden City, like why the parks are called what they're called. What the street is, what these buildings are, what these different sections of town, if you will, are... The oldest part of town is the North Triangle, and why is that?
Hannah Beachler: Why is there a Mali Timbuktu pyramid in the middle of the throne room? Why is the merchant district, the merchant district in, and what is it now? What's the evolution and the history of Step Town, and the university area, and the civic area in the CBD, and how's the CBD different than North Triangle? What are the gates that you enter Golden City through? Are they still there? What were they? Why were they there? Where did the Bashenga... All of that stuff is in there. What are the Border Tribe? How do they get their rhinoceroses? How do they form a bond with the rhinoceros that they have? And you really just want to build a foundation. So the other department heads kind of have something to have a little bit of a foundation to help in the decision making process so that we're all in on the same page.
Hannah Beachler: And that was the intention of the bible. So we understood the history of it. Ryan needed that for his storytelling as well as Ruth and myself. So I just dive in because I always do too much. I talk too much and I do too much. And, and Ryan knows I'm going to drop a 400 page book in front of them before I get the job. This is what I think. Boom. And the first, because there's two, there's the first one, which only Ryan... he's the only one that has a... Ryan Coogler, director. He still has that copy of that first bible. And then the second one, which is the 515 page one, is the one that has the history, the timeline, population size, the migration pattern and why the tribes are called what they're called, and what their specialties are because each tribe specializes in something.
Hannah Beachler: And Ryan would say, "I really want the Merchant Tribe to be the tribe that was the..." They were specialized in making weapons. I had to understand why. I can't design for them if I don't know why. Where did they come from, and why do they specialize in making weapons? And how has that evolved? That was the necessity of the bible. And so here it is. It's an IP, so Marvel owns it. They just did an anniversary book where they actually put some pages from the bible into that anniversary book. So I guess if somebody would want to see some of the bible, they could get that book, and there's a few pages in there that tells you some of the history of Golden City in the history of... the timeline of all of Wakanda.
Maurice Cherry: I can only imagine how fun it is to just put... Well, one, to just build that world, and then just put it all together in this one huge digest that explains everything. I mean, and you said you had 10 months to do it, right? You had a lot of time.
Hannah Beachler: I did. And even in that time, I also... we scouted South Africa, we scouted South Korea. We started setting up shop in Atlanta. We were also out of Los Angeles. I was designing the sets. We were building. We were creating Warrior Falls, which was a huge undertaking and a ginormous sets that included a lot from special effects because we had 150,000 gallons of water running through the practical portion of the set. It required actor rehearsal because they're fighting in the water, which was all practical. We had to make sure it was the right height. We had to make sure it flowed the right direction, that the floor of it... because Michael and Chadwick we're doing a lot of falls on it, and Winston. So we had to make sure that it was padded in a way that also still remained to look like rock.
Hannah Beachler: And we had to have 200 people on the cliff side. So we also had to make sure of safety and that people could get out there. We made these cave tunnels that went about 20 feet, 25 feet back. This thing was 10 feet off the ground, 20 more feet higher still. I think it was actually 30 feet higher. I think the actual set was 30 feet, but it was 10 feet off the ground, I believe, eight or 10 feet off the ground.
Hannah Beachler: And then it had three falls with 150,000 gallons of water that were circulating in a cyclical way so it would come out and go down and drain underneath the set, and then be pumped back up to the top and back down to the fall. It was just the same water being recycled, and we had to make sure that harnesses were able to be hooked in. And we had scaffolding on the back so that extras could walk up the scaffolding and through the caves out onto the set. We had special effects, we had rigging. Then you have all your cinematography side come in. That set was being built for approximately seven or eight months.
Maurice Cherry: Wow. The scale of that is... that's breathtaking even to think about. But I know a lot of people know about your work from Panther. We're definitely going to talk about Black Panther and Moonlight and other movies that you've done production design work on. What's some of the latest stuff that you're working on? What can we expect from you coming up?
Hannah Beachler: Well, I just finished... See, what month is it? It's June, right?
Maurice Cherry: Yup.
Hannah Beachler: I just finished, about three months ago, a film with Todd Haynes directing, and he did Carol and Far From Heaven, and a bunch of movies. I'm sorry. I'm not thinking of everything. But Todd Haynes, he's a big director, and his cinematographer Ed Lachman. And it is based on a true story and the title is Dark Water, I believe. It changed a couple times. It was Untitled Todd Haynes Project, but I think they recently just decided on Dark Water.
Hannah Beachler: It's going to be pretty awesome. Todd is a very high concept. He did Velvet Goldmine. He's a very high-concept director. He did, for instance, Mildred Pierce, and these films are very... Like I said, high concept. They're very stylistic or stylish, stylized, high concept, very bold. But this was based on a true story about the contamination of water done by DuPont for 50 years in West Virginia, and how it affected many people, 70,000 people, pretty much.
Hannah Beachler: Now we're at the point where it's affecting the entirety of the United States of America, but from that one plant, Washington Works, in West Virginia, in Parkersburg, West Virginia. And we kind of talk about the lawyer, Rob Bilott. There was an article in Time magazine about him when he first started suing DuPont for contaminating drinking water and poisoning on children, and men and women, in that town. And they were coming up with cancer and dying. Livestock was dying. He started digging into it, and he was sort of a... It's a David and Goliath story. He's still suing them. So the story goes over 17 years of his lawsuit.
Maurice Cherry: Oh my, wow.
Hannah Beachler: And it's starring Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway.
Maurice Cherry: Okay. And that we'll be expecting that coming out, I guess, probably in the near future?
Hannah Beachler: Yeah. I would say fall, winter, maybe winter.
Maurice Cherry: Now was there a television show that you also worked on recently?
Hannah Beachler: I did. I worked with Melina Matsoukas on Y: The Last Man for FX. We did the pilot. Rodrigo Prieto shot it, one of the most masterful cinematographers working. And that was quite an experience. I've not really done television. And, of course, it was just the pilot, and we shot it a lot like a film because we weren't doing episode after episode. So they were no [inaudible 00:22:27] sets or main sets, if you will, that had to really work with. We can kind of go in and set a tone and a look, and then sort of Jett, and other people come in and take on the other episodes. I'm not really sure what's going on with that right now. I don't know if they're filming the other episodes, or if it's on hold for any reason. That was seven months, and we shot in New York City.
Maurice Cherry: Okay. So we've talked a lot about your current work. We talked about some work that you have coming up. I want to go all the way back to the beginning. I definitely want to go back to Centerville, Ohio, where you grew up right outside of Dayton. Tell me what it was like there.
Hannah Beachler: It's hard to explain because it was really strange. I mean, it was strange and it was different. I guess it was different. I don't know if it was different. I think about, I look around now and it's more different than any way I know people who grew up. So my father was an architect. He's since passed. And my mother was an interior designer. And he built and designed, he built himself and designed the home that I grew up in.
Maurice Cherry: Wow.
Hannah Beachler: Literally in the middle of nowhere on the side of a hill. And we had a big long bridge that went to the front door. It was basically an upside down house. So what would technically be on the first floor was on the second floor, so the kitchen and everything was on the... It was a very modern glass and wood house out in the middle of these woods. And we had horses and our neighbors were farmers. They had cows, and they grew crops, and they had sheep and pigs. Basically, my mom was like, "Okay, get out at 8:00 AM, and go run crazy in the woods with your brothers and sisters." And then she would ring a bell, literally, outside, a big bell. And we'd come out of the woods like Lord of the Flies, and get lunch. We'd get our sandwich. We'd get our peanut butter, PB and J, and our red drink. And then we would go back into the woods, and she would ring the bell when it was time for dinner.
Hannah Beachler: And then we were allowed to go out for a couple hours and play ghost in the graveyard. I spent the day... We made up our own. There was no other kids. It was me and my brothers and sisters. We eventually had some neighbors that came that had kids our age. But, in the beginning, it was just us. We would go into the woods and just make up stuff to do. You know what I mean? We would build stuff. We would make up worlds. We would make up games and who is the king of whatever. I think my brothers would dig six foot holes and camouflage them, and then we would fall in them, and they would laugh. And we were just, we were feral.
Maurice Cherry: Not feral. My God.
Hannah Beachler: [inaudible 00:25:23] children. And I don't even think I put on shoes until I had to go to kindergarten. I don't think we wore shoes. My mom would be, "You can go down to the bottom field," and you'd come back up just in your diaper.
Maurice Cherry: Oh my goodness.
Hannah Beachler: Because we just ran around in the woods like crazy kids. So it was a very... but then, like I said, I was surrounded by art. I was surrounded by my dad's blueprints and my mom's sample books. And my aunt was a artist. So we would have art shows in the bottom field. We call it the bottom field, below, because we were on a hill. The field below, and then there was a creek. We would have all these artists from the Dayton area come, and my aunt would show. And then my mom would have big parties. She had this big medieval party, and we all had to dress up like we were medieval and everybody ate out of bread. You know what I mean? She decorated the house, so it felt medieval, and then she would have exchange students from Pakistan, Germany, and Japan, Australia. Where else did we have exchange students from? Ghana. They would live in our home for six months or so, and none of them would speak English. So we would have to learn to communicate without being able to speak each other's language, but find a common ground.
Hannah Beachler: So my dad was a type of guy who would see a woman hitchhiking and be like, "She needs help," and pick her up. And we would drive her wherever she needed, or give her money. He had his firm, when he finally had a firm, in a part of town, everybody said, "Don't have a firm there because it's a bad part of town." But my dad made friends with everybody in the neighborhood and his business was there for 40 years. He helped the people that needed it outside of his work, and if they needed something fixed in your home, my dad would do it. If they needed food, my dad would get it. That's how I grew up.
Maurice Cherry: It sounds like you really were exposed to... I wouldn't even say exposed to design, but it sounds like you were exposed to this concept of building worlds and bridging gaps in terms of culture from a very early age.
Hannah Beachler: From the time I was tiny.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: From the jump, and it was always about building worlds. I'd go with my dad to a site, and it would just be framed out, and be the foundation and then be framed out. He would walk me through and be like, "Okay, Hannah, this is the wall of the living room. And then imagine a big... We'll have a big curve that comes around here, and then glass will be all over it." So he'd walked me through his sites, and talk me through what some people would just say is a skeleton. Some people would look at it, and just see sticks everywhere. But I learned to look at something like that and see a finished thing. It helped me in that I can walk into pretty much any location and see what it would be to what I needed it to be for the story, or if it would even work for the story.
Hannah Beachler: Because my dad trained me to that before I could walk. It was always about... because when we went to build the guest house, he was like, "Here's a saw." Maybe don't give one to a nine-year-old, but okay. And start sawing wood, and start learning how to measure. And start learning the standard sizes of everything. He didn't really care if I wanted to do it or not. I was always the one that was around. Out of six brothers and sisters, I was the only one that was there when he was doing that. So I was kind of the one that he expected to listen when he talked about architecture. But he also was a sculptor and a painter. And culture was very important to my parents.
Hannah Beachler: We went to Mexico every summer almost. We wouldn't stay at some crazy hotel. We would just stay on the beach in a camper in some village. And, literally, that's what we would do. It was always like my parents taught me... life wasn't easy. It was hard. But my parents did teach me about people. And when I was younger, I probably never appreciated it until the last probably five, six years of my life. It didn't all come into understanding until I met Ryan Coogler. My early life, I did not understand until I met Ryan.
Hannah Beachler: It was always just this weird crazy thing that happened, like this weird life. I mean, I was riding a horse to the candy store when I was five, to get Jolly Ranchers, yo. [inaudible 00:30:16] we'd just hop on the horse. And no saddle, and you just had the bridal and a lead, and the horse kind of knew its way. You would get... my mom would never wonder where we were. It was just like, "Hannah went to the candy store." So, obviously, I took the horse.
Maurice Cherry: Obviously.
Hannah Beachler: Yeah, obviously. [inaudible 00:30:32] when you say it out loud, it really does sound nuts. And maybe it was a little bit, but it informed everything about me.
Maurice Cherry: We're there-
Hannah Beachler: Good and [crosstalk 00:30:44]-
Maurice Cherry: Oh, no, I'm sorry. Go ahead.
Hannah Beachler: I was just going to say it informed everything about me, good and bad.
Maurice Cherry: Were there any comics or anything that you read growing up? I'm specifically talking about with regards to Black Panther, did you have an idea of what that whole universe and everything was about?
Hannah Beachler: I didn't. I didn't really... I know I knew about Black Panther because of my brother and my neighbors, but I never read... I wasn't a comic book person.
Maurice Cherry: Okay.
Hannah Beachler: I cannot remember really being into it. I can remember Josie and the Pussycats, that I really loved that. And there was a comic book. But other than that, I think it was more my brothers, and I think I was really more into... I was really into my music and I was really into fashion design.
Maurice Cherry: And that's what you ended up studying at the University of Cincinnati, right?
Hannah Beachler: I did. I mean, my mom got me my first form when I was nine. So I started sewing and designing clothes that I would wear to school, like fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth grade.
Maurice Cherry: My mom and my grandmother are both seamstresses in that way. They taught me how to sew, which was interesting because... So growing up we would do... They just taught me how to do cross stitching, just to start off. And then, of course, later it's like, "Oh, now teach you how to use the machine," and all this kind of stuff. It was always something that I just did just to do, not flaunting it or anything. It wasn't until I got to college, and I was making money from it, because nobody knew how to sew on a button, or fix a hole in their sock. And I'm like, "I can do that." "Oh, I need to put a hem in these pants." "I can do that." I was just making a little money doing alterations and stuff like that. It comes in handy.
Hannah Beachler: It's amazing. Yeah. I really threw myself into fashion. I would watch on TV, they would have the... I can't even remember what the show was. It was almost like an Entertainment Tonight, but it wasn't Entertainment Tonight. But they would show videos. I remember Norma Kamali. She's a designer in New York, still around, I believe. She made these videos of her clothes. I don't even remember any other designer doing that, but it would be... She was doing bodysuits at the time, and that was her thing. There were videos of these models in these bodysuits, but it wasn't them walking down the runway. It was a music video before music videos. It had to be way before MTV, like the early '80s. Probably three years before MTV.
Hannah Beachler: I was entranced by it. I've always been entranced by TV, but that, I was just like, "Fashion and visual," kind of performance art in a way. That really... I think what was really happening was I was connecting with the visual, but since it included fashion... and I was always very fashion. I was kind of a punk rocker, if you will. I kind of went on a weird direction because of what was available to me to see, in the music that I listened to, but there was a lot of different types of music in my home that I grew up in. So, anyways, I'm getting off on a tangent. But those were sort of the things that I was into.
Hannah Beachler: And so I really jumped into fashion at an early age, and then was really bound and determined that I wanted to be a fashion designer. I remember going to New York City when I was 13 years old with a friend, and we visited her aunt. And she took us to the Easter parade on Fifth Avenue. And all the kids from FIT, Fashion Institute of Technology, were out. I still have the pictures from them. This would've been 1983. And they had these hats, they all made these hats. I just wanted to... that was it. I wanted to go to FIT. That was really my goal. I ended up at University of Cincinnati in DAP, and after three years I was like, "Oh, this isn't really for me." There was something that was lacking, and I didn't really know what it was, but I knew it wasn't that.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah, I know that you later ended up going to to Wright state in Dayton, and then you studied film. So, I guess, was that something different? Is that was sort of shifted that...
Maurice Cherry: ... I guess was that something different? Is that was sort of shifted that you're disciplining in a way?
Hannah Beachler: I kind of, after I left school, after I left fashion design. I dropped out of school. And I had friends who were in band, and I had a couple of boyfriends who were in bands too. So I hung out. So now we're in 1990 where you were starting to get this bikini [inaudible 00:35:23] and BC boys and Rick [inaudible] but Rick Rubin. So you're getting all of this mixture of rock punk, hip hop, from Digable Planets and D-Lite and DJ stuff too. And jazzy, hip hop to A Tribe Called Quest and KRS-One even though I was in to him in the 80s. But that's where I was in this muddled thing but I [inaudible 00:35:55] listened to from Ghazi and and Henry Rollins. And I went to see shows and I noticed I love the visual and I love the fact that some of these bands were telling stories through the visual and the music. All of it.
Hannah Beachler: And then it turned it into photography for me. And then my friend was like, "Hey, can you make a music, let's make a music video." 'Cause she was in a band. And I was like, okay. And that's when it jumped off. So this is [inaudible 00:36:21] that music video, that was it. That was it. And I knew that I wanted the mix of all of those things, storytelling, style, 'cause there was fashion, and this visual medium that could say something and had a point of view. And I was like, this is it. And that's where I started.
Maurice Cherry: So that was like your gateway into production design then. Was it even called production design then?
Hannah Beachler: You know what, I didn't know what to call. I didn't even know what I was doing I was doing all ... the rooms should look like this. And I had words for what that job was 'cause I didn't even know it was a job. So I was just doing this thing. I was in ... my friends and I ended up doing a movie called Grrl Posse. And if anybody out there hears this, G-R-R-L P-O-S-S-Y Grrl Possy, you can Google that. [inaudible 00:37:19] music. There is a song out there that my friend and I are singing on. Grrl Possy, Grrl Possy, da da da da. Grrl. So it was this 60s Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, Russ Meyer type, saying Switchblade Sisters Grind house movie where each woman represented a different period in time. So we had a woman that represented the silent period, women who represented old Hollywood, the Marilyn, or the Marilyn Monroes and Jane Mansfield's.
Hannah Beachler: And then I was sort of the blaxploitation Jackie Brown, Cleopatra Jones. And then my ... then we had this Switchblade Sisters Grind house girls. So we all tried to represent what femininity was in different periods. And we made this crazy film, right. And that's when I was really doing design, if you will. I had put my little fingers up like finger quotes, finger air quotes. I didn't really realize honestly that that was a thing until pretty much when I graduated college. When I graduated from film school and then my professor had said something to me about [inaudible 00:03:29]. He's like, "You're really, your art direction is very good." And I thought art direction, what is that? What? And then I got a book and started reading about it and I was like, okay, this is a thing that I want to do.
Hannah Beachler: I ... it's not natural to me. And I knew why because I came from that. I was like, this is what my mom and dad did, but will never admit that out loud until just now. And that's when I was like, a friend of mine called me then and she said, Hey Hannah, I'm working on this really low budget copy films. DO you want to come and help me in the art department?" And I was like, sure, all right. And I did that and I was like, okay, I'm doing this. Where do I go? Where do I, how do I do this forever?
Maurice Cherry: A lot of your early production work as I was looking through your IMDB, was in horror films. You did Terminal, you did Seconds Apart. I'm sorry. Quarantine To Terminal.
Hannah Beachler: Yeah.
Maurice Cherry: Seconds Apart. Let me make sure I get that right. What were those early times like in your career?
Hannah Beachler: Well you can see that they was rough, wasn't it? Honestly those films came when I started, when I started I was started as a set dresser and I worked with [Jean Sardina 00:04:43] and Grant Samson who are two really great people and great, great ... Jean is a fantastic set decorator. And then I was a set decorator. And one day I was like, I'm going to be production designer and there's a long story of that, but I won't go into it. And so I woke up and was a production designer. And I made my little website and I sent it out to all my friends who I knew what worked on film and did stuff. And a friend of mine call me and she's like, "Hey, I saw that you were a production designer. We're doing four horror films in Iowa. Do you want to design them?" And I was like, Oh yeah, sure. Definitely. I had no idea what I was doing. And other than being a set decorator and having seen designers, I had not designed a film as the designer at that point.
Hannah Beachler: So we went out there and they were $1 million each. They were each 18 days. It was seven or eight days of prep. And then 18 day shoot. We did two in Iowa and then their film incentive went bust and we went back and did two in Baton Rouge. One of them ... And then I did Seconds Apart was separate from those four. So it was really what I used to learn. It was like I was getting paid to go to school at that point. Not very much, but I was getting paid to go to school and learn how to manage a crew, how to really work a budget under those types of circumstances where you hadn't learned how to be resourceful and learn where to put my crew. What are they good at, even if they don't see it, where would they shine the brightest and, and be the most effective on the film or in the art department for me.
Hannah Beachler: So I use those as experimental ground, if you will. Beta testing of playing with starting to do builds. And how can I mix building and augmenting practical locations and working with scenics and learning about really, how color works in a story and how certain things are tonally. So I really use those moments and they were hard moments as learning moments and a foundation to grow on. And to build my resume so I could do more.
Maurice Cherry: Speaking of building your resume, after those movies that's when you met Ryan Coogler. Is that right?
Hannah Beachler: Yes it is. I remember I was in a slump. We know the film industry is Feast or famine. And I was in a famine if you will. And I didn't really know what to do. I didn't know where to go 'cause I was working in New Orleans and people knew me the the New Orleans person who did low budget horror. And I wanted more, obviously I wanted to do more. And I wanted to do other genres. And I reached out to [Winn Thompson 00:07:39] and he's Spike Lee's designer, and he called me. And we talked and he just shook me out of this fog. He was like, "Get it together. And he's like, "You need to find an agent." Which I didn't know anything about that. "You need to get in the union, in the ADG, the art director's guild. You need to branch out and you need to get your name past the borders of New Orleans." And he's like, "And don't do horror anymore. You don't want to pigeonhole yourself. And if you don't really feel something for a script, don't do it."
Hannah Beachler: He's like, "Say no. It's okay to say no." And at that point I never thought about those things. So I started reaching out to agents and three weeks after that conversation with Winn I was signed with Dattner Dispoto. And the first thing that they did was say you, my agent was like, "Hey, we got the script in. It's really small script. It's shooting up in Oakland, first time director, young guy. Read the script, let us know what you think." And I read the script, I cried my way through that script. And I called them back and I said, I need to meet this person. I need to meet this director. I want this job. And they're like, "Okay. There's no" ... it didn't have any money.
Hannah Beachler: They were warning me it doesn't have any money. And I was like, I just want to meet this guy. And so we Skyped, I was in New Orleans and Ryan was in Oakland. And I had put this collage together on the wall, I worked really hard on, what I felt the colors and the textures and the tone of Oakland would be for this script. And I remember holding the computer up to the wall, like, here's my collage. What I should've done was put it in a look book and emailed it to him, but I didn't know better. And we talked for a couple hours and he was like, "Okay, well, we're talking to other people. I'll talk to my producers and we'll let you know one way or the other and in a few days and stuff."
Hannah Beachler: And I was like, okay. And I said to him before we hung up on Skype, I said, I really want this job. And he said, "All right. Bet." An hour later he called me back on Skype. He's like, "Come on, let's do this. "And I was like, ahh. He's like, "Okay. but we're not starting now." 'Cause I was getting my keys and packing my bag on while he's still on Skype. He's like, "No. [inaudible 00:09:57]." And that's how I met Ryan and I went out to Oakland, drove across country, couch surfed if you will. And pet sit so I can have a place to stay. I pet sit the whole time pretty much. And that changed everything. Getting ... meeting Ryan changed everything. And I'd never met anyone like him before. And I was blown away by him and everything about him. So ... and it was a hard story to tell and he did it with grace.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah. I mean it's such a gripping movie. I've seen it twice now and it's one of those kinds of movies that just sticks with you.
Hannah Beachler: Yeah.
Maurice Cherry: And I think a large part of that, I mean aside from just the story itself, but also how you've done your production design work on it and really building this world around Oscar and everything that had happened. So how did you really prepare for working on that film?
Hannah Beachler: I, the first thing I did was watch one of the Southland videos of that event. And maybe my ignorance or naivete ... and I had known about Rodney King and da da da. And that this happens and this is this racially charged police brutality that happens. But I didn't understand it like I did when I saw that video. And I was destroyed watching that.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: And that was the moment I said that what I do must make a difference period.
Maurice Cherry: So it sounds like that particular movie that was the turning point for you.
Hannah Beachler: It really was. And it's really hard to talk about 'cause I was really emotional.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: And I tear up to this day when I talk about that film. It will never leave me. And it did really change the trajectory of who I am and how I understand film.
Maurice Cherry: So let's move ahead a little bit. You mentioned Miles Ahead earlier. Miles Ahead for those listening, it's a Miles Davis film, stars Don Cheadle came out in 2015. And similar to Fruitvale Station, it's a biography in a way. What did you learn from Fruitvale that you were able to carry over into this film?
Hannah Beachler: Really resourcefulness, because we ... Fruitvale was $650,000.
Maurice Cherry: Wow.
Hannah Beachler: So we had nothing. And I, as a designer, I had to be very specific about what was going to happen because I had penny ... down to the penny I had to know what was going to happen. And I had to know how to be resourceful. I had to ... I didn't really have a crew. I had maybe, there was two other people at the end of the day. It was me plus two. And I, the other thing about that was I took away understanding that I needed to be more aware of a different perspective of telling a story. There's this whole other angle that I ... So that people, not just me, a lot of people and myself often over look, that even though I can see the building outside my window the way I see it, that the person on the other side of the building that I'm in sees it from a different angle. But I'm not thinking about that angle 'cause I'm only looking at my angle, right.
Hannah Beachler: I need to just stop looking at my angle and understand what it looks like from that side. And maybe that's the angle I tell it from. Maybe that's the angle I design it from. And I learned that from Ryan. So then when I went on to Miles, that was very helpful with Don in the way that he wanted to tell this story because it was very free form stream of consciousness way that the script was written and the way that he wanted to tell the story ultimately. So I had to learn how to look at it from another perspective. The other thing is is that, Fruitvale was based on a true story and this is a biopic. So I also knew how to take liberties without changing. Yeah, does that makes sense?
Maurice Cherry: Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. You have poetic license a little bit.
Hannah Beachler: Exactly. But not change a narrative or change the person. And also stripping away the stereotype. That's been part of my work is just taking a guillotine and just sticking the stereotype in and cutting it's head off.
Maurice Cherry: Okay.
Hannah Beachler: And there's some need to show, for instance, for Fruitvale Station, who Oscar was.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: But we didn't go in. You would see had it been maybe another filmmaker where if [inaudible 00:50:09], all these gang things every ... they would ... 'cause I think a lot of times when we're not telling our own stories, the only way that sometimes people understand a different culture or community is through the lens that they've been shown, and they don't even realize over their whole life. And so it's just an ingrained thing. It's not necessarily always this thing of you're that [inaudible 00:50:33].
Hannah Beachler: You know what I mean? It's just this thing of, oh yeah, well he's black and he's obviously in a gang and he would have, all these rap posters everywhere and he'd be in da da da da da. That's, maybe he didn't because he didn't have the money for that and that's not what he was thinking about 'cause he's trying to feed his kid.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: Do you know what I mean?
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: So that, if you look at Fruitvale, that's not there. Yeah, Oscar dealt marijuana. A lot of people do, but, and that's part of who he is. And what he's wearing ... Ryan was very specific about in 19 or two, 2009 this is how people dressed in Oakland. This is what we looked like. This is what we wore, the XXL, white shirt with the black shirt under. Or the black shirt with the white shirt under.
Hannah Beachler: And the big shorts. Or the big pants and dreads. 'Cause that's a big Oakland thing. and that's ... and the way that people spoke, that's the way the colloquialism within the region. Those things are important and those are true and those are real and those are tangible. But when you just start adding stuff from weird stereotypes and stuff. So, that, I want to just take away because I want to give people the truth as much as I can possibly give it and be creative at the same time. I don't think responsibility negates creativity, which I think people think it is. If I'm responsible then I can't be creative. Well certainly you can. And if you can't, then maybe you should rethink how creative you are in the first place.
Maurice Cherry: So the second film that you worked on with Brian was Creed and that's also the second time you worked with Michael B. Jordan on a film. And Creed has this storied history. It comes from all the lore of the Rocky film, six Rocky films. At first I thought it was five, but I forgot about Rocky Balboa, which I think everybody forgot about that one. But no, but six Rocky films and then Creed is the spinoff from it. How was it approaching that movie when it's already got this developed world in it? Like in terms of place and character, there's already a lot that's there. How do you come in then as a production designer and build around that?
Hannah Beachler: Well, it was a little, because Rocky is iconic
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: So I was like, [inaudible 00:17:53]. And at the same time I was so excited because I haven't seen all the Rockies. I love Rocky. I did the thing, I did the shadow boxing and [inaudible]. The first thing I did when I went to Philly was run up those steps. Come on.
Maurice Cherry: Run up the steps.
Hannah Beachler: And I had the music on my iPhone when I was doing it. And I did the thing with my arms and I took a picture with the statute. I mean it's like he's part of the, Rocky is a part of American iconography.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: And so what am I going to do? And what I did was exactly what Ryan and I talked about. It's rocky but it's a different film. And we can still have fun with it. So I knew we wanted to make something that would stand alone, but then could be related to the others certainly that we wanted to have in. I worked a lot with Warner brothers and the Winkler's who were the original producers of the Rockies, all the Rockies. And just to ... and MGM, excuse me, MGM. But Warner Brothers was also on that film.
Hannah Beachler: But MGM is the studio that carried Rocky. And I got into it after a while. Once I started getting myself into this boxing, the culture of boxing, the people, the boxers themselves, the people that they keep around them. And then of course meeting, Sylvester Stallone and talking to him. Let me tell you something. This man remembers everything. Who is looking at the art wall? And he was talking and I'm standing there with him and he had a story for everything. All the Rocky pictures that I have up. And I think the essence of it was that feeling that we all got when Rocky wins. And the feeling when Rocky struggled. 'Cause we took the films one, two, three, four. And we jumped off of four, right.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: We didn't go five and six. So we wanted the grit of one. We wanted the really texture and tangibility and tactileness of the first round. 'Cause it got really slick there for awhile, right. And we wanted to keep it in that place of Rocky one. And as far as the look and the tone of the film, which I think we did, we wanted to Philly to be a character. We wanted Philly to be ...'cause that's where it started, right.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: And if we start the franchise over, we're going to start it where it started. And Ryan really wanted to show the dichotomy between the old Philly and the new Philly and how those two are coming together. And thereby, juxtaposing that against the relationship of Adonis and Rocky. And so we're telling the story of the city, but we're telling the story of these people in the same light. So I always had to keep my mind on that. But I had fun throwing in Easter eggs all over the place. And let me tell you something, not everybody has spotted every Easter egg yet.
Hannah Beachler: And it was really a dream working with Tessa Thompson. She was fabulous for her set. We saw it and we talked. I love her to death. We talked about her character. We brought some things in from Tesla's life into that set. That was important to her that she saw that was there and that was a lot of fun. And I found out later that they were ... this is how you know you did good. You do set for her apartment in cream and then ... and all this stuff we had when she's doing all the music with Michael and stuff worked. All that Pro Tools, Mac, all of the headphones and the little 808 and all that stuff all worked. And of course Ludwig was there, so Gordson. And he, Ludwig was like, "We've been coming here ever since the set has been done."
Hannah Beachler: And just hanging out and him and Ron and Brian's brother Keenan and Tessa and playing music and dancing and hanging out like it was it was really Bianca's apartment. And they loved it. And they're like, "It's so comfortable here. And Tessa was comfortable there. It was her apartment because they had been hanging out there and eating. And doing what they do. And I was like, that's it. That's why you feel peace and comfort when you see that. See and the color too, because I really ambered it out because of her skin tone but also because I wanted it to feel super soft and feminine against her hard exterior. And so yeah, you just have to kind of not get overwhelmed by that it is a Rocky film. And makes sure you're doing something that stands alone. But you always remember that yes, it is a Rocky film.
Hannah Beachler: 'Cause it was wild and I'm glad that that was, I did that with Ryan because we had a blast doing it. I always have a blast when we work with Ryan though.
Maurice Cherry: I think it's also a testament to your work that you created this apartment that ended up being something that people felt like was home to them in a way.
Hannah Beachler: Yeah. I, when ... and that was after Miles. But it was on Miles ahead that after we got done with his house, the 1975 version of Miles Davis's house, his nephew, I think it was his nephew and his son. Yeah. No. His nephew and his uncle maybe. There's two that were in his family. But I know one of them was his nephew. And they, Don was like, "They're going to walk in and look and see what they think." And I stood outside shaking like, oh my God, please look at me. You know what I mean? Did I do something horribly egregious? And he came out and he had tears in his eyes. And he said, "That's my uncle's house and I don't know how you did it, but that, he's like, down to the beer cans on the table."
Maurice Cherry: Wow.
Hannah Beachler: "That's my uncles house." He's like, "That's how I actually remember it when I was ten years old and I'd be there for the weekend after he had a party."
Maurice Cherry: Wow.
Hannah Beachler: And he was like, "You brought him back to me." And so that was a challenge to me to always be, to always do that.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: No matter how big the sets got, no matter how intricate they got, but to bring a feeling to it. Because that means more to me than some critic, "That's not where Miles Davis lived." Or whatever. I don't know if any critics said that, but to have him feel that when he walked into a space, meant everything to me. And so it just became part of the thing that I love about production design, is the feeling when someone walks on the set and actually feels it. It's like water for chocolate. You cry in the cake and everybody cries when they eat it.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: And that's what I want. I don't want everybody to cry though. I want to laugh in the cake. And have everybody ... sometimes I cry. So I want people to feel like what I'm feeling when I'm doing these things because I'm super emotional. And I always thought that that was a fault. And I do ... you have to learn to control that thing, but it also, it's what makes me, me. It's what makes my design me.
Maurice Cherry: I have to ask about Beyonce and lemonade. Please tell me how that all happens. Because-
Hannah Beachler: That's a funny story, because I had just gotten done with Moonlight.
Maurice Cherry: Okay.
Hannah Beachler: And I was back in New Orleans after that 'cause Moonlight was shot in Miami. And I was tired. It was a hard film and it was about two weeks before Christmas and I was like, I'm just gonna not do anything. And I get a phone call from somebody I don't even know. And they're like, "Hey, [Kaleel Joseph 00:25:42] gave us your name and [Chase Irving 00:01:00:44]. Would you ... Chase shot Black Klansman.
Hannah Beachler: And I had worked with chase before on some commercials. And would you consider ... he said, "Hey, call this girl. She's a designer. She ... we're doing a video for a pop star." That's what they said. And I said, a video? I said, yeah, I was like a music video. That's three days. And, I don't really, for three days, I don't really want to do that. And I don't know, pop star, I don't know who that is. And I don't really do videos, right. So I was like, no thank you for calling. Keep me in mind, la La. Hung up. And then probably a few days later I'm like, Oh, maybe I should've done that 'cause Christmas, right. And then I'm like, oh wow. And then about another week goes by and the phone rings and they're like, Hey, just check in. Even want to do this, with the pops, ... it's a big pop star.
Hannah Beachler: And I'm thinking in my head Taylor swift. Pop star, who is this? And I'm like, they called twice and usually when that happens, there's a reason. There's some universal something. I said, I'll do this. Not going to be great. Can you come down, meet with them in a week or whatever? And I was like, sure. Or in a few days, I think it happened right away. I don't even remember how quick it was after this phone call. But, so I go to the hotel and Kaleel's there, I meet with Kaleel and we're talking a little bit and he's going over what he's envisioning for some of the bigger beats. And I'm like, who is is this person? They're like, "Well lemonade is coming [inaudible 00:27:13]. They kept saying lemonade and I was like, okay. And I remember standing with my back to the door and looking at people who were looking at the door and they're like, "Lemonade's here." And the door opens in everybody's faces like fall off.
Hannah Beachler: You know what I mean? I was still very much like, I don't even know who this is. I turn around and it's Beyonce ... and then my face fell off. And I was like lemonade is Beyonce. She's not a pop star, she's the star.
Maurice Cherry: Right.
Hannah Beachler: What are you guys ... what, pop star? First of all, who would categorize her as pop? Really? I don't think so. And then I was like, and she's far beyond a star. I don't ... So that was crazy. And I know that I was staring at her face and 'cause you've only seen somebody two dimensionally right, forever. And here she is. And I'm like, this is why ... that's probably the most wild thing that's ever happened to me ever in my life. I had no idea. And it was like, okay, go time. We've got minutes to get this together, so go. And you have your moment and then you business. And she's, what can you say? That was ... I've worked with her again on her, on the run tour, her and Jay's on the, on the run tour. So I ... the [inaudible 01:03:39] in Jamaica and L.A. for that, with Malia actually, [inaudible 01:03:43]. And that was lovely. So lemonade was ... the thing too was I had only listened to two of the songs. I only got to hear two of the songs.
Maurice Cherry: Okay.
Hannah Beachler: And so, and I knew we were doing an unspecified amount of videos at that point. And then they were like, "Well, it's like a film. It's a small film and we want it to be the sort of a deconstruction of emotion." And it was really important to her to include aspects of Katrina, aspects of, and definitely once the texture to be New Orleans. It was new Orleans.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: And she has a great love and so does her [inaudible 01:04:21] who lives in New Orleans love for the city. As do most when they go and fall in love with it. And she wanted to bring that aspect that was this beautiful blackness, this beautiful culture that embraces blackness. And the fact that the community, the black community in New Orleans has overcome so much, starting from the beginning of New Orleans. And even though that New Orleans was ... we think about colonial time. Well, black people were there too and brought people in New Orleans were there. And the city, the music of the city, the parades of the city, the culture of the city, the food of the city and all of its glory. So she wanted all of that in there. And I did my best. And there was also a certain amount of freedom that she gained that was also a frightening to me because I was doing features and I had a script and there's other creatives that you sort of bounce ideas and brainstorm with.
Hannah Beachler: So it was very much a mish mash of everybody. And not that she didn't really have specific things that she wanted done, but, or the envision fo the short film. But she also was like, yeah. Just go. What do you feel like? How do you, how would you deconstruct this?
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: And that froze me. And I can remember standing on the set, I forget. I think it was on my, one of the sets and just frozen. Just I couldn't do anything. They're gonna shoot with, at any moment. And there's nothing on the set. And I'm just sitting there like I can't. And that's when I ... and I had a little bit of a panic attack and then I pulled it together. And I said to myself, if you're as good as you think you are, then this shouldn't be as hard as you're making it.
Hannah Beachler: You have to let go and be okay with what you do, because you're gonna do it from your heart. And that was a moment of me taking control of a certain amount of creativity, of my own creativity as well. So that's what that gave me. And she works, man. She's gracious and lovely and she doesn't stop and she works and you want to keep up with her and you want to do right by her and you want to give her everything you, she needs and wants and any of her desires. And 'cause she is that person. She impresses everybody. So it was really a fantastic experience.
Maurice Cherry: I remember when lemonade came out and certainly I just watching, I think people's reactions on Twitter specifically from black women that were ... there was just something about lemonade that was so familiar and personal. And in a way like a biography because it's going through this chronicle of what I think maybe at the time we assumed was happening in Beyonce's life. I don't recall if news about this had came out at the time lemonade did, but it's also in the same way, like the hero's journey through grief and infidelity and you're going from something familiar into something new. And then at the end with ... and I don't know if the video order was intentional with how ... I feel like lemonade began in water and ended in water. Particularly when Beyonce descends into the water on top of the cop car. I don't know, like a baptism of sorts.
Hannah Beachler: Yep.
Maurice Cherry: Lemonade is so good. Oh my God. [inaudible 01:08:14].
Hannah Beachler: Yeah. It is. And it was like, when we were talking about the portion, hope I believe is what that portion was called with all the women in the kitchen. And that was the slave quarter kitchen 'cause we were on plantation. That was [inaudible 01:08:31] I believe. And I sat in that building 'cause it's separate from the actual plantation. And there was nobody in there and there was nothing in it except for the fireplace. And there was a kettle and there was, the fire was going at that point. But it was just me and the kettle and the, and I thought ... And there was a little hook that came out that you put the kettle on in the fire, right. 'Cause it's original. It's the real, it's the original, the kitchen. The original kitchen for the plantation. And I thought to myself, oh this is so grim.
Hannah Beachler: You know what I mean? And I remember talking at that point I was over writing ... I walked over by the trailers and she' had come out for a minute. She was trying on some wardrobe and she said, "It's like alchemy." Which I have tattooed on the back of my hand. It's alchemy. She's like, "These women are creating and educating themselves on healing through different spices, through different ... they're learning science through food and through all these other ways that that's how they're empowering themselves." She's said, "Imagine a plantation in the 1800's, a secret plantation, owned by ... the head of the plantation was a black elder woman. And then all of the girls there were of their own agency and we're educating, being educating and everything.
Hannah Beachler: ... And we're educating, being education and everything. Sciences, arts, humanities, weaponry, and we really created all of that at the plantation as well. You don't see all of it but the paper stage is something that I took from colonizers, really. Because, that's what it was. Paper doll houses were only ... Victorian paper doll houses were only for the aristocracy. I turned that whole stage into a paper doll house because to sort of shift the ownership of who owned the plantation, right? I went back into that kitchen, man, and I said to the decorator, "Get everything. Get everything."
Hannah Beachler: I can remember taking ... She brought this bundle of apples, and my mom used to take an apple, tie a piece of twine around the stem, and tie it around the little hook in the fire and let it sit over the fire so it cooks until it starts to boil and bubble. And then, she'd pour brown sugar on it. That would be our treat. I took an apple and I just cooked it. I said, "This isn't a slave kitchen. This is science. This is education. This is empowerment." That's what I'm going to make it. That's the scene with all of the spices, and all of the food, and all of the women bustling around.
Hannah Beachler: It just ended up being so beautiful. We lit candles everywhere and we built this whole garden that they're in. The paper stage was right there and we did the dining hall. Everything was just fantastic. It was all about her wanting to change that narrative of what a plantation meant and what it could have been, in the same way, a little bit, that we did with [inaudible 01:12:02].
Maurice Cherry: Wow. Plantation as laboratory. That's some afro-futuristic shit right there. That is ... I'm going to be dwelling on that for a minute. Absolutely. Before Lemonade, you said you were working on Moonlight. I hear that there were lots of budgetary constraints in terms of ... I think it was $1 million, $1.1 millions for the budget. Not a lot, and that it was shot very quickly. But then, after Lemonade, you go on to do Black Panther, which is this huge production, blockbuster film, multimillion dollar budget. What were some new challenges that presented themselves, now that you had this ... You know the saying, "More money more problems."
Hannah Beachler: Yeah.
Maurice Cherry: What were the new challenges that presented themselves now that you had this increase in everything?
Hannah Beachler: You know, I think ... It is that a little bit. "More money more problems." I think it was now, everything was bigger, and even though you felt like ... I think, in my mind, the fantasy was, "I have all this time and all this money. I can do whatever. Whoo." It's really none of that. You have, now everything you're doing is bigger, so you don't have any time and certainly don't have enough money, even though you feel like you have enough money. It's all very relative, you know?
Maurice Cherry: Okay.
Hannah Beachler: In a weird way. I think the actual challenge, for me, was fear. It was fear. It was fear that I was going to misrepresent. It was fear of my own bias, my own unknown bias that had been drilled down into me that I didn't even know was there that kept coming up, and struggling with that, struggling with doing right by the culture. Let's be clear. Knew, it has to be right, and I cannot rest, sleep, eat, whatever it takes, until I know that this is what it's supposed to be, and mostly, until I get Ryan's blessing on every single set, and every single everything. I leaned on him a lot, and I leaned on Marvel a lot. I leaned on Victoria Alonso to keep me moving, because it can be overwhelming. I think, dealing with a crew that big was intimidating at first.
Hannah Beachler: I learned so much about if you don't ask for it, you're not going to get it. Just ask. It doesn't matter. Don't worry about being liked by people. But, this has to be right, and if that means I go down in flames, darn it, I'm going to have the black community look at this and be proud. That was what it was for me. We wanted to make something good, and I wanted to make people proud to be of their African heritage, of their African selves, you know? And how that has ... What that means being African American, and all of the things I've talked about in the last long while, but those were the challenges that came with this specific film.
Hannah Beachler: Now, because I never thought of myself as doing a [inaudible 01:15:21] movie, honestly, and certainly not a superhero movie. That's another thing I love about Ryan. He's always taking me on these films that I would never see myself doing. And he's always doing stuff that you would never think anybody would do. You know? What he does with it is amazing. So, here I'm on this comic book superhero movie.
Hannah Beachler: Look, my son got me way up to speed real quick, and then I got myself up to speed, Black Panther's history and canon. I made sure that I paid homage to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and to all the other artists that worked on Black Panther throughout the years, in the '70s and the '80s, and Panther's Rage, and then of course Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze, who was the artist for his comics. So, we use all of them as source, and I made sure to keep certain things from Kirby like some of the shapes of the buildings that were some iconic shapes that he had in his Wakanda.
Hannah Beachler: The challenges were more internal than anything, because I can handle a budget and I can handle designing something, but when you've got a crew at times of 200, 300, 400, 500 people ... Just in the office it was 40 people, eight art directors and 15 illustrators, eight, nine set designers. And then, we had modelers and, you know, then the set dec department, [you add 01:16:59] departments onto them. And then, there was props department and they were a big department. I was working with VFX and special effects, all at the same time. We were having big sets go up, and I'm traveling around the world, having meetings in South Africa with L.A. about Warrior Falls.
Hannah Beachler: It was sort of that. It was the pace. It was keeping up, and it was not ever falling down, and just knowing ... You know, I just had to keep going. When it was over, you mourn that a little bit because you created a family and you've done something at 1000% every single day for 14 months, and then one day it just stops. Your adrenaline is like, "Boom." It hits the floor. I'd lost a ton of weight. I had stressed out a little bit too. Those things were the challenges for me, not so much handling this ginormous budget. On something like that, you've got people for everything. There were people handling that budget for me.
Hannah Beachler: I was very much in the position where I could create, be more on the creative side. I spent more time with Ryan on Panther than I think I did on any other movie, because I had such a big crew that I could do that. I would say those are some of the ... That's really what the challenge was on Panther.
Maurice Cherry: And now, Black Panther is part of ... It's part of the culture. Of course, you won an Oscar for it. Congratulations.
Hannah Beachler: Thank you very much.
Maurice Cherry: Your work is in the National Museum of African American History and Culture. That surprised me when I first went. I was not expecting to see as much Black Panther in there as I did. I was like, "Wow, this is something." How does it feel when you see your work ... I mean, given what you've just said, how does it feel now to see your work received with such broad acceptance and such a monumental impact?
Hannah Beachler: It's crazy. I always said to myself, honestly, the only type of success and the only type of fame, air quotes, that I would ever want is to be remembered as someone who created a world. I said that to myself years ago, years ago. The fact that the reality has exceeded the dream is hard to process in real time sometimes, because it's like, you don't really think deep down ... At least, I didn't think deep down that I would ever do anything like that. I always thought, maybe in the back of my head, but you keep it as a little tiny seed in the back of your head, and then when it starts to happen, your whole self just kind of goes, "What is going on?" But, I'm tickled by it. I'm proud of it. I'm glad that I was someone who can make a change or start a conversation about the changes, being the first black person to be nominated and win an Oscar in my category. That's big, you know? And I always said, "I just don't want to knock the ceiling down. I want to take out the whole structure."
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: That's success to me. I want to keep doing it, and I want to help others do it because I've now knocked the wall down and I need these other people now to come and walk through. We need to create a wall of people. It is really wild. It's hard to ... You know what I mean? Maybe in a year, or something, I'll look back, but it's sort of hard to form in your head. I can't ever rest on my laurels. I can never become complacent, and I will not. I want to keep pushing because there still is change to happen. Part of me feels like if I stop for a moment and enjoy this, that I'm losing sight of something. It's very hard for me to ... I was very hard for me to be all, "Yay." You know what I mean?
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: I felt like there's more work to be done. I'm ready to keep doing the work, doing the work. The work, the work, the work. I am certainly honored and humbled at everything that has happened because of Panther and all of the other things that I've done as well. The recognition from the industry has been so humbling to me, by people who I have admired my entire life, to come up to me and tell me how moved they were by my work. It's crazy. I'm talking to people who have been doing this for 30 years, and have changed so much about the industry and about the way we see film, telling me that.
Hannah Beachler: It's very humbling. It's very humbling, and it's almost maybe I'm a little embarrassed because I feel, "Do I deserve it, really?" Because, I feel like I have so much more to go, but that happened and it was because of the team that I had and because Ryan and Marvel, at the end of the day for that, and all the hard working people that have worked with me on all these films. I just ... You know what I mean? I'm good at steering a ship.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah.
Hannah Beachler: I'm good at steering a ship, and I'm good at envisioning things, and maybe some call it hallucinating. It's hard. The African American Museum, when I was told about it, I was just like, "Oh man. That's ..." So, yeah. I'm honored and I'm humbled every single day. I'm honored and humbled. One little girl reached out to me and told me she put, "I did my best and my best is good enough," on her wall. That's as humbling and I'm as honored at something like that as well. I realize that that moment was bigger than anything that I could ever do, was that moment.
Maurice Cherry: What is your life like now, after you've gotten the Oscar?
Hannah Beachler: Busy. But, good. It's good to be busy. I found that I'm doing a lot of speaking too, which I love. I'm going to a lot of elementary schools and middle schools and high schools and colleges, and talking to people and kids, and young men and women. I was at Morehouse talking to their C-STEM group that were graduating.
Maurice Cherry: Nice.
Hannah Beachler: Fantastic group of guys, talented. Just lovely. I got to meet Julie Dash. She came to one of the little moments that we had. We had some lunch. Doing a lot of stuff like that and just reaching out to the community and talking to people. I think, you can write a check and go about your business, but when you can give your time, I think that means even more. I'll still write the check but I've got to give my time as well, for people to know that they can do this too, you know, and go through any amount of struggles in their life and still come out on this side of things.
Hannah Beachler: I was a single mom, and before I was a single mom, I had a very bad drug habit. That was one of those times where I could have not made it out of that. I, because of perseverance, did. I had a son later and was a single mom. That made me strong. At that point is when I went back to school. That's what my life has been like after seeking out ways that I can encourage and uplift the next generation to don't stop because you feel like it's hard. Don't stop because you feel like your circumstances aren't going to allow you to do something. That's not true at all and don't believe somebody if they tell you that. If you keep pushing ... You know, my dad always said, if you work hard you can have whatever you want. It is true. It's hard and it sucks sometimes, but it's true. That's what I want to keep pushing and keep talking to the kids.
Hannah Beachler: And then, I've been working. I've been doing other stuff outside of the art that I do, the filmmaking that I do, other types of art, photography and sort of looking into some other things that I can't really say. That's why I'm like, "Fires in the coals." You know, "Coals in the whatever." But, I can't really say too much about it, but some really exciting things that are designing outside of film making.
Maurice Cherry: Okay.
Hannah Beachler: These opportunities to sort of work as ... Not that I'm not an artist. Every film maker is an artist, but doing more artisan stuff, I would say. That's really cool. I'm getting into some jewelry design and whatnot so I can say that a little bit.
Maurice Cherry: Nice, okay.
Hannah Beachler: Yeah. Bringing me back to my little bit of fashion, if you will.
Maurice Cherry: Got you.
Hannah Beachler: Of course, there's projects coming up that I can't talk about. Of course, there's Black Panther 2 that I'll certainly be doing. Another project that we're trying to work out for me to be on that would be with Lucas Film.
Maurice Cherry: Did you say Lucas Film? You kind of snuck that in there.
Hannah Beachler: Didn't I?
Maurice Cherry: Okay, all right.
Hannah Beachler: I dropped it down, didn't I? Yeah, I snuck that in there real quick. That's all I can say, though. I was like, "I've got to give something up." That's about as much as I can say.
Maurice Cherry: Okay, well, I appreciate it.
Hannah Beachler: I hope that works out. Yeah, that would be a really big deal, a really big thing that would happen if that happened. So, I've got my fingers crossed, and it's something I really, really want to do, I think. I feel that my obligation is also to Black Panther 2 so let's hope the schedules work out. And then, I'm open. I really want to do a period piece, like a real gritty, [inaudible 01:27:32] period piece I want to get my fingers into, you know?
Hannah Beachler: I want to continue to work with black filmmakers. That's where I'm most at home and most comfortable. I don't want to feel like ... That doesn't mean that I don't want to work with other directors, but I think that that's sort of, for me right now ... I feel like we're always talking about, you know ... I talk to Ava a lot. She is a huge mentor. The importance of us telling our stories, I think that's where I think I'm needed right now the most. It's to tell the stories the way that they need to be told. I mean, you look at When They See Us, it just broke everything.
Maurice Cherry: Yeah, absolutely.
Hannah Beachler: Broke everything. It changed everything because we finally were telling our story the way it should be told, and I feel like there's a protection there inside of me. Again, that does not mean that I don't want to work ... I mean, I would love to work with the Coen Brothers. Call me. I would love to work with Denis Villenieve. There are filmmakers out there that I want to work with and cinematographers that I want to work with. [inaudible 01:28:46], call me. I always drop hints about, you know ... Whenever I try to do an interview [inaudible 01:28:52], that I want to work with, that an important [crosstalk 01:28:56] of his. That's what I also know, but I really believe that there's a need, and I need to be in a certain place. I'm just kind of following what the universe is telling me to do, and that's where it's taking me. That's what I'm doing.
Hannah Beachler: I just wouldn't tell things that are not just beautiful stories but also important stories to whatever. I don't ... Wong Kar-wai, give me a call, because I know he's doing another film, but I think it's already underway. Spike Lee. I already went up to Spike and told him. I was like, "So, when are you going to give me a call, Spike? I mean, I get it, when?" He works on other projects too, every once in a while, I know. So, anyway. He was like, "I'll call you." He just looked at me and kind of gave me a wave like, "I'll call you, just come on." I was like, "All right. All right."
Hannah Beachler: I just feel like everything is open, and I'm just going to let myself go where I feel ... And, that's kind of how I did things before. I wasn't so calculated. I kind of just went where I felt, and I'm going to keep doing that. I lead with my emotions, so I'm going to continue to do that. I do feel like ... And, I want to direct. Look, I'm not going to lie about that either. That might be in the works.
Maurice Cherry: Okay.
Hannah Beachler: Okay? That's a real thing.
Maurice Cherry: Nice.
Hannah Beachler: And, I have been looking at scripts here and there for directing, and there are good people that support me in that. I would say three years down the road, which would get me through a couple of films that I really want to be doing. I will look to at least try and begin. I've got some really great people that I can call and ask questions, right?
Maurice Cherry: That's true.
Hannah Beachler: So, yeah. That's sort of what I see and what I've been up to, and what I see coming in the future is just trying to embrace all of the goodness that came from Panther to sort of shine a light on the things that need to be seen, and to lift up next generation, and bring them into the fold. And, empower women in this and stand strong even though I'm scared to death to do it. Sometimes, you do, you've got to stand strong and fight for the things you believe in, and that's when it comes to hiring a crew, to picking the films that you want to do.
Maurice Cherry: I have just a couple more questions. Specifically, I want to ask this one because I feel it's probably really important for people that are listening. Sela Lewis, who ... She's been on the show before. She's worked with Revision Path, et cetera. She said she met you last year at UX Week in San Francisco, and said that she was just blown away by your intensity. She says that she's been described as someone that is also passionate and intense. She doesn't believe that you can do this halfway, you have to go all in, in terms of your work. She wanted to know, how do you surround yourself with people who support your passion and intensity without being intimidated?
Hannah Beachler: I pick secure people.
Maurice Cherry: Okay.
Hannah Beachler: You know, like Ryan, you know what I mean? He was the first person that just let me be that way. He was fine. You know what I mean? He embraced that. And, when I saw him embracing this intense part of me, and very passionate part of me, and emotional part, as you can see through this interview. Probably almost started crying four times. He embraced it. He sort of said to me, "That's not a flaw. That's a benefit. That's an advantage and that's how you should see it."
Hannah Beachler: That was the first time I kind of thought, "Oh, okay, I've always thought of it as a flaw." But, he saw it from the other side of the building. See how I brought that back? That's what Ryan does, so all of a sudden I could see it from that side. That's how I learned how to appreciate the different perspective, in that way too. I'm not ... These things aren't flaws. These things are part of me, and they're beneficial, and they're advantages to who I am. It's who I am. So, I kind of started to understand, if you don't want all of this, then maybe we shouldn't be working together, because I can only be me. I'm not going to do right by anything if I'm pretending to be something else. I'm not going to be telling the truth. It's like going to the psychologist and lying about everything. What's the point? I've got to show up as myself in order to do the thing that I do. When I show up as myself, you get Fruitvale, you get Moonlight, you get Creed, you get Lemonade, you get Black Panther.
Maurice Cherry: You get black excellence.
Hannah Beachler: And, hopefully you get ... Right. Hopefully you get, you know, Dark Water. That's when I'm me. That's when people allow me to be me. I think that now that I'm not afraid to mask that and tamp it down like it's a flaw, the people who are attracted to that type of thing are the people that are around me.
Maurice Cherry: How do you stay in touch with your peers as you move along in your career?
Hannah Beachler: Oh, we talk all the time. The Fruitvale Station family is still a family.
Maurice Cherry: Okay.
Hannah Beachler: We are very much a part of each other's lives, like on the daily. Ryan created a family, and we have stayed that way. That moment, that Fruitvale moment, will live forever within all of us. Rachel, I just talked to her the other day. I just talked to Ryan the other day. When I was at his baby shower, that Ludde and his wife was up there. [inaudible 01:35:00] Couldn't be there, but she was up there. We hung out. And, Ryan's wife. You know, we're just family. Same thing happened on Creed. And, Antoinette Messam was the costume designer. She's a really good friend of mine. She's actually probably having dinner tonight. We just keep up with what each other's doing. We talk about projects that are out there. If I feel like I need to talk to Ryan about anything, I call him. Same with Rachel. They're the nearest and dearest people to me.
Hannah Beachler: You know what it reminds me of? And, I've been doing this with the three of us, specifically me, Rachel, and Ryan. Ludwig's so elusive sometimes. He's not always around but I take a picture of us every time we're together, the three of us. I have these pictures from when we were babies on Fruitvale Station to when we rapped Black Panther. We look like completely different people. It's important that you find your tribe, if you will, and you stick together.
Hannah Beachler: It reminds me of the picture of the original Saturday Night Live group before they were on Saturday Night Live, when they were working the comedy shows and they're all sitting on a bench in New York. It was years before Saturday Night Live. Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Murray I think was in the picture. I can't remember. There was two other people in the picture. They look like children, and then it's 20 years later, the same picture. I feel like that was us on Fruitvale. We were just babies. We didn't know what we were kind of getting ourselves into, and we just wanted to make this really intense, important film. We were all very passionate and we were working 22 hour days. Rachel and I would hold each other up when we saw each other. You go through something like that with people. Then, you have Ryan, who is your leader. He leads in a way that can't be rivaled by anybody. He creates this atmosphere of equality and equity, and peace and creativity. It's beautiful.
Hannah Beachler: So, we've all just stayed in each other's lives. I met people over the years working that I still talk to all the time. You just want to keep up with people. In this business it's really hard because now, it's like Rachel was nominated last year and I was nominated this year. It's always like, "Hey, maybe your assistant can call my assistant and we can maybe get lunch. Because, I'm going to be in this." I'll call Rachel and be like, "What country are you in?" She's like, "Ukraine." I'm like, "I'm in Jamaica. What time is it where you are?" She's like, "1:00." I'm like, "Okay. I just got done. We just wrapped. It's like 4:00." It's hard to keep up because we're all over the place and we're all in different ... You know, Ryan's up in Oakland and Rachel's in L.A., Antoinette's in L.A. I'm in New Orleans. But, we do, because eventually we all come back together and we create.
Maurice Cherry: Where ... I mean, I know you've talked about these future projects. If you could see yourself, I don't know, 10, 15 years in the future, what kind of work would you want to be doing?
Hannah Beachler: I want to be the head of a development company or production company.
Maurice Cherry: Nice.
Hannah Beachler: That's pretty specific, isn't it? I rolled that out like, "Okay, so, show me the receipt." All of a sudden it's Jerry Maguire. "Show me the receipt." No, I really want to develop young people work. I want to help garden, if you will. I think by then ... I will always be a production designer, but I would love to write and direct. I would love to have a production company. I would love to have a development company. I would love to have a first-look deal for my crew of young directors and writers. I would like to help shape them and move them in directions that they want to go, challenge them to what their work is.
Hannah Beachler: I remember talking to this one young man, and he was saying to me, he was like, "I want to tell stories about all these things that are going on in the world right now." He's like, "I want to tell stories about migrant people at the border. I want to tell stories about the injustices of non-black people of color and black people in America. I want to tell all of these stories." He's like, "You know, I came from this small village in Guatemala, and we trucked our way." He's telling me his story, right? After he tells me this whole story I looked at him and said, "You need to tell your story." He just looked at me and cried. I was like, "Son, you need to tell your story. I want to hear your story. That's how I start to understand. You're going to bring an understanding to me with just the journey that you had to take from Guatemala to D.C. That right there is a movie."
Maurice Cherry: Nice.
Hannah Beachler: Write that. He emailed me not too long ago, "I wrote that." I want to do more of that. I want to recognize greatness. I want to pull it out of people. I do recognize greatness and I want to continue to pull it out of people. I want to lift that up, because we need great people in this world right now. That's what's so ... You know, that's where I want to be in 10 or 15 years. I want the world to be here in 10 or 15 years. I hope I can be a part of that. I'm working really hard to use the small platform that I have to try to lift people up, and know that questioning and challenging is part of our journey, and that the only thing that matters isn't some slick piece of technology but the people. We will not have a future without people.
Hannah Beachler: Everybody's talking about these futuristic cities and dah, dah. The one thing you saw in Wakanda is people. The way you can see, in Elon Musk's highway tunnels, are people. What you don't see in Google Cities, when you look at them, are people, because they don't even put people into their [comps 01:41:20], man. It's like, "Where are the people?" That's my whole thing. My motto is that we have forgotten. Instead of coming together, we want to dominate one way or the other. It's like, no, we all just need to come together because that's how we survive. If we can't do it, we won't.
Hannah Beachler: It starts by understanding. It starts my me changing, because if I can't change myself, I can't help change anybody else. There's so many things still yet I have to learn, so yeah, I see myself in that capacity, hopefully in a way where I have the power to actually green light something.
Maurice Cherry: Wow. Just to kind of wrap things up here, Hannah. I mean, we've talked about-
Hannah Beachler: I'm going to say something real quick.
Maurice Cherry: No, go ahead.
Hannah Beachler: Do you think I'm intense? If I'm a little intense ... Has it been intense? You can tell me the truth.
Maurice Cherry: No, no. I think this is great. This is absolutely great. No, this is great.
Hannah Beachler: Okay.
Maurice Cherry: I was actually just going to wrap up the interview because I know we've been going for a while.
Hannah Beachler: Okay. We're good.
Maurice Cherry: Well, just to wrap things up here, where can our audience find out ... I mean, aside from just going to the movies, but where can our audience find out more about you and your work and everything online?
Hannah Beachler: You know, you can go to my website, hannahbeachler.com, and you can go to @chinchilla1970 on Twitter, because I often kind of say where I'm at and what I'm doing, and announce projects and things in that way. You can always go to, also, ddatalent.com and they have a little section where you can see what I'm up to.
Maurice Cherry: All right. Sounds good. Well, Hannah Beachler. I mean, for our 300th episode, I could not think of anyone more prolific to have on, especially given ... I mean, just so much of what you've done with ... Not even just Black Panther. I feel like Black Panther, maybe for a large amount of people, was in a way an introduction to just how much work you've done, but I think this interview certainly shows that you've got more than skin in the game. You are in it to win it 110%. I mean, from your early work up to now, I can just feel the drive, and the passion, and the emotion for this work that you do. I just hope that we keep seeing it for years and years now into the future, and that what you do inspires the next generation. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it.
Hannah Beachler: Thank you, so much for having me, Maurice. I think this is fantastic and I really appreciate you talking to me today.