DogMan Star JoJo T. Gibbs on Luc Besson and Starring in Civil War

0

A Luc Besson film provokes thought as much it takes viewers along a mesmerizing emotional journey. Besson is the brainchild behind Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, and Lucy. Besson’s new film, DogMan, which he wrote and directed, is a gripping character study and one of the most captivating — if not surreal and edgy — psychological dramas to hit the screen recently.




The film also gives us a fascinating protagonist in Douglas (Caleb Landry Jones in a winning turn), an eccentric and wounded soul who recounts his tale to a prison psychologist (JoJo T. Gibbs). Leaping from past to present, we discover how Douglas wound up behind bars and how his diverse pack of dogs became his most loyal allies. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers and films with inventive endings, dive into this exceptional film. In excerpts from an exclusive MovieWeb interview, JoJo T. Gibbs unpacks Luc Besson’s compelling drama, working with Landry (of Get Out and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), and chats up co-starring in the upcoming action thriller, Civil War. Read on and watch our interview above.


JoJo T. Gibbs Goes From Comedy to Drama

DogMan

DogMan

4/5

Release Date
April 5, 2024

Runtime
114 Minutes

Studio
Luc Besson Production, EuropaCorp, TF1 Films Production


JoJo T. Gibbs captured viewers’ interest in the lead role of Hattie on the BET series, Twenties. The 2020 show tracked an aspiring screenwriter and queer Black woman in her 20s (Gibbs) and her two straight friends. DogMan is a big switch. Through the character of Evelyn, the psychiatrist who interviews Douglas in prison, audiences better understand who he really is. Douglas has had to transform every element of his life because of his trauma — we find him in drag initially, and it’s riveting to understand how he got there.

Evelyn is battling emotional demons, too, as a single mother. But she’s the other side of Douglas’ character. Douglas is a “talker,” rehashing his journey through flashback. Evelyn is the listener. Gibbs admits that the character is much different from her persona. “Evelyn is way more serious than I am for sure. I am an old child, I would say. Evelyn is so stoic,” said Gibbs. “She’s a mother, she’s a divorcee, she has clearly overcome some emotional and probably tumultuous situations and things of that nature so she has a little bit of a chip on her shoulder” She elaborated:


“Any therapist or psychiatrist that I know are typically survivors of some sort of trauma and that’s why they find an interest in that type of profession — because they want to help people who had experiences similar to them. So… my backstory for Evelyn is, if you ascend to being a prison psychiatrist, you know, you’re pretty passionate about helping folks who need the help. So yeah, that’s not me. No, I’m joking. But yeah, there are some similarities and differences in that regard.”

Filming DogMan in Paris

JoJo T Gibbs as Evelyn in the Luc Besson movie DogMan

DogMan was mostly shot in Paris, although the film takes place in New Jersey. Gibbs knew about Luc Besson, of course, from films like The Fifth Element and Lucy, but she didn’t realize how famous the man was in France.


“The first day I got there, I just wanted to walk around my hotel and explore,” she shared. “And even though I said, ’I’m just going to go straight, I’m not going to make any lefts, no rights, no turns,’ I still got lost somehow. And my phone died. I had to ask these random girls if they can help me get back to my hotel. And we walked and we’re talking. And at the end, they were like, ‘What are you doing here?’ And I was like, ‘I’m here to do this project with Luc Besson.’ And of course, I knew who he was, but their reaction… they were like, ‘Luc Besson!’” Gibbs smiled, before adding:


“I was like, ‘Yeah.’ They were like, ‘Oh my God.’ And they were lawyers, you know? They’re not in the industry. They’re not actors. You know, of course, here in L.A., if you say his name, people recognize it. But to be talking to two random strangers in Paris who are lawyers, who were in their mid-20s, who knew exactly who [he was]… he’s like the Steven Spielberg of Paris… That was the first moment I got nervous, to be honest with you. I was like, ‘Oh, okay.’ I mean, I know what he’s done, but seeing their reaction to me working with him made me a little more on guard.”

The Fifth Element Was ‘Dope’

Jonnica T. Gibbs as Evelyn and Caleb Landry Jones as Douglas being interrogated while smoking a cigarette in Dogman
Briarcliff Entertainment

Working with a famous director is memorable. And working with one who’s helmed an iconic film is even more noteworthy. JoJo T. Gibbs recalls the first time she watched Luc Besson’s 1997 sci-fi hit The Fifth Elementwith Bruce Willis, Chris Tucker, and Milla Jovovich. “Growing up, I lived with my great-grandparents, so we didn’t go to the theater often because we were from the country,” explained Gibbs, who went on:


But my dad, anytime I would visit him, he would take us to Blockbuster, we would get Chinese food, and I viscerally remember going to Blockbuster, getting this tape [
The Fifth Element
] and watching it. And I thought it was a little strange, but it was captivating.

“It just was action from the jump,” continued GIbbs. “And then the singing sequences with the… the blue alien woman. To keep a child’s attention that long, I would say that it was a pretty amazing film. And yeah, we sat there and ate, and watched it with my dad. And it was dope, I love that film.”

On Working with Caleb Landry Jones

Caleb Landry Jones wearing lipstick and earrings with a cut on their chin looking off-screen in DogMan
Briarcliff Entertainment


Many films have been released since 2024 began, but few performances have been as mesmerizing and complex as Caleb Landry Jones’ portrayal of Douglas. Abused and tortured as a child, canines became his closest allies. And ones which could be his salvation as he’s questioned — first in drag, then stripped of everything — by Evelyn and possibly sent away.

“I love Caleb,” Gibbs shared. “Caleb is so sweet, so cool. He was so welcoming when I got to set, like no ego. He’s from Texas. So, we’re both Southerners, and it’s just in our roots to be hospitable, I guess.”

10:54

Related

Caleb Landry Jones Talks DogMan, Dracula, De Niro, and Becoming an Octopus

The acclaimed Nitram star also unpacks the complexities of his role in DogMan, director Luc Besson’s captivating new thriller.


Gibbs actually met Jones for the first time on set, in character. “Luc didn’t want us to meet until we met in character on set, in the scene. It’s so crazy because I’ve never met a castmate this way ever, but we did the scene, then Luc was like, ‘Cut,’ and it was like, ‘Hi, I’m JoJo… Hi, I’m Caleb.’ Then, ‘Well, I guess we’ll talk after we finish shooting this scene.’ Afterward, we got to chat, he’s into music, his partner’s [Katya Zvereva] mad cool. Like, Caleb is an A1 castmate, for sure.”

Cheesecake, Anyone?

Caleb Landry Jones and his dogs in DogMan from Luc Besson
Briarcliff Entertainment


JoJo T. Gibbs also freely shared some of her humble beginnings with us, noting how, early on, she worked at The Cheesecake Factory at the same time she was teaching fourth and fifth graders. “I was literally going from teaching straight to The Cheesecake Factory, putting my little tie on on the way there. I got sick of cheesecake. I won’t lie. They had too many options. By the time I left, I was not eating any more cheesecake. I had too much access to it, I guess.” Later, when asked about some of her greatest inspirations, she candidly replied:

I hate to say this, but honestly, I inspire myself, but I’m kind of pushed by people doubting me. I know… I feel like
I’m in therapy right now
. I don’t know why. I’m just like, ‘Am I about to tell you my secrets?

Gibbs laughed and went on:

“No, seriously, I think that that’s what pushed me. I’ve had so many jobs and I know what I don’t want to do, right? So that pushed me to continue into what I thought that I wanted. I’m like, ‘I think I want to be an actress. This has been on my mind since I was a child. I have to pursue it.’
And knowing that I’ve had 21 other jobs, I know I don’t want to do any of what’s behind me. So yeah, knowing what’s behind me kept pushing me forward, I would say.


Related: DogMan Review: Caleb Landry Jones Shines in Offbeat Thriller

On Starring in Alex Garland’s Civil War

The upcoming dystopian action thriller Civil War has generated tremendous buzz. Of the highly anticipated outing, Gibbs, who appears in the film’s second half, noted, “Kirsten [Dunst] and Wagner [Moura] were incredible on set. First of all, I [love] Bring It On, of course, but I didn’t even bring that up to her. It took everything in me not to say, you know, ‘I loved you in Bring It On!’ Because I’m sure she has heard that 1000 times. But she was so sweet on set, and Wagner, watching them perform and watching them go from relaxed and then transforming into these characters, I learned a lot, a great deal.” She continued to discuss the differences between directors Luc Besson and Alex Garland:


“Also, Alex Garland, the director, he’s just so magnificent and just like a work horse on set. It’s been so interesting watching him and then going to work with Luc as well, because they’re very different. Luc is very organized and meticulous, he has a book, he has a plan, because they were very different films as well, we were shooting action scenes. Alex felt very spontaneous, which is also incredible. So, to be able to work with both of those types of directors was amazing.”

Gibbs knows, too, the potential impact of a film about a divided country coming out at a time when the country is so divided. “I think that Civil War will spark a conversation. We’ve got elections coming up and there’s a lot going on in the world right now.” Gibbs said, adding:

There are so many things that need to be discussed and hard conversations that need to be had. It’ll make us consider what the consequences of our actions may potentially be… So, I think that these types of films need to be made because they start conversations, and we’ve got to talk as a country and as a community.


In the meantime, dive into the dialogue-driven storytelling in DogMan, which hits theaters March 29. Watch the trailer below:

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.