Credit: Vertical

Parallel Interview: Aldis Hodge Talks Multiverses & Working With Danielle Deadwyler

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Parallel co-writer, producer, and star Aldis Hodge about the sci-fi thriller. Hodge delved into the process of making a smaller movie about the multiverse and how the film is something of a family affair. Parallel is set to release in theaters on February 23 and through video-on-demand platforms on February 27.

“Parallel follows the story of Vanessa (Danielle Deadwyler) who takes refuge at her family’s lake house to grieve after suffering the loss of her child,” reads the film‘s official synopsis. “Accompanied by her husband, Alex (Aldis Hodge), and his brother, Martel (Edwin Hodge), Vanessa attempts to regain her sense of normalcy after the tragedy. But soon after their arrival, she experiences an aberration when she is attacked by a parallel universe’s version of herself. Faced with the reality that multiverses exist, she must reconcile the fact that these parallel gates will either hold the key to releasing her grief or trapping her forever.”

Tyler Treese: There’s a lot to be proud of in Parallel, especially because you have your hands all over this film. What was most fulfilling about co-writing, producing, and then starring in this movie?

Aldis Hodge: The whole process, but honestly, getting it done. That was the thing that was most fulfilling. Being able to just knock it out and complete it because it is a daunting task from start to finish. You hope that you will finish, which is the most surprising thing. Because not everybody makes it across that end line. But yeah, the fact that we were able to field this opportunity, to take it on and get it done … that was really the most fulfilling thing.

This is coming out at such a great time because we’ve seen multiverses become so popular in pop culture, but usually, they’re very grand. They’re very over-the-top, but this is very character-focused. What did you like about doing this very much more grounded version of parallel worlds and multiverses?

The thing that was most appealing about this was that we get to focus on the relationships as you said. We are a much more quiet, smaller environment when it comes to the … I don’t want to say the gravitas of the scenario, but it’s not as grandiose as what we have seen.

It is intentional because we get to focus on the subtlety of their relationships and the changes, the differences — all the little nuances that make you think twice, make you have to pay attention, make you have to go back a second time or a third time and look a little more closely. So that was the challenge that was presented, which, for me, was the fun. And figuring out how to make that as exciting in this version as it was for me in the original version that I watched.

You have some great scenes with Danielle [Deadwyler] in this film, with some being really heartbreaking. Can you speak to her as a scene partner?

Danielle’s incredible, man. She is a beast of a talent. We are so grateful to have had her and I’m really happy. For me, when I work with anyone, I’m always looking for teachers — people that can make me better, people that I can learn from and grow from as an artist and as a creative. Danielle is of those people. You just watch her process and watch how she gets down. She comes fully prepared, but she is really sharp and she’s really giving and a very humble person.

One of the greatest qualities about her is that she’s just a beautiful spirit, you know? She gives her all — 150%. The task that we were taking on with trying to knock this film out. Low budget and the short time … we needed somebody who was going to be able to come in, execute, and do so with ease and grace. [Laughs]. And she was that times a thousand. So we were very lucky to have Danielle.

This is such a great part for you as an actor too, because your character is dealing with grief. He lost his son, and then that has impacted his relationship with his wife. We get to see that played out through multiple versions of Alex and his wife. What did you like most about getting to explore that same relationship, but through so many different lenses and slight changes?

As an actor, honestly, it gave me more notes to play. I may seem a little surface, but it is the truth. I’m always looking for the challenge. The thing that I love the most about this film, personally, is the challenge that it presented. There was the fact that I did have to play several versions of myself. With any role that I’m playing, I always want to do something different. I never want to play the same role twice. I’m always trying to figure out how to distinguish them as much as possible.

In this film, the only challenge for me was that. “You’ve got one job: make all these people different.” [Laughs]. Similar but different, because they are still cut from the same cloth, but they represent different facets of the human makeup. The spectrum of emotions. So I had to figure out who represented which emotion. That, to me, was just a lot of fun. To be honest with you, I’d love to do something like that again.

This is a family affair. Your brother also co-wrote and stars in the film, and you’ve got your production company. What’s most special about working with him? Brothers can clash sometimes. Are you mostly on the same wavelength creatively? How was the writing process?

Oh, the writing process was great. It was easy between us. Hodge Brothers production is actually my brother and I with our mother as well. Because our mother, she has supported and started out managing our careers and then started bringing all the team members and the agents and the other managers and she sort of oversaw everything. Itt was natural for us to get to this point, you know? And move to the next chapter of where we want to be in this industry. So my brother and I, with this process … it was really harmonious between us because of the fact that we both knew what we wanted. We both know where our weaknesses and strengths lie.

We rely on that. We carry each other whenever we need to, so when it’s breaking story or putting down the words, all that kind of stuff, we’re bouncing back and forth trying to reach for and dig out the best possible result at the end of the day. This is something that my brother was really motivated about when it came to writing. He really took up that torch and ran with it. He was really excited about it, so I was happy to see that fire in. It was also inspiring. With my bro, man, we just had a good time going back and forth and it was actually a seamless process. Very seamless.

I’ve really enjoyed you in the DC animated Tomorrowverse. Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part One just came out, and in that, you didn’t just voice John Stewart — you got to do Power Ring, which is this Earth 3 evil version of Green Lantern. What did you like most about voicing that version of the character?

Honestly, animation is always fun because you just get to let go and do whatever you’ve got to do and you don’t have to worry about all the rest. All you focus on is putting it right there. I’ve been voicing Lantern, I want to say, since 2018. That was the first time that I was presented with having to do a different version of Green Lantern. So for me, I always want to make them sound cool.

The thought in my head is just, “Don’t be corny.” [Laughs]. You know what I’m saying? Like, “Come on man,” because I know what it’s like for me I grew up on the Phil LaMarr version of John Stewart. To me, Phil LaMarr is the GOAT when it comes to this kind of stuff, right? So I’m like, “All right, just be as cool as him. Just try to be as cool as him, and you’re good to go.”

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