Alum Boots Riley Stays True to Own Voice with Sundance Premiere 'Sorry to Bother You'

Monday, January 22, 2018
Photo of Boots Riley

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- Riley had the idea for the script in 2011.

“A lot of times when I'm writing songs, I have scenes in my head that I'm translating into poetry,” the Oakland native said, noting that “it just felt like one less layer and the script just poured out of me.”

The process also marked a return, of sorts, to a teenage interest in making films that began with theater and led to Riley studying film at San Francisco State. Luckily, storytelling has stuck with him through more than 25 years of making music, so branching out wasn’t too foreign an experience.

The original plan, Riley said, was to “write a movie that we can do with $50,000. It's gonna happen in one place that we get for free from somebody and we'll shoot it in a week there, or something like that. And it's gonna be a workplace comedy with some of my ideas in it.”

Photo by Amelia Kennedy/Courtesy of Sundance Institute