Since graduating from Morgan State University, David E. Talbert has added many accomplishments to his name: director, playwright, author, and father. His latest project is a win for all of us! We sat down with David to discuss his new Netflix film Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey as well as his time at Morgan and his biggest lessons.
From plays to movies, David E. Talbert has done it all. His projects include “First Sunday” with Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan and the play “Another Man Will.” Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is an action-packed musical adventure perfect for the holiday season. Set in the fictional Cobbleton, the film follows legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) and his young inventive granddaughter (Madalen Mills) as they construct a magical invention that, if they can get it to work in time for the holidays, could change their lives forever. It has heavy-hitters like Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, and Keegan Michael-Key. As if that wasn’t enough, he brought in musical legends John Legend, Usher, and Ricky Martin food the soundtrack.
On Tuesday, November 10, David sat down with Morgan State University professor MK Asante to discuss this highly-anticipated new film and more. MK Asante is the youngest professor to earn tenure at Morgan State University. Considering his academic background and upbeat nature, MK was the perfect person to interview David!
MK Asante asked, “Did you know the path that you’re on now, did you know then that you wanted to do this?”
“I remember I wrote my first play there while I was at Morgan. And the dean there read it and said ‘oh you know that’s pretty good.’ And if he would have said ‘You know son, I’ll pray for you…’ then you would have thought or realized you didn’t have it. But he encouraged me… Probably better than somebody telling you what you can do, is them not telling you what you can’t. And that was the beauty of it. Nobody told me what I can’t do.”
The film is really a story about a toy inventor and his granddaughter, who soaks up knowledge and embarks on her own grand adventure. It was something that couldn’t be overlooked.
MK Asante said, “One thing that I couldn’t help but see the intergenerationality of the cast. Can you speak on that?”
“I wanted it to be something for everybody,” said David. It’ll be out for Thanksgiving that’s when we all get together to tear up some candied yams, collard greens, and ham. I wanted it to be something where the grandmother, the mother, and the kids, and everybody could watch as a family.”
Morgan State University students, alumni, and staff were allowed to ask questions as well. Senior Screenwriting and Animation student Shaunyce Lee was eager to ask her question.
“What tools and information did you need to prepare yourself to yourself for the transition from writing plays to writing and directing film?”
“Just watching films really, and reading scripts,” answered David. “There’s no better teacher than watching good movies and saying dissect what they did and try to figure out how they did it. Because in cinema no one is reinventing the wheel, you’re just putting your own designer rims on it. And so you have to figure out what your designer rims look like.”
Check out the whole interview here. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas story premieres today!