Dope, a coming-of-age comedy-drama that was released in 2015, tells the tale of three geeky teens and their crazy escapades. Rick Famuyiwa wrote and directed the film, and he also served as its producer alongside Nina Yang Bongiovi. Starring Tony Revolori and Kiersey Clemons as Malcolm Adekanbi’s nerdy friends Jib and Diggy, who are extremely odd in every way—they adore hip-hop music and even have their own punk band—and Shameik Moore as Malcolm Adekanbi, one of the less popular students in the school. The primary character of the novel is Malcolm, who hopes to attend Harvard University but one day finds himself in possession of a bag full of cocaine by accident.
The film, which is set in Inglewood, California, shows the hardships of surviving in a rough neighborhood, but not in the way you might anticipate. The film simply depicts the real existence of a black teenage boy with a dash of humor; it doesn’t ask for pity or approval. People who have lived in the same or nearby communities can relate to the movie’s very real experiences, which makes them wonder whether the plot is based on actual occurrences. Let’s investigate!
Is Dope a True Story?
The movie “Dope” is not based on a factual narrative; rather, real-life events served as inspiration. Director Rick Famuyiwa, who has written the screenplay, also previously explored Inglewood in his 1999 feature film “The Wood.” Famuyiwa has worked on other significant films, including “Brown Sugar.” Dope, which was made in just 25 days with an unknown cast, depicts incidents that the audience thought to be relevant as well as realistic. Famuyiwa, who grew up in Inglewood, remarked that “Dope” is like a “what if” simulation of how different his life might have turned out in an interview with the New York Post. It is simple to spot multiple occasions where this coming-of-age film feels incredibly authentic since the author incorporated pieces from his own experiences into the narrative.
Malcolm, Jib, and Diggy aren’t your usual teenagers, thus “Dope” could have been a clichéd film about the difficulties black teens experience growing up in a rough neighborhood. Although they have similar experiences to other children from high-crime areas, they stand out because of their curiosity about life. They are the digital-age children who, despite their circumstances, are optimistic about the future. Famuyiwa stated, “I wanted to attempt to redefine the perception of what we term mainstream,” in an interview with Wired director. So often, upper middle class white suburbia is what we refer to as mainstream. Anything else is regarded as a niche market. “I didn’t want it to feel like we’re just putting black people everywhere,” he continued. I deliberately made it very specific. They deal with a lot of difficulties that other people don’t. I wanted to be very honest about that while also conveying the idea that just because these aren’t your exact experiences, doesn’t mean you can’t still identify to them.
The fact that we live in a country where anything is conceivable, he continued, “was a big part of what motivated it,” as he gave a further explanation of the movie’s beginning. Although I was growing up not that long ago, it seems quite archaic that you had to go to the library and use World Book Encyclopedias. However, how does having rapid access to everything affect your worldview? That was the inspiration for how I conceptualized these people and their setting.
Famuyiwa wanted “Dope” to seem authentic in every way, from how it expressed the tale to how it depicted the relationships between characters and technology. In an interview with Wired, he went into additional detail about this element, saying, “You can’t control where you are born, and when you’re growing up, unless you’ve seen something different, you’re just living your life. These children don’t even consider themselves to be in a bad or horrible circumstance. There’s a sense of limitlessness among this generation. Because he is related to many of those students, Harvard and Ivy League schools seem genuine and possible to [Malcolm]. It opens us a world of opportunities, but it also makes us aware of the problems we still face. Malcolm and his friends, in my opinion, are coping with everything.
When asked about personal experiences, Famuyiwa told the New York Post that the scenario in which Malcolm runs into a drug dealer is based on his own experience. “[The actual dealer] was standing on the corner and motioned for me to come over,” he remarked. He said, “There’s a cute girl over there. I want you to say “hello” for me,” just like in the movie. I considered the situation and all the ways things might have gone wrong. It is clear that Famuyiwa’s experiences served as inspiration for Malcolm, the main character, as he says, “I was always this weird outsider child.” The first-generation American with Nigerian parents who wants to go to Harvard University, loves ’90s hip hop, and lives in The Bottoms, a high-crime area, is the inspiration for the high school geek.
Famuyiwa intended to tell the story of a black youngster who struggles to fulfill his dream of attending Harvard University despite living in a very rough neighborhood. Many viewers were interested to learn whether the story was based on true events because of the script, storyline, location, and youthfulness of the teenagers. A black youngster from Inglewood goes through actual events, which Famuyiwa masterfully captures in “Dope,” even though the characters and the plot are imaginary. The difficulties Malcolm endures are modeled in actual occurrences in Famuyiwa’s own life.