Ava DuVernay On Creating A Love Story In New Show

Ava DuVernay has created the new series ‘Cherish The Day’ that’s all about love. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the creator and stars Xosha Roquemore and Alano Miller about the OWN series, which premieres Feb. 11.

Ava DuVernay just wanted to make a love story and that’s exactly what she did with Cherish The Day. The new OWN series premieres Feb. 11 and follows the relationship between Gently James and Evan Fisher, who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. Over the course of the 8-episode season, significant moments in Gently and Evan’s relationship will be showcased — from the extraordinary to the everyday. The full season will chronicle 5 years in Gently and Evan’s lives. HollywoodLife sat down with the creator and executive producer, as well as Xosha Roquemore and Alano Miller, to talk all things Cherish The Day.

“I work on a lot of heavy topics. I deal with social justice and history and politics. Even within the family drama that I created for OWN, Queen Sugar, there a lot of politics and cultural institutions that we tackle within it. I was interested in doing something with all that stripped away and you just focus on the relationship between two people and challenge ourselves to do that day-by-day and to really see with the nuances of that could be,” Ava told HollywoodLife at the show’s press junket. “As a black filmmaker and a black creator, in writing the script it was a challenge to create it day-by-day which also helped me exercise creative muscles. All that adds up to something that feels familiar, but also adds a bit of a foreign quality because we have not quite seen this with black people. I wonder if it’ll work, but we’ll see pretty soon. Because one of the things that you’re asking people is to suspend knowledge of what happened between the first episode, which happened in one year, and the second episode which happens in another year. We see creators like This Is Us and all kinds of folks playing with that but I want to push black creators to play with time a little more.”

Ava also opened up about why she cast Xosha and Alano as her Gently and Evan. “They were highly capable and talented skilled actors. I think one of the things that attracted me to both of them was the fact that I had not seen them in lead roles before,” Ava continued. “I watch a lot of our actors really closely because of all the work that I do. I see a spark in people and I see what the industry does to that spark. It lets it stay a spark and never lets it become a bonfire. Where we have actors who are not black [who] might have that little spark, it’s nurtured, it’s grown, it’s made into what it should be. So with this, it was very purposeful to give this opportunity to be a leading man and a leading woman to two of our brightest talents of their generation and as they come together and do this so that we can hopefully set you off on a path where you do more of it.”

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Xosha and Alano discussed what they’ve learned about love as they’ve explored Gently and Evan’s love story. “I think I might look at some different types of guys who I might not have been interested in,” Xosha said. “I could open up to guys who are different than me. These two characters are pretty opposite and come from two different worlds and I think I tend to gravitate towards guys who come from my own world, who have a similar perspective from me, and now I’m like, ‘Wait, there might be some creams and some coffees I usually don’t touch on.’”

For Alano, this show has made him reflect more on the small moments in life. “I think it’s moments for me, you know. This show is about moments,” Alano said. “In this time when we’re just mashing everything together, we’re always busy, we’re always doing something. We don’t actually get a chance to take a breath and take people in and connect, so this show is a great reminder of that. It definitely reminded me of that. To look into a person’s eyes, see them for who they are. It doesn’t have to be epic. It can be something simple and we can cherish that.”

Cherish The Day will have a two-night premiere on Feb. 11 at 10 p.m. and Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. The 8-episode anthology series will continue to air on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.