Mario Van Peebles was a delightful director to work for on this docu drama.
Having said that we had some moments that were somewhat tense. Mario wanted this drama to be as authentic as possible. The location for this set and the preceding set – on the steps of the police station with several hundred extras filling the street, were in the East LA section of Los Angeles. The exact area was smack in the middle of known gang dominated neighborhoods. And for these scenes many local gangbangers were hired to give the lifelike feel that you can see in the finished movie.
I was booked to be one of the policemen. While waiting for our scenes, we were sequestered in a huge gym in a local school which also had a stage. And so were the gangbangers right alonside us. OK so far. But these guys were not police friendly and very noisily let us know how they felt. In fact some even acted towards us as if we were real police….. yikes. To make matters worse, all 20 or so of us police extras had to go on the stage for a group picture. Wow did we get catcalls. Kudos to Mario who with his innate sense of humor was always in full control of all the members of this production
I worked on this show for 2 days and one night but you can only make me out in this one scene. The night call was the big nightime shoot out with the cops at a different location.