Sundance 2013: Alicia Keys Talks Composing 'The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete' (Video)
Director George Tillman, Jr. also discusses the strange -- and unintentional -- coincidence of casting "American Idol" alums Jennifer Hudson and Jordin Sparks in his film.
For a film without a music-heavy theme, George Tillman, Jr.'s The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete has a respectable trio of music industry heavyweights behind it.
Alicia Keys served as an executive producer and the composer for the film, working tirelessly -- she was also on tour promoting her Girl on Fire album -- to create a "raw and cool" vibe for the drama. In front of the camera, starring as two drug addicted mothers who are removed from their homes by authorities -- requiring more acting chops than vocal skills -- are American Idol alums Jennifer Hudson and Jordin Sparks.
"I didn't really realize that till later," Tillman told The Hollywood Reporter of casting former Idol contestants (Hudson came in seventh place in 2004, while a 17-year-old Sparks won the competition in 2007). "What I liked about it is they came not as singers or musicians, but they came as actresses supporting the story."
As the film's composer, Keys was deeply involved in setting the tone of the film.
"This [experience] was particularly different because I was on the road. I would send George ideas, themes, thoughts, literally from a voice recorder that I emailed to him," Keys said. "Actually, that was kind of raw and cool and because this film has that raw cool element to it, I think it gave us the potential to start our dialogue from that."
Tillman and Keys were joined in THR's video lounge by newcomer Skylan Brooks, who recalled meeting Keys for the first time while he was still in character as Mister. "In the back of my head I was like, 'aw, man, can't I just get out of character for a minute?'" he said with a smile.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci