Reggie Lochard, the filmmaker behind the film When The Well Runs Dry, returns with his latest effort, A for Alpha. The trailer dropped last week and already has people buzzing, as it enters its festival run. The story follows a young Black man, Harrison, as he battles with what it means to be a man and the pressures put on him to live up to what society deems is “normal”. With a successful woman on his hand, Harrison’s journey in the film is sure to bring light to the conversation of gender norms and gender roles in relationships and friendships. We recently caught up with the actor, writer and producer, to discuss what audiences can expect from this project.
This is your follow up to When The Well Runs Dry. You seem to truly want to capture the human experience in a relatable way. Why?
I am a big proponent of telling relatable stories, it could be drama, action, or a comic book film, but it has to pull at the heartstring of the audience. People have to understand what the characters are going through and their experience. When I write, it is always character driven and about their Why. It could be a story about robbing banks, but what changes the dynamic of the script is knowing why the characters are robbing a bank.
Why was this your next project?
To be honest with you, I have many scripts and I never know which one will take off. But I am a believer that God brings people into your life for a reason, and for me, that person was Kelley Kali, who is also a producer on this project. When she called she mentioned that we needed to elaborate on A for Alpha and get this made. I don’t fight the signs that God shows me, so it worked out from there.
What inspired you to write this film?
One day I was visiting an old High School teammate of mine, who had recently gotten married. We were all hanging out and his wife came in the room and asked him to do the laundry. I don't know if he was joking or serious, but he said to her, “That’s a woman’s job.” I remember sitting there in that moment and thinking about the societal norms that are in the fabric of our essence and we do it unconsciously. Men are taught certain things and women are taught certain things. I remember growing up and watching my mom freak out to get my older sister in the kitchen with her to watch her cook like it was mandatory, meanwhile, I was able to play video games and do what I want without any pressure, I never understood why that was.
Tackling gender norms with this film, and doing your research, would you say that these norms that we're taught have hurt our generation?
I will say this, I did not make this project to solve the world’s problems. I wrote this piece to be a conversation starter. There is no right or wrong answer, it's whatever works for the household and the relationship. In the film, we see Vanessa as a successful attorney, and Harrison is out of work and stays at home. We explore how that may or may not work for their relationship.
Why was this an important topic to discuss now, in 2020?
There haven't been many movies that address gender roles in relationships. I think it is well past the time to address this. Hollywood is used to pushing the leading man narrative, so this film feels very timely and what is already being discussed in society.
Not only do you tackle gender norms within the relationship, but also friendship, when it comes to Harrison and his group of male friends. Why was that important for you to show as well?
Harrison is struggling in life right now. It was important to show the dynamic in how his group of male friends also affected him. Something as simple as cooking dinner, he lies to his friend about, thinking it would make him look like less of a man. It all plays a part in who he is and who he wants to become.
In the film, there is a specific lie that Harrison holds on to, what does that lie represent?
That lie is the shred of the reality of who Harrison wants to be in the world.
We also see Vanessa navigating her way in the corporate world and her relationship. What do you hope women take away from this film?
I hope women see that it is okay to be successful and independent. For so long women have felt the need to submit to a Man. I heard many women say they have given up on their dreams for their men, so I want them to see themselves in Vanessa, and know that it is okay to want more for yourself, it's okay to be strong, independent and successful.
"A" for Alpha is set to be released in 2021. Check out the trailer below and view its website.