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‘Outlaw Posse’ Interview: Mario and Mandela Van Peebles

by Xtreme HD IPTV

Opening in theaters on March 1st is the new Western ‘Outlaw Posse’ from writer and director Mario Van Peebles (‘New Jack City,’ ‘Posse’), which stars Van Peebles, his son Mandela Van Peebles (‘Jigsaw’), John Carroll Lynch (‘The Founder’), William Mapother (‘In the Bedroom’), Jake Manley (‘A Dog’s Journey’), Amber Reign Smith (‘Open’), Allen Payne (‘New Jack City’), Cedric the Entertainer (‘Barbershop’), Edward James Olmos (‘Blade Runner‘), and Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg (‘Ghost’).

Mario Van Peebles and Mandela Van Peebles in 'Outlaw Posse.'

(L to R) Mario Van Peebles and Mandela Van Peebles in ‘Outlaw Posse.’ Photo: Quiver Distribution.

Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Mario Van Peebles and Mandela Van Peebles about their new Western, developing the screenplay, returning to the genre, if it is a sequel to Van Peebles’ 1993 movie ‘Posse,’ playing father and son on screen, working together on set, putting together the terrific cast, preparing for their roles, and if Allen Payne’s final line is a ‘New Jack City’ Easter egg.

You can read the full interview below of click on the video player above to watch our interviews with Mario and Mandela Van Peebles, as well as John Carroll Lynch, William Mapother, Jake Manley, and Amber Reign Smith.

Mario Van Peebles and Melvin Van Peebles in 1993's 'Posse.'

(L to R) Mario Van Peebles and Melvin Van Peebles in 1993’s ‘Posse.’ Photo: Quiver Distribution.

Moviefone: To begin with, Mario, can you talk about returning to the Western genre with ‘Outlaw Posse,’ and do you consider it just a companion piece or an unofficial sequel to 1993’s ‘Posse’?

Mario Van Peebles: I would say companion. Like you saw Clint Eastwood in multiple spaghetti Westerns, this one has its own thing. Now, let me just say this, when I did ‘Posse’ 30 years ago, my first Western, my dad (Melvin Van Peebles) was around, and my son wasn’t born yet. When I did ‘Outlaw Posse’ recently, my dad wasn’t around, and here Mandela is. When I wrote the script, I was thinking about that Johnny Cash song, ‘A Boy Named Sue,’ about a boy who has got a challenging relationship with his pop. I thought, “Who better to play my onscreen son than Mandela here?” So, here we are again.

Mario Van Peebles and Mandela Van Peebles in 'Outlaw Posse.'

(L to R) Mario Van Peebles and Mandela Van Peebles in ‘Outlaw Posse.’ Photo: Quiver Distribution.

MF: Mandela, what was it like for you to be directed by your father?

Mandela Van Peebles: It was a lot of fun. We have a relationship where we get to wear many different hats, and this time around, we got to wear cowboy hats, ride horses, and basically enjoy life in Montana together. So, the experience was great. We’ve been father-son on set before, where he’s directed. We’ve been father and son where we’ve both been acting. This was one of the ones where we got to do both together, and that’s a lot of fun. The stunts, doing that was also a blast, because it’s an indie. So, a lot of the effects, a lot of the things you see on screen were as practical as can be. ‘Outlaw Posse,’ it’s a Western, but the genre is very much still relevant to what’s going on today, as far as the issues we’re touching on in the film.

Mario Van Peebles in 'Outlaw Posse.'

Mario Van Peebles in ‘Outlaw Posse.’ Photo: Quiver Distribution.

MF: Mario, can you talk about developing the screenplay and the themes that you wanted to explore as a director?

Mario Van Peebles: One of every three cowboys was Black. The very named cowboy, they gave to Black guys as sort of a derogatory term, and they used to give them the dirty jobs. They said, “Take care of the horses, boy. Take care of the cow, boy. Where’d those cowboys go?” The white guys liked being called Rough Riders, which is a cool name. But once Hollywood started to glorify cowboys, then they brought in white actors to play them and even to play Native Americans. So, the Westerns we grew up on were more whitewashed than the reality of what the West was. Before women could vote, you had Stagecoach Mary, who’s a badass sister with a rifle and a stagecoach and a deal with the US Postal Service. She’s played by Whoopi Goldberg and played well. At the end, you go, “Wow, she looks like the real Stagecoach Mary.” So not only do you see the real diversity of the West, but you see the pictures of the real people that we’re portraying at the end. I always love that, truth is stranger than fiction, right? When I did ‘Heartbreak Ridge’ with Clint Eastwood, he talked about the incredible diversity, which is why, in ‘Unforgiven,’ he put Morgan Freeman right there, because that was the ratio of cowboys. It’s fun to get it out there and say, “This is more the reality than what we’ve been seeing, and we can learn from it.” As the French say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Mandela Van Peebles, Mario Van Peebles and Amber Reign Smith in 'Outlaw Posse.'

(L to R) Mandela Van Peebles, Mario Van Peebles and Amber Reign Smith in ‘Outlaw Posse.’ Photo: Quiver Distribution.

MF: Mario, can you talk about what it means to you personally to have had this opportunity to work with your son, as well as putting together the rest of the talented cast?

Mario Van Peebles: Well, working with him is fun. It’s a dream come true. We wrestle, we play, we laugh, we agree sometimes, we disagree sometimes, but I think, when I’m directing him, he knows that it’s coming from a place of love. Because when you hit the ground running, you want to know that everyone knows their part. Well, one thing I know, he knows how to play my son and I know how to play his dad. So, we’ve been practicing that for a few years. But also, what I try to do as a director is I like to give the foot rub I want to get. What does that mean? That means that John Carroll Lynch is going to get a great introduction as the big guy with the little bird. No animal’s ever lied to him yet. Whoopi Goldberg’s going to great and M. Emmett Walsh and Neal McDonough. So, you’re going to get great actors in even just cameo roles that are going to come in. I like to look at an actor and know that they know way more than they need for that character, that there is an intelligence there that I get. I think, when you’re that kind of filmmaker, and you say, “My own ego can get out of the way, because I don’t care about that. I want the movie to be great. If you can bring some great secret sauce and we can collectively bring the generosity, let’s do that and let’s get in the saddle and make it happen.”

Related Article: Actor Neal McDonough Talks New Action Movie ‘Boon’

Mandela Van Peebles in 'Outlaw Posse.'

Mandela Van Peebles in ‘Outlaw Posse.’ Photo: Quiver Distribution.

MF: Mandela, can you talk about preparing for this role?

Mandela Van Peebles: Yeah, the prep work was fun. We spent, what was it, around two months, just being in that environment, being in the wardrobe, seeing that landscape and that just puts you in the head space to make a Western. The wranglers, who helped us out, they were great and professional. We got plenty of time to basically, I like to call it free riding, but practicing. I got to ride horses as much as I wanted, and that’s a win for me. I had a great time. The stunts were fun. We did our own stunts. It was all kind of great stuff. Shooting a lot of the old guns is very different than modern guns.

Allen Payne in 'New Jack City.'

(Center) Allen Payne in ‘New Jack City.’ Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures.

MF: Finally, Mario, actor Allen Payne’s last line in ‘Outlaw Posse’ is a callback to his famous line from ‘New Jack City,’ “Am I my brother’s keeper.” Was that line originally in the script, or was it a ‘New Jack City’ Easter egg that was improvised on set?

Mario Van Peebles: Totally. No one’s gotten that yet, but there’s a lot of things that, if you watch this movie, there’s some layers, even from the Native American brothers and sisters that are in this movie. But yeah, when I brought Allen in and we talked about that, I was like, because what we were saying is that, in that tunnel, when we all dropped the peyote, and again, in Westerns, you don’t typically see that, but I was like, “Oh, I always loved that scene in ‘Easy Rider,’ where they get stoned, and you see this different side of them.” So, Allen Payne’s character sees his mother alive, and his mother said to him as a kid, “A Black man will never get any respect, unless he’s got money, unless he’s got gold.” So, he has this whole thing, and yet, Chief has respect from a multiracial group of people, which is kind of a mindblower to him. Then, he’s like, “But you’re supposed to be my keeper.” So, Allen and I were unpacking that character and saying, “Let’s bring these levels.” So, I’m glad you noticed that.

“When the laws are unjust, the just are outlaws.”

R1 hr 48 minMar 1st, 2024

Showtimes & Tickets

1908. Chief returns from years of hiding in Mexico to claim stolen reparations gold hidden in the hills of Montana but is chased by Angel, whose rationale to the… Read the Plot

What is the Plot of ‘Outlaw Posse’?

In 1908, Chief (Mario Van Peebles) returns from years of hiding in Mexico to claim stolen gold hidden in the hills of Montana. In his quest, he reunites an ensemble of fresh & familiar faces – together they fight off Angel (William Mapother), whose rationale to the gold leaves a trail of deception and dead bodies.

Who is in the Cast of ‘Outlaw Posse’?

  • Mario Van Peebles as Chief
  • Mandela Van Peebles as Decker
  • Whoopi Goldberg as Stagecoach Mary
  • Cedric the Entertainer as Horatio
  • Edward James Olmos as Ossie
  • John Carroll Lynch as Carson
  • William Mapother as Angel
  • Allen Payne as Jeremiah
  • Amber Reign Smith as Queeny
  • Jake Manley as Southpaw
  • M. Emmet Walsh (‘Fletch‘) as Catfish
  • Cam Gigandet (‘Twilight‘) as Caprice
  • Neal McDonough (‘Minority Report‘) as Bart
  • D.C. Young Fly (‘Candy Cane Lane‘) as Spooky
'Outlaw Posse' opens in theaters on March 1st.

‘Outlaw Posse’ opens in theaters on March 1st. Photo: Quiver Distribution.

Other Movies Similar to ‘Outlaw Posse’:

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