Prepare to hear the name Steven Caple Jr. everywhere now.
The director, who made his feature debut with The Land in 2016, and has directed episodes of grown-ish, is making his studio debut with Creed II. The film is sure to make an obvious big splash, and Caple has already lined up his next, 7-figure project set up at Legendary Entertainment.
Creed director Ryan Coogler handpicked Caple, his friend and classmate from their USC days, to helm the project. With such a big task at hand, the young director was prepared for the job, with advice from Coogler in tow.
“One, he was like definitely listen to Sly [laughs]...like definitely listen to him and take in his advice, especially coming in as a new studio filmmaker," Caple told Shadow and Act. "This was his [Coogler's] first studio too when he did Creed. He is full of knowledge, especially with the fight choreography and dealing the series, nostalgia and history of everything," Caple said.
"Two, he said it and Sly said it, 'just make it your own, don’t try to do what I do, try to be better.' And the same with Mike [Michael B. Jordan]. When I saw they were on that kind of mindset, I was like, ‘ Oh, everybody wants this to be great.' Nobody wants their name to be on a project and it fail. And that felt good to have that support, and it helped a lot [to] tackle a project and feeling good about my place and my position.”
Photo: Barry Wetcher / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures
© 2018 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
His first film, The Land, premiered at Sundance. Caple noted the differences and similarities between his indie film and his first studio film.
“I think going to a bigger project, you just have a bigger crew. Some of the things like visual effects are new to me and some of the technical aspects. But the collaborative experience...you have to broaden it a bit because you have studio execs and producers you haven’t worked with before, and then the talent who are also producers and have been with these characters. And unknown actors vs. known actors. I had four kids that were still fresh to the game [in The Land] and then working with people [in Creed 2] who have been in the game for years and are super talented. For similarities, it all comes down to drama and the heart of what the movie is all about," he said. "Even though, you have this much money for the ring, and the location and the fights, its all about those small little moments, the relationships and the scenes. That’s still the same. That’s something to carry over from independent filmmaking."
As far as his next film, Caple already has some ideas for actors he'd like to work with. “My man Lakeith Stanfield. I’ve been watching him since Short Term 12 and I met him after my first feature. He’s really good. There’s a few others but I don’t want anyone else to take them for their next film, because I have some good picks [laughs]. But he’s on the radar for sure. And Issa Rae. I’d like to see her in a drama. I think that’ll shake up the scene a little bit,” he said.
Creed II is in theaters Nov. 20.