Writer and producer of the film, Orlando Bishop says the script isn’t based on anyone’s life in particular, but it’s more of a moving tale that reveals emotive experiences.
“The story is not auto biographical, but its deeply personal. When I first had it, it was just an idea, something that I wanted to go through and express this feeling that I had my whole life. I lost my mom in March. My twins were born in May. It was the highest and lowest pieces of my life, and it happened within a month and- a-half from each other. I was talking to a friend and I said, ‘When you were a kid, you would water paint. That weird color that the water is after a certain point, that’s how I feel all the time.’ Somehow, I wanted to get that feeling into a script.”
DINNER FOR TWO is written and directed by Orlando Bishop and produced by Swirl Films. Tristan 'Mack' Wilds and Eric Tomosunas of Swirl Films serve as executive producers. Also serving as producers are Nicole Dow, Bishop's producing partner, and Keith Neal, James Seppelfrick, Ron Robinson, and Darien Baldwin of Swirl Films. Casting is provided by Leah Daniels-Butler, CSA and George Pierre. For TV One, Jubba Seyyid is the Executive Producer in Charge of Production, Donyell McCullough is Sr. Director of Talent & Casting, and Robyn Greene Arrington is Head of Original Programming and Production.
DINNER FOR TWO stars Tristian 'Mack'Wilds as Chris Moore, a man trying to come to terms with true love lost, playing opposite Chaley Rose as his beloved Angela. When his soul mate, Angela, leaves him, his life becomes a complicated mess. Now he is facing a major decision about his future, and drinking heavily, as he can't seem to move past mourning the relationship. Broken-hearted, Chris prepares a favorite meal that he and Angela shared on many romantic evenings together. As he breaks bread with the love of his life for perhaps the last time, he revisits what made him fall for her in the first place.
Behind the scenes of DINNER FOR TWO
Jubba Seyyid explained that the screenplay was extremely special, and the writing stood out. “When we got to know Orlando, and we started to do our development, and knowing how personal the story became, it became more important in terms of adding value to what this scrip for what this film is about. It’s something that we think everyone, [and] all our viewers can relate to. We think that any person that actually sees this film will be able to connect to it in some way.”
Seyyid said that it was a blessing to have a writer who’s close to the film.
“We were very excited about DINNER FOR TWO and we are very excited about the cast. Mac and Chaley bring something special to this thing. Mack and Chaley didn’t even know each other prior to this. It was very electric, and that doesn’t happen all the time. We were blessed,” Seyyid remarked about the chemistry between Tristian "Mack" Wilds and Chaley Rose.
As for the story, it’s a meaningful reflective about life and the decisions we make as humans, just trucking along in this crazy world. The actors, while in the modes of Chris and Angela, share painstaking affection as husband and wife. Chris, his alcoholism, and Angela wanting to love her husband for better and worst-- but even that comes with a penalty.
DINNER FOR TWO is a poetic allegory or maybe an ominous warning that starts off with Chris shopping at the local market. He’s careful in selecting the perfect wine and sides for this romantic feast that he’s preparing for his estranged wife.
TV One went to beautiful lengths to not only billet a platform for the talented Tristian 'Mack’ Wilds as an actor, but also provide a stage where he could utilize his skills as executive producer, which made the film all the more powerful in its message and delivery.
“So, this will be my first time in a situation like this,” says Wilds. “Sometimes you come across an amazing set. Sometimes you come across an amazing director. Sometimes you come across amazing cast-mates that bring the most out of you,” Wilds talked about how each influence allowed him to use his ripened gifts to bring the characters alive. Wilds assures that it won’t be his last time working with TV One in the matter of acting and production.
Rose, another dynamo actor echoed that this was her first time doing a movie and being a supporting actress. “I felt like I was in a state, a lot of the time because it was a lot more emotional work in a short period of time that I’m used to doing. It’s a great opportunity for me to strengthen that muscle and just kind of learn [and], watch Mack on set. Also, it was great for me. It was a great opportunity. I got to sing and I got to be funny at times, and go through a lot emotionally. It was surprisingly, vulnerable, watching in front of an audience in reference to the film festival [ABFF], more so than I expected to be. You put a lot of yourself into projects like this. It was a great opportunity for me to grow and learn from people on set,” Rose shared.
The film dawdles in the beginning, and for good reason. It draws viewers in warily and discreetly, careful of not leaving anything out. So, there are no holes. The viewers, will know from day one, of all the things that elevated the relationship to supreme highs and then back down to the very things that drove the marriage to failure.
Shaun Baker (David), Kron Moore (Gloria), and a younger Chris and Angela
James Seppelfrick of Swirl Films revealed that the movie became standout because of the director, Orlando Bishop, being so hands on with his own creation. “I’m not taking anything from him, but the many years that he lived with this project, this script, these characters, and developed them, and how much of it was a part of him personally. I think it was a lot of interesting discussions. How do we push the envelope? How do we maintain and not necessarily alienate our core audience, but at the same time really push? We all know that alcoholism in the African American community is not heavily talked about, whether its depression, alcoholism or any sort of mental issues, having done one film that’s dealing with mental issues prior to this. The feedback that we received of how many people that it could help, I think it was a no-brainer. Like Jubba said, once everybody read the script, [it was an honor] to jump in and tackle this story and get it done the best of our ability.”
The production team shot “all over” Atlanta for 12 days to capture the scenic and time-hopping moments of the film. “I’m very excited to bring it to life and be able to tell Orlando’s story, and have him be a part of it every day, but it’s also for our company to push the envelope and obviously tackle issues and items that could be affecting people; and not just making a great film, but making a film that can speak to people and hopefully help them," finished Seppelfrick.
Love, forgiveness and empathy were all clandestine missives through the entire film, which both actors were able to share their thoughts about the subjects.
“For me,” spoke Rose, “What I found so interesting is how forgiving the two were of each other, because they forgive big transgressions and somehow come back to a place of trust. I don’t know how capable I am, personally, of that. It did make me look at that, and exam how people are capable of that kind of forgiveness. That’s a beautiful thing, if you have that one person you’re supposed to be with, I think, maybe it’s that imposteral.”
“I would agree,” says Wilds. “I think something that this movie showed me is how strong love actually is. I think we see a lot of things on television, especially now, in today’s generation, they move on to the next. To understand how love can truly be, and watching Chris and Angela as they are growing up to what they are now—And, how that love is still potent on both sides, it kind of reaffirms how big love is in my life.”
Dinner For Two is a PSA, as well as a flagship that opens the discussions about inhabiting realities, where love and mental health are both anchors as well as a weaknesses.
“That last question in the response to the power of love, finished Bishop, “It helps us deal with all these pieces of love within ourselves—the love we share with one another, reaching out to people even when they’re trying to pull themselves away. One of the things that strikes me about depression, it’s not that you feel nobody loves you, but you feel that you’re unworthy of being loved. What I loved in this movie, and what I loved in Chaley and Mack, [they] brought these characters to life. It’s in those moments when they feel that separate from everybody, the other reaches out. I Feel like I saw that on set, from them. They reached out to each other in vulnerable moments when they were acting, and it drove it. I think it drove the entire production experience. It was everything I imagined from Chris and Angela, and so much more. Again, I’m very thankful to them for all they put in, under not the easiest circumstances either; but, they really brought that to life. Love is a verb as much as it is a noun. That really strikes me as what I’d walk away with—the importance and power of love.”
Premiering Sunday, September 2 at 7p.m. ET/6C, with an encore at 9 p.m. ET/8C on TV One, this complex love story stars R&B heartthrob and actor Tristan 'Mack' Wilds ("The Wire", "90210"), and rising star Chaley Rose ("Nashville").