Paramount has released their new show “Lawman: Bass Reeves,” on their streaming service, Paramount+. The show is based on a true story that follows the life and journey of Reeves, a former slave turned Deputy U.S. Marshall in Mississippi during the Jim Crow Era. Reeves is played by “Selma,” actor David Oyelowo, who also serves as the Executive Producer.
On Monday, Nov. 6, the Peachtree Village International Film Festival held a private screening of the show’s first episode at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema. In attendance was one of the directors of the series, Damian Marcano. After the screening, Marcano sat down for an interview with WCLK radio host Ray Cornelius and Clark Atlanta University student producer Ella Star.
Marcano was born in Trinidad and Tobago and moved to the United States when he was 12 years old. During his professional career, Marcano directed episodes for shows like “Snowfall,” “Winning Time,” and “American Gigolo”.
Marcano’s Director of Photography shared the script for the series and the director admitted, “I did not have all the research. Bass Reeves was not a person I heard of. We do not have this history where I come from,” he said. “I just related to something in the script. A man made me feel like he was purpose driven as I am,” he added. “I never heard anything triumphant come out of that period for people of color.”
When describing the stories and the history of the characters in the show and specifically the Black women who played a role in Bass’ life, he expressed, “Let’s just not have a show where we say, ‘que the beating,’ or ‘bring the slave in.’ Let’s have a show where we wonder who this man is and who his family is and who is everything to him.”
“Lawman: Bass Reeves,” was filmed in Texas, but was not filmed on a set. Marcano emphasized, “We built the location. These places did not exist,” he continued, “As a director or even as actors in this business, we do not get to go a lot of places and shoot 360 degrees.”
Pride is what Marcano wants Black people to take away from the show and he describes the show as, “A representation of greatness.”
“Lawman: Bass Reeves,” is eight episodes long. Marcano directed episodes 4-6. Episodes 1-3 and 7-8 are directed by Christiana Alexandra Voros. The first two episodes are currently streaming on Paramount+ with new episodes released every Sunday.