First Sunday Writer/Director David E. Talbert


Although writer/director David E. Talbert didn’t have much time for an interview while we were on the First Sunday set, he could not have been more eager to have us there and talked to as long as he could until he was pulled back to work.

David E. Talbert: Lo and behold, it’s first Sunday and the preacher says “Malachi chapter 3 asks a simple question, will a man rob God.” And they look at each other, “hell yeah.” And that is the set-up. They will break into the church first Sunday night and steal the money and pay-of $12,000 and $17,000 in debt. So they break into the church and everything goes crazy. The money is missing. And they have to hold the church members hostage. There’s a meeting they didn’t even know about that’s happening that same night. And the choir is having a special choir rehearsal and the choir director is Katt Williams. So everybody is held hostage and nobody knows where the money is. So Cube, his character Durell says we’re gonna hold everybody hostage ’til we find out. So the scene you’re watching now is they’ve been in the church for maybe an hour and a half. It’s hot and everybody is about to snap. Cube’s been pretty hands-on in producing and guiding projects. So how do you work with him?
Talbert: Well, the producer is Matt Alvarez here, who’s taken more black directors to the promised land than any producer. I plan to be the next one to go get a great “Fantastic Four” project. But no, Matt first put together an incredible team of talent, his partner Cube, both of them hand in hand, came to the table to really help me sell the script even more. Cube is… he’s a director’s actor because there is no better actor for a first time director than Cube because he’s been in so many movies. And he knows when something isn’t right. Cube has really big brothered me and been like a director. He mentored me through the development process and helped me transition from telling stories on the stage to telling them for the camera.

CS: How did you come on this team?
Talbert: Well I wrote the script. I’m a playwright and theater director by craft. I wrote the script and my manager is also one of the executive producers… I told him about the idea years ago. And he said “man, that’s a hot idea.” He said, “there’s this guy I want you to meet, Tim Story, and he’s looking to produce this thing as well.” And then we went through the whole thing of casting, this one fell out and that one fell out. And I was like oh hell I’m never gonna direct this movie. [And then we got] The green light! Green, thank God. Flashing yellow, flashing yellow. But they came in and really helped bring this project to where it is now.

CS: Is this a family film?
Talbert: It’s not R but it’s real. It’s a comedy with a lot of drama. It’s got the comedy like you would see in “Friday.” It’s got some of the heart that you’ve seen in “Barbershop,” then mixed with my own brand of inspiration. I throw that in the pot and this is what we have, a comedy, ’cause you laugh, but you also have these performance that put together carry and hold the drama really well. Because at the end of the day it’s about how far will a father go to keep his daughter with him. So at the end of the day that’s what it’s really about.

First Sunday opens in theaters on January 11, 2008.

First Sunday: The Set Visit”