The world can feel massive and cruel. For many of us, especially young people of color living in the inner cities of this country, happiness and a sense of connection can feel out of reach, even at the earliest stages of our lives. In Kin, directors Jonathan and Josh Baker shine their light on Elijah – called Eli (newcomer Myles Truitt), a 12-year-old Black boy living with his world-weary adoptive father Hal (Dennis Quaid) in working-class Detroit.
For Eli, escaping the horrors of middle school often means breaking into building sites an stealing metal for cash. It’s on one of these scavenger adventures that he stumbles upon a weapon — a supernatural gun that has been inadvertently abandoned. Intrigued with the discovery, Eli hides it away, pulling it out only when he’s by himself. Discovering the weapon isn’t the only major change in Eli’s life. His big brother, Jimmy (Jack Reynor) returns home after a six-year- stint in prison. In debt to a menacing and heavily tatted gangster (James Franco) that kept him safe behind bars – Jimmy makes a run for it, scooping up his unsuspecting little brother and the mysterious weapon in the midst of it.
Truitt stepped into Eli’s rundown sneakers by chance. Coming off the whirlwind of BET’s The New Edition Story, where he starred as young Ronnie DeVoe, the young actor was seeking a new challenge. ” sent me the script, and I just read over it, and I thought it would be a pretty good film,” the 15-year-old explained to me a few weeks ahead of Kin’s debut. “I also watched the short film, Bag Man. It showed me the gist of what was going to go on in Kin and how I was going to play out my character. is actually very similar to me. He keeps to himself and doesn’t really talk to anybody — very independent. I met up with the directors in Boston; I did a chemistry read with them. Then I met Jack, and we did a couple of improv scenes with each other, and they worked out well. The Bakers were like, ‘We want you’, and my mom was jumping up and down and crying. It was my first major film, and originally it’s supposed to be an indie film.”
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