Inside, they discuss their stereotype-defying, indie coming-of-age dramedy, which centers on a group of nerdy teens in Inglewood, California who are obsessed with 1990s hip-hop.
Written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa (The Wood), produced and narrated by Forest Whitaker, and executive-produced by Pharrell, the film hit theaters nationwide on June 19, 2015, after a bidding war at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
For Zoë, who plays Nakia, a lost soul with a seductive quietness studying for her GED, it was important that the role be relatable for her:
“I’ve stayed away from doing ‘urban film’ because I just don’t relate to the characters. I’m not going to take a role because I happen to have the same skin color… [DOPE] was a passion project and it shows that sometimes following your passions just works out.”
Kiersey tapped into a new personal style after playing Diggy, a young queer drummer:
“Our costume designer, Patrik, knows that when he puts something on me, he’s never getting it back.”
And runway model Chanel who plays the unhinged, ecstasy-taking seductress, Lily, said:
“This was the chance to show people my acting ability, because Lily is the total opposite of who I am. Most people wouldn’t have taken this role because of the nudity, but I’ve done so many shoots topless… I look at it as art. Someone’s got to do it.”