Written by: Special Interview Exclusives

Exclusive interview with Stephen Bishop & Raven Magwood Goodson For “Finding Tony” Film!

Special Exclusive Interview with Steven Bishop, star of Finding Tony and Raven Magwood Goodson, Director by interviewed Shamika Minisee!

Shamika : I’m Shamika Minisee. I am an interviewer and contributing writer for K.I.S.H. magazine. It’s my pleasure to meet the acquaintance. I look forward to the movie’s release on May 10th and watching. 

Shamika :  Steven, your role in Finding Tony deals with mental health issues and alcoholism. How did you prepare for such a complex role?

Mr. Bishop:  I have not experienced those issues in my life. I have faced personal traumas and was dealing with them at the time of filming. Drawing from my real-life emotions, I allowed myself to empathize with Tony’s situation. My personal struggles helped me portray Tony authentically, showcasing his depth and challenges as he navigated through difficult times.

Shamika: Raven, the next question is for you. May I ask what drives you and drive your passion for filmmaking?

Raven: It all started quite unexpectedly. I’ve always believed that there’s a purpose behind every event, so I hesitate to label anything as accidental. When I was younger, my journey as an author began when a teacher suggested that I document my experiences and accomplishments as a 12-year-old national champion. Little did I know that this simple project would eventually transform into a best-selling book. This incredible experience ignited a fire within me for writing, and I soon found myself drawn to the world of screenplays. There’s something magical about bringing characters to life on the big screen that truly captivates me. Collaborating with Robin Givens on our first film, “Trail,” was an incredibly fulfilling experience that solidified my chosen career path. Inspired by this success, I decided to revisit a screenplay I had written almost ten years ago, and that’s when “Finding Tony” came to be. With the help of an exceptional cast, including the talented Kendall Justice as our lead actress, this project became a reality. I find immense joy in evoking emotions from audiences through my writing, whether it’s tears, laughter, or any other sentiment. This unwavering drive is what keeps me motivated to create impactful content that resonates with viewers.

Shamika: Steven, the floor is yours. Being a former professional athlete, how did your sports background play a role in discovering Tony?

Steven: You know, having been an athlete myself and experiencing interviews, coaching, and all the challenges that Tony faced in the movie, I could really empathize with his struggles. Even though my Retirement from sports was different, transitioning into coaching allowed me to relate to Tony’s journey of getting back on the court and experiencing the game from a new perspective. It was almost like fate for me to play this role, given my background as a former athlete turned coach.

Shamika: Raven, your journey as an author and motivational speaker has taken you across the globe, empowering young women everywhere. How has this incredible global perspective shaped your approach as a director?

Raven: My work is undeniably influenced by my desire to inspire others. As a motivational speaker, I aim to connect with people on a deep level, especially those who have faced similar challenges and hardships. Whether it’s women who have tragically lost their children or individuals like Alex who are going through difficult times, I draw inspiration from their experiences. Unlike my own upbringing, which was filled with love and support from my parents, I rely on the stories shared with me by teenagers, women, athletes, and even my husband, a retired NFL player. These encounters allow me to create authentic and relatable narratives, rather than simply conjuring up fictional tales. While my latest project, “Fighting Tony,” may not be based on a true story, it incorporates elements from the real world. Ultimately, my travels and experiences as a speaker greatly influence my work as a writer and filmmaker.

Shamika: We appreciate your feedback! As we near the conclusion of our conversation, I want to highlight the importance of finding a balance between your work and personal life. How do you manage to maintain that equilibrium in your profession?

Steven: Oh, you know, I just go with the flow. Living each day and each hour as it comes. Right now, my daughter is right here next to me in bed. I’m in Las Vegas for a speaking engagement at the Boys and Girls Club, where she’s a member. I brought her along, and this interview popped up. I checked my schedule, saw I had an hour to spare, and here we are, still in our room, just waking up. After this, we plan to explore Vegas, have a rehearsal, and then the event. It’s all about being present, managing my time well, and showing up for everything. Being a good father is my motivation to stay balanced and be there for her. It’s all about finding that equilibrium, you know? And I believe I’m doing a good job at it. Just showing up and being in the moment helps me juggle everything as a professional.

Shamika: Thanks for that. Raven, could you share with us your experience working alongside NBA All Star player Anthony Davis in the movie Finding Tony? What’s it been like collaborating with him?

Raven: Working with someone of his caliber in the film industry has truly been an incredible experience. Having the opportunity to collaborate with his production company and partner with our distributor is simply amazing. It’s not just about the perks that come along with it, like getting hits and benefiting from his involvement, but also the genuine love and excitement he brings to the table. We’ve had the chance to attend several events together, and during one of those occasions, I had the privilege of interviewing him. It was evident that he is down to earth and genuinely thrilled to be part of the executive production team. It’s truly a blessing to have my family, including my mom and husband, involved in this project, and to have David and his team on board is just awesome. I find it incredibly gratifying that we are able to merge these different worlds, and it’s even more special knowing that someone of his stature is a super fan of the show. It’s going to be pretty cool, that’s for sure!

Shamika: Raven, as we approach the end, I came across the news that you have organized a private screening at Clark Atlanta University, an HBCU. This is truly an exhilarating endeavor! I’m curious, what inspired you to arrange this event? And what are your expectations for the students attending?

Raven: Excitement fills me as we commence this journey, knowing the story’s captivating nature. My enthusiasm overflows as I share a glimpse of my own narrative. As a young black female director, writer, and producer, my primary aim is to motivate others, which is where it all began. Our film premiered in Indianapolis alongside Anthony Davis, resulting in resounding success. The audience’s reaction was exceptional, particularly two young women in their early twenties who approached me afterward. They congratulated me and expressed how genuinely inspired they were by my story. They appreciated not only the character Tony but also the remarkable journey I undertook. They even suggested expanding the screening to a broader audience. This excitement validates the potential impact of my story. Let’s ensure we deliver the inspiration they seek and value. I am deeply devoted to this project and grateful for bringing it to life.

Shamika: When it comes to capturing the pulsating intensity of basketball scenes on screen, how do you approach it?

Raven: It truly exemplifies the power of teamwork. Undoubtedly, our talented actors delivered their best performances, as they united their efforts to bring the material to life. Each individual embraced their roles wholeheartedly, aiming to convey the essence of the story not only to the American audience but also through their dedication to the craft of basketball. Their commitment made our job easier, allowing us to discuss the desired camera angles. I could confidently share my vision with staff, knowing that they would flawlessly capture the essence of the scene. This seamless collaboration enabled us to authentically capture the intensity and maintain its genuine nature.

Shamika: What attracted you to the project and what steps did you take to land the role of Tony in the film?

Steven: Version 1: The moment I was drawn to this role and how it all unfolded is quite interesting. It all started with a call from my agent, who had received the project from Raven. We both read the script and I instantly fell in love with it. The character was so well-written and had such depth. The artwork was simply breathtaking. It was a redemption story, which always resonates with me. What really excited me was that it was a departure from the roles I had played before. I had often been cast as the love interest or part of a couple, but this time, it was all about Tony’s journey. As an actor, it was a huge milestone for me to be the number one on the call sheet, leading the ensemble. I had been in the number two position many times, but this was my first time taking the lead. I was grateful for the opportunity. It was a chance for me to showcase my skills and prove to myself and the world what I was capable of. I had received positive feedback in the past, but this role allowed me to truly challenge myself. With Raven’s guidance, I was able to fully immerse myself in the character. The emotional arc for Tony was immense, and I knew I had to give it my all. I was determined to bring my A-game every single day on set. Working with Raven was a dream come true. She gave me the freedom to explore and trusted my instincts. If she had any notes, she would calmly and gently guide me. It was a collaborative and supportive environment, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work we created together.

 

Photo Cred of Stephen Bishop’s photos (only):  Jeff Forney
Photo Cred of Raven: Courtesy of Raven Magwood Goodson
Last modified: May 2, 2024