Will Packer is back with another flick!
“Praise This” follows Sam (Chloe Bailey) an aspiring singer, vying to break into the music industry. When she’s forced to join her cousin’s (Anjelika Washington) struggling, underdog praise team, she seizes the opportunity to make her dreams come true. But what she discovers, is ambition can command a high price.
We talked to Packer, who producer the musical comedy, about gospel gatekeepers and the praise teams future.
(from left) Jackie (Kiara Iman), Jermaine (Ilario Grant), KiKi (Jekalyn Carr), Aaron (Druski), Jess (Anjelika Washington) and Sam (Chloe Bailey) in Praise This, directed Tina Gordon.
Q: The music selection is a vibe! There’s a Gospel Jodeci type of group with choreography. There was some Jabbawockeez energy. And the Beyonce, Cardi B, and Xscape bangers. What was the musical process like? Do you have to tap in with the gospel gatekeepers because they’re very protective?
WP: I wanted this movie to be true to the Gospel world, the very competitive, real world of Praise Teams. But I wanted to take it to the next level and supercharge it. Chloe Bailey’s character is amazing in the film, but she’s not somebody that grew up in the church. She’s not somebody that has a lot of faith at the beginning of the movie. She’s not somebody that’s even wanting or desirous of having a relationship with church folks or God.
How many of us can relate to not being a big church person, but I’m struggling to find their way. Or wanting to find faith and spirituality. The music is a way in – I wanted to get people’s attention with this amazing music, and then it’s the story of faith that keeps you there. I give props to our amazing music team. Pastor Charles Jenkins, who is a gospel artist himself, was my gospel gatekeeper. He’s somebody I actually grew up with and I said, ‘Chuck, make sure we get the gospel music right.’ He is steeped in the gospel world. I wanted to be edgy. I didn’t want to be traditional.
Cardi, Beyonce, Meg Thee Stallion, and Jack Harlow get you in. But once you’re in, you learn it’s not just about the music. It’s about this journey of spirituality, discovery, and faith.
(Center) Fallon (Koryn Hawthorne) in Praise This, directed by Tina Gordon.
Q: Where do you want to see the Praise Team go in “Praise This” part two?
WP: We got Chloe in the church now and she’s so headstrong and opinionated she’s going to wrangle some of the people in the church. She’s taking over the Praise Team and then Crystal Renee Hayslett’s character – who is the first lady of the church – they’re going to bump heads and have beef and they’re going to have a sing off to see whose team is it.
#PraiseThis will stream only on Peacock April 7th.
For Will’s full interview click the video above.
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