Mickey Hardaway: Unpacking Generational Trauma and Mental Health in Film Image

Mickey Hardaway: Unpacking Generational Trauma and Mental Health in Film

By Abhishek Sharma | December 4, 2023

Though titled after its protagonist and told through his perspective, Mickey Hardaway is a story of millions of young individuals. It features a stellar cast led by newcomers Rashad Hunter and Ashley Parchment. It is powered by the experienced talents of David Chattam, Stephen Cofield Jr., and Dennis White – Mickey Hardaway dives into the themes of generational trauma, mental health crisis, and volatility of artistic professions through an extended socio-political contextual link to racism and systematic oppression. Shot in black-and-white to add metaphorical depth to the story, the project has seen a solid and independent development, rising from a proof of concept short to a full-length feature film. A dedicated team of professionals, investing three years’ worth of their effort, Mickey Hardaway’s critical response has paid for it.

I got to sit with director Marcellus Cox and Mickey Hardaway stars Rashad Hunter and David Chattam, discussing the film’s achievements, global appreciation, and intended impact on the viewers. From casual days and personal experiences on sets to the more profound understanding of film’s socio-political importance, here is what Mickey Hardaway means from the voices who made the film possible.

How has the experience of seeing Mickey Hardaway reach so many festival screenings been?
Marcellus Cox: It has far exceeded expectations. It has been more than I ever imagined – the screenings and the perceptions we’ve gotten. The movie has been screened all over the globe. And there are a couple more to go. So the fact that we’ve achieved all those goals of getting to different parts worldwide, including the US alone, has been incredible. And this is just icing on the cake for a movie that almost wasn’t made. This has been a blessing.

And as much as I like to take credit for this, it belongs to the crew and the cast because they’re the ones who brought this vision to life and brought it to the forefront, and I’m forever grateful for them. This is big, but this is real all because of them. So it’s been a blessing, but man, this is only possible with the cast and crew.

“It was a script I was working on. She called me up and said there’s a reason why I want you to study.”

Where did Mickey Hardaway come from? How did this idea and the motivation behind it come to be?
Marcellus: The story came from my senior high school in 2005. I was playing around, and a teacher caught me writing something and took it from me. It was a script I was working on. She called me up and said there’s a reason why I want you to study. She liked what she was reading, and she’s the one who encouraged me to keep going. For the last 16 years, I have been conceiving and playing with the idea. I wanted to tell a story about dreamers and what happens when you have specific obstacles in your life socially. How, from a family or a society perspective, those obstacles ruin and downplay it. We want to showcase the obstacles people go through and the consequences from any perspective, whether it’s the artists or individuals.

Mickey Hardaway became what it is from a short film, which both Rashad and David were a part of. What was the journey for a proof of concept becoming a full-length feature film through an extensive writing process?
Marcellus: It wasn’t supposed to be a concept; it was supposed to be just a feature right away. The problem was that the investor we worked with backed out at the last minute because of COVID-19. So when COVID hit, it was like, OK, let’s take the best 20 minutes we can and turn it into a concept short. So that’s how they ended up playing out.

The goal was to have David be in it, and then another actor who was supposed to play Mickey bailed out. So the fact that, you know, he bailed out and you got Rashaad was an absolute blessing. That played out in my favor massively.

Rashad Hunter: Yeah. That worked out in my favor as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon