How did Gina Prince-Bythewood decide to make this film?
Someone gave Gina Prince-Bythewood the book long before she was even thinking about making the movie; but she threw it down and didn’t pick it up for years. During this time, her family and friends encouraged her to read it, all to avail. She put it off for two years until she decided to read the book. By the time she’d finished it, she learned that someone else was going to be directing it, that she decided to get serious. And Prince-Bythewood wasn’t having it. In an interview with City Paper, Prince-Bythewood explains how she almost missed out on the chance to direct the film:
“And then about two years ago, a friend of mine–an actor–said she was going in to audition for The Secret Life of Bees, and this guy was doing it, and I got really jealous. I said, ‘No, this is mine. This is supposed to be my movie. I’ve never seen black women portrayed like that, it just kind of smashed every stereotype. Just the opportunity to bring them to life I thought would have been a gift, and again, I was like, I blew it.
I don’t know who in the world made it happen, but two months later I got a call from my agent saying that it fell apart at the other studio, they wanted to start over–would I be interested in writing and directing for another studio? And I jumped at it this time and went after it hard and thankfully got it.”