Gee Malik Linton - Daughter of God Reddit AMA
(Link to Reddit thread)
Hi I'm Gee Malik Linton, I directed Keanu Reeves in Daughter of God. Ask me anything.
Okay friends, Romans, countrymen...thanks for lending me your ears. This has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I hope I answered all your questions in a manner that far exceeded what you were expecting. Au revoir (That's goodbye in French)
jochiles: Hi Gee. JolovesKeanu here. So glad you are here. Since working with Keanu, have you and he talked about the issues with the changes Lionsgate made to "Daughter of God" and do you plan to work together again in the future. Peace and Love to you.
geemaliklinton: Hey there Jo! Yes we had many, many, many talks about the whole re-edit thing and the LIONSGATE version. And he was actually my producing partner on the movie, as well. As for the future, one never knows. He was actually originally going to be in a really kick ass, Hong Kong action film that I wrote, called THE SEVENTH SWORDS that was gonna be directed by Yuen Woo Ping and Chuck Russell-- that's actually how he got involved with me for DoG. So who knows, maybe that'll resurface one day.
pissedoffseagulls: That sounds amazing and I would love to see The Seventh Swords someday.
LeftyBoi: What’s your most vivid memory of working with him?
geemaliklinton: So many vivid memories. But the one that jumps out at me was the first day of shooting, some middle school kids from Washington Heights freaked out when they saw him. He literally walked over to them and just started shooting the breeze with them. Totally made their day. He's truly a gem of a dude.
00ARYA00: Will you share anything the angel charactor? I have seen both released and directors cut. BTW directors cut was a lot better.
geemaliklinton: Thank you for taking the time to watch both versions! And as a matter of fact, thanks to everyone who took the time. Watching a 2 hour movie is not easy. Regarding the Angel character, that was the first concept that I had regarding the story - but I won't go any deeper (SPOILER STUFF)
LeftyBoi: Awesome thanks for the response man. What’s up with you? What are you working on these days? Anything I should look out for?
geemaliklinton: Currently, ANDRÉ AND ADELINE, a really tragic French love story set in Paris. And then battle royal. Hong Kong action, crime saga, THE SEVENTH SWORDS.
LeftyBoi: Niceee. I’ll check them out!
Berlinized: how is the chance of getting your cut officially released on DVD or streaming services?
geemaliklinton: Oh that would take some kind of divine act or Middle Earth magic, I think.
Berlinized: Isn't it possible using crowdfunding with the support of the main actors to spread the film as it was original intended?
geemaliklinton: Well I'm sure if a big enough stink were made about it, then that might be impetus enough for the studio. At this point over 150k people saw DoG within the last three weeks, and the impact has been very satisfying for me. I only did this movie to give a voice to victims of child abuse and violence against women. To date I've received over 7 thousand inbox notes about the movie, and 47 from victims of abuse. I'm more happy about the 47 people who shared their own stories with me than the 150k people who watched the movie. So I hope that perhaps the movie can continue to find an underground audience, and hopefully be used to educate people and shine a light on that darkness.
Berlinized: that is a already a great outcome and I fully support the your message. I am happy you could show your version. We do need those kind of movies and not yet another remake of an already perfect film which cannot be made better. But hey, as long the fantasy exist to maximize the profit for a studio. I am happy to promote your cut on social media.
geemaliklinton: Well thank you very much. That is much appreciated.
kcg5: You sound like a nice person.
geemaliklinton: Well thank you for that :)
theofanhs: Hey.. Greetings from Greece. Thanks for doing this ama. I guess the promotion worked at least for me. I'll make sure to watch the movie. Does Keanu know about this sub? If not he is more than welcome to post gems from beyond the... Matrix and more.
geemaliklinton: He definitely knows about this sub. And thank you!
YerBaconMeCrazy: Wow, how surreal it must be to read all the comments. Humbling too.
SadCombinationss: Keanu was a producer on the film, did he get any say in the changes that were made?
geemaliklinton: No, not at all. That was only on the studio side. But he was definitely super supportive to me. He's actually the one who fought to have me go to Paris to do my director's cut with Herve de Luze. Without his help, the director's cut would have never happened. So kudos to Keanu for that.
SadCombinationss: Thats great that he was so supportive!
brianx87: What does Keanu Reeves smell like?
geemaliklinton: Great question. He actually smells like paint.
s3rila: Does he have a painting of himself that grow old instead him but smell like a human?
geemaliklinton: You said it, not me. You did not hear that secret from me
Emrikmjornstedt: "How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June... If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that-for that-I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!"
sblinn: Like leather and gasoline.
Houndour: This is what I came here for.
Sno0pyBo0: Hello! Would you like to work with Keanu again? Do you keep in touch with him? Thanks so much and have an excellent day sir!
geemaliklinton: I do keep in touch with him from time to time, and I would def love to work with him again one day. He's the epitome of professionalism. And to be totally honest, he can really actually move in bullet-time.
Sno0pyBo0: Ahh it’s true then...Keanu really is The One
BawlinOnABujjit: Everyone always talks about how humble and great Keanu is and it seems like he genuinely is a great person. However, knowing he's human (hopefully, he might be immortal), what was the most surprising thing to learn about him while spending so much time with him? Thanks for your time!
geemaliklinton: He's very proud of his Asian roots, and that's one thing I didn't know before. But really he's just the most professional and sincere guy I've come across in this business.
Sno0pyBo0: Hi! Thanks for doing this AMA! How did Keanu and Ana react to all the changes made by the studio? Thanks!
geemaliklinton: They both signed on to the movie to tell a story about abuse, and to really expose the hideousness of sexual abuse. So having that focus removed from the movie was hard for everyone involved. We made the movie because we believed in spreading that message.
Sno0pyBo0: We’re thankful for that very important message and for your true vision of what DoG was originally meant to be for the audience. Thank you again.
willowhanna: Hi Gee! As an aspiring director myself, I was wondering who or what inspired you to become a director? Also, do you have any projects coming soon?
geemaliklinton: Omg! I fell in love with books first. I started reading everything and anything I could get my hands on. I fell in love with Dostoyevski, and then by default Andrei Tarkovsky, because I considered him the movie version of Dostoyevski. So, yeah, definitely Tarkovsky did it for me.
irmavep: This seems strange to me because Dostoevsky is so purely emotional and Tarkovsky is... Complicated. More cerebral.
geemaliklinton: For me at its essence, Dostoyevsky's work deals viscerally with human emotion. Tarkovsky, for me, does that as well, but in a mostly abstract way. Solaris and Stalker take up permanent residence in my brain.
irmavep: I'm obsessed with both of them as artists. I agree, they are a part of my brain. Tolstoy and Emma Goldman as well.
geemaliklinton: Emma has one of my fave quotes of all time: When we can't dream any longer we die. WnP this summer for the third time. I'd planned to learn Russian just so I could read it, but Russian is hard.
SadCombinationss: what was it like directing a movie in two languages?
geemaliklinton: Well it was really fun, because since I knew the script, I felt like I was bi-lingual for the entire shoot. Finally, I felt like one of those freaking kickass Europeans (you know the types). But alas, after it was done, I realized that I only knew the words in my script. But my next movie is in FRENCH. ALL FRENCH. So after this AMA it's back to my Pimsleur French class program.
MikeHoncho13421: Is he really as quiet and as nice a guy as everyone says? Kind of a dumb question, but what are his quirks? Does he like just being alone between takes or kind of mingle with everyone on set? Also, can I be in one of your movies? I’ll audition for “nonspeaking ginger bystander #4”. Haha
geemaliklinton: He can be quiet sometimes, yet. But other times he can be really talkative. He becomes the character he's playing, so in DoG, since he was playing this dark, depressing cop, that's how he stayed in between takes. And as for the ginger bystander, absolutely.
MikeHoncho13421: Ha. Thanks.
meowgrrr: If someone is interested in seeing the original version of Daughter of God, is there a way?
willowhanna[M]: If you want to message me I can send you a link
geemaliklinton: There certainly is. You can reach out to me on social media, and I'll point you in the right direction. Or ask the Subreddit organizer.
I'm working hard to succeed as an actress. I get discouraged a lot, especially when I have to change my accent completely, to get more chances. Do you stand any chances in Hollywood without many credits?
P.S: Would love to work with you and Keanu one day and learn more.
geemaliklinton: Oh puleeeze! Just take that discouragement and flush it down the toilette. First of all, accents are awesome. And your accent is you. Yeah, you might not be able to play the role of a New York cop, but who cares, there's a better, more perfect role with with your name on it. But the key is never ever ever ever ever quitting :)
xCornelia_: Thank you but I still have to become an American, if I have to be an actress.
Good luck with your projects.
geemaliklinton: Yeah, accents are definitely important. But lacking an American accent shouldn't be seen as an insurmountable limitation. Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz have, in my opinion, made themselves indispensable as a result of their accents. Good luck to you, and sending you super positive vibes as you embark on your career.
xCornelia_: I appreciate. I have been trying hard to reduce it. (I have a European accent) But I will keep working hard, that is kind of you. Followed you on IG, I will keep checking on your stuff.
Berlinized: hi from Berlin
geemaliklinton: Bigup Berlin!
Berlinized: what are your all time favourite movies and actors?
geemaliklinton: Denzel Washington, Charlize Theron, Keanu Reeves, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Omar Sy, Daniel day Lewis, The Rock
VonZorn: Hello mr Gee sir have you ever had a dream involving Keanu? If so what was it about?
geemaliklinton: Honestly, I think I did have some Neo Matrix dreams back in the day.
GeorgFit: What brand of glasses you wearing on this image?
geemaliklinton: Why? Do you covet them? I love them. They're like my only jewelry. They're from Thom Browne.
GeorgFit: Covet is strong but they're good ;) turning it to serious: what do You, as a director, think about the cool way they used the act of magazine changing in John Wick, and do You happen to have any idea why Hollywood been choosing to use the infinite magazine solution, instead of discovering this cool-magazine-changing solution way earlier? Thank You :)
geemaliklinton: John Wick for me is literally the gold standard in action movie-making. Every single thing they did was done with such perfection. Studying that movie should be standard for all aspiring action directors. And the reason for the 'infinite magazine'? I would say laziness.
GeorgFit: Hoping to see someday a similarly pathfinder directing from you someday ;) and thanks for the double answer, have a nice day!
homoaIexuaI: What’s your feelings on studios having a sort of final say on changes to a movie?
geemaliklinton: Well if they hire a director to direct a movie for them, then they should absolutely have the final say. But for writer/directors I don't think that's the most sensible approach. The problem in my case was that (in LIONSGATE's defense) they really didn't know what the movie was about when they bought it. They really thought it was supposed to be something else entirely. But I will give them credit. They really tried to make it work out. At one point they were were even going to allow me to repurchase the movie from them for $5M, and gave me 5 days to have the money in the bank. I had some really amazing investors that were so supportive of the message of the movie, that I had the $5M in an account for them in 3 days. But alas, some distribution contract BS with another producer got in the way, so there went that... But at the end of the day, it's a business. I don't think directors should be able to do whatever the hell they want, but proper discussion and planning should happen at the outset. Until we had issues during post, I had never actually had a sit down with LIONSGATE.
homoaIexuaI: Thanks for taking the time to answer. I have one more question I’d like to ask, is there anything throughout your career that you’d have done differently?
geemaliklinton: When I was 21 I sold my first screenplay to Polygram Pictures. During a script session with one of the head producers, he had the bright idea for me to direct a music video for one of the acts at their sister company, Interscope. I turned it down. I def regret that. The artist later became a huge success.
homoaIexuaI: Thanks again for answering and have a great rest of the day with this AMA.
Berlinized: I guess it hits one like painting over Mona Lisa with a Simpsons character?
geemaliklinton: Lol! I'm stealing your analogy.
xDolcevitax: Hi Gee. What do you like the most about Keanu? Have a great day!
geemaliklinton: In person he's really freaking funny. I really like that.
liamquane: What was the fallout like to your taking your name off of the film?
geemaliklinton: I don't really know -- but much better than the fallout would have been had I kept my name on it, that's for sure. But I did get a lovely solidarity letter from one of the biggest directors in Hollywood. That was really nice.
liamquane: Do you have any advice on set control?
geemaliklinton: AD, AD, AD, AD. Make sure to have a really amazing AD.
liamquane: Does a filmmaker have to be scared for the future of the industry?
geemaliklinton: Not at all! I think this is a zeitgeist moment we're in right now. With all the different exploitation platforms, I think filmmakers are going to be just fine.
irmavep: Do you have any upcoming projects we can support? Loved DoG.
geemaliklinton: ANDRE and ADELINE is my next movie. It's a tragic French love story that I'm doing with producer Philippe Carcassonne in Paris this summer.
irmavep: I will keep it on my radar! What are telltale signs of a good producer?
geemaliklinton: That's an easy one: One who protects their director.
irmavep: Someone who can stand up to the suits? Cool.
I've heard from peripheral industry friends that spec scripts aren't really bought/produced any more. Also don't worry, I don't have a spec script for you haha. Is this true? Only projects developed as a writing/directing team or commissioned projects.
geemaliklinton: Well I don't know. But I have a good friend who's an exec at one of the bigger studios, and she flipped out recently over a spec script and sent it to me.
irmavep: Damn. You're flipping the narrative. It seems like there's no money for spec scripts. If you had the ultimate dream budget and support - tell us your dream project.
geemaliklinton: Oooh that's an interesting question. It's a sci-fi project that I've had for some time, called SHADE LAND. I turned down a $1M buyout and a $60M budget from a company in China. The budget should be around $120M. But that's my ultimate dream protect right now.
irmavep: Holy shit. That buyout was worthless jack shit but the budget was... Yeah okay the budget was a failure of an offer.
irmavep: Stick with us. I want to hear more about your projects.
geemaliklinton: I'll stick around. This app is on my phone now, so I'll try to answer as many as I can. Hopefully, after the French love story (ANDRÉ AND ADELINE) I'll be able to start on The Seventh Swords. Yuen Woo Ping called it his favorite action script of all time.
irmavep: Well shit. I have some research to do regarding French love stories (thought I had this nailed down)! Thanks for sticking around.
Also researching Yuen Woo Ping... I thought I knew something about film but nah... Thankfully there is always someone who knows more. Thank you for speaking with us!
irmavep: Reminding you to keep us posted on your projects!
liamquane: With what Daughter of God was set up to be about: and I mean this with the utmost respect: what did you think was going to happen when a studio went near it?
geemaliklinton: Good question, and no offense taken. It's a hard one. It's all about business at the end of the day. In a perfect world, a studio should probably not be a part of making a movie like DoG. It's way too risky and provocative. Maybe it might be something they could want to acquire down the line, but you're absolutely right, this wasn't a good fit for them.
NateDawg423: Are you still in touch with Keanu?
geemaliklinton: Yes, good vibes last a lifetime.
NeatWithATwist: If you could recast Keanu for any role in the history of cinema (e.g. as Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird), what would it be any why?
geemaliklinton: Definitely all the Mission Impossibles. And why? Because he'd kill it.
catloving: What about a movie that includes the character Jason Bourne? Somehow both of them (Wick or Mission Impossible) works alongside Bourne in a thriller mystery crime? i can see them being aggressive at start but being bros at the end.
Berlinized: thank you so much for all the great answers. Much appreciated. Keep up the good work.
First you take Manhattan then you take Berlin (well after the French movie you try it in German?) ;-)
geemaliklinton: One of my closest friends is Udo Spreitzenbarth, and he's been trying to get me to do something in Berlin for quite a while. So I def think that's in the cards
liamquane: Hi Mr. Malik Linton.
May I ask, do you have any directorial advice?
Thank you. :~)
geemaliklinton: Editor. Editor. Editor. And make sure you have great script and amazing actors. But all of that means nothing without the right editor.
liamquane: Do you have any advice with dealing with studios?
geemaliklinton: Studios aren't the enemy. They're just company employees that have really fragile job security. The best thing is really good communication, to make sure everyone is on the same page.
liamquane: Are you wanting to get more studio work? Has the Daughter of God made you a "director to avoid" from a studio's perspective?
geemaliklinton: I've been offered some interesting feature stuff from two diffferent studios (one really big studio and the other not so big); and I was offered a Russian mob series. The problem is that I have three projects in various stages of development, and they're all outside of the US, including a production in Hong Kong. So perhaps the Russian mob show will get greenlit for next winter. We'll see. But the script they have needs work.
HipsterXTurtle: Hey there Gee! I’m a massive fan of Keanu, especially in his more recent films such as John Wick and the classic Bill Ted movies too. I was wondering, what kind of a person is Keanu day to day on set? I’ve heard many stories of him being kind to fans but I’ve never heard anything about him on set (I imagine that he’s equally as kind)
Also, what were your first impressions upon meeting Keanu and what was it like working with and getting to know him over a period of a few months?
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all of our questions by the way!
P.S. Is it true that he is immortal? Asking for a friend
geemaliklinton: First impression of Keanu is an interesting one, because all you can really focus your attention on is what would have happened if had taken the Blue pill. And yes, on the immortal thing, but Shhhh, it's a secret.
Cole3003: What was the coolest thing you saw Keanu do (that you remember)?
geemaliklinton: When he didn't know anyone was looking, i saw him rescue a kitten (in bullet time)
Mahimah: What does Keanu eat for breakfast and lunch?
geemaliklinton: You do know he's immortal, right?
Mahimah: Immortals still eat
NewMayorLuigi0G: what's your favorite cheese?
geemaliklinton: Dang. I don't know the name of it, but I had it in Paris. It's orange. When ur in Paris just ask them for the orange cheese
geemaliklinton: Bingo! That's it
NewMayorLuigi0G: Glad I could help! Thanks for talking to me!
anotheroffensivename: Hi gee! What was a weird habit that keanu had on or off set?
geemaliklinton: Hmmm... Honestly I can't think of one.
worzoro: He’s a secret vampire but he’s very polite, he doesn’t suck blood he scrapes and licks
unknown_human: Hello Gee! Thank you so much for doing this AMA.
The original Daughter of God movie (your friend /u/hawkens85 posted it here) was removed from Vimeo recently, did Lionsgate pull it?
geemaliklinton: Well the link had been up for two years, but it was password protected. I put the link up on my IG, and then a buddy of mine called me and asked me if he could post it on Reditt. (AND DON'T FREAK OUT.) But I really didn't know much about this Reddit ecosystem, so I gave him my blessing. But you people are freaking serious over here. In two days it got to 100k views. Now once that happened, LIONSGATE probably freaked out. They always knew about the link, as it had been used to pass around the cut among different execs -- but I think that was just a little too much heat. And subsequently, the SYFY channel was planning to air EXPOSED right around that time, but cancelled it. And I imagine the Reddit exposure had a lot to do with that.
unknown_human: Yeah, it happens all the time in /r/Documentaries as well, once it gets a lot of traffic videos get removed fast.
geemaliklinton: But it's okay... the truth is out there.
iamgazza: I loved the movie. What inspired you?
geemaliklinton: Thank you. It was actually inspired by my mom. She went through a similar situation in life, and that's how I came to be. And that's why in clear conscience, I couldn't support EXPOSED. I made the movie to start a conversation about abuse, and the lingering affects it can have on victims. And then also I lived in Washington Heights one summer and was amazed by their culture, and realized that not many people are familiar with them.
TheMeinMan: Hi there. What were some of your favorite movies growing up? Did you have any directors who you aimed to emulate when you first began directing?
geemaliklinton: Hmm... Growing up, ET, Star Wars, and the God Father. Others that I love are: Wild Strawberries, Do The Right Thing, Pulp Fiction, Once Upon a Time in the West, Brazil, Matrix, There Will be blood, Thin Red Line, The life of Others, Stalker, The Grand Illusion, The 400 Blows, 8 1/2
DareVeritas: Thank you for doing this AMA. I’d love to see the directors cut.
I’ve often wondered how creatives balance the business side of things with artistic freedom. Music, film, literature, art - monetising is a necessary evil because people do have to eat but in what ways does that impact your creative expression?
geemaliklinton: Hello there, u can send me a private message.
I think with expressionistic filmmaking, it's still possible to make a profit. Keep the budget low, don't go over budget, and know your audience. Not every movie is meant to be a blockbuster. But movies also don't need to lose money if the adults in the room are fiscally responsible. But regarding the actual art part, collaboration is key; and fearless producers. Unfortunately, Hollywood is a carnivorous, microcosmic war zone. And more often then not it's the executives that are flailing and trying to stay afloat. One bad decision and they're canned. So they govern from a place of immense fear. And very few of them have the wherewithal to withstand the company firing squad. But Netflix is changing that. And the international filmmaking community is still at large.
DareVeritas: Interesting. I hadn’t considered that perspective.
I work in private health (Australia) and the parallels are astonishing - carnivorous, microcosmic war zone - check!
We have good people doing great, amazing things whilst also meeting that fiscal responsibility. We need to be profitable to continue to provide top tier care (as with important art offset by blockbusters).
As someone who has always been against privatisation but is now effectively sleeping with the enemy I’ve learned that you can be profitable and offset that to better provide healthcare where it’s needed regardless of affordability. Balance, rather than absolutes.
It all depends on the people pushing against the machine so to speak. Thank goodness for them.
Thanks so much for that surprise aha moment. I’ll send you a PM for the directors cut lead now.
KamehameBoom: you mentioned the rock being one of your favorite actors, as is mine, as is Keanu. What would you think would happen if Keanu and Dwayne did a movie together? would the universe explode due to how amazing and down to earth both men are? who would win in a fight?
geemaliklinton: It would be an antimatter collision that would undoubtedly end life as we know it. And Neo Wick would win.
KamehameBoom: id pay to watch that
Prokopik: Is it true that Keanu is immortal?
geemaliklinton: Okay, I'm glad someone finally had the courage to ask this one. And yes, he is. Please do not tell anyone you heard it from me, but yes, he is definitely not like the rest of us.
Rexamicum: How you doing buddy?
Did you always want to be a director or did you fall into the roll?
What's your favourite colour?
What's your favourite food?
Do you like sharks?
Who is your favourite actor to work with?
geemaliklinton: Hey Rex. No, I was originally a man of science. I went to college for physics and was on a pretty direct track to work in academia. But I developed a love for writing, and then eventually contracted the directing virus.
geemaliklinton: Oh, and no favorite color. I really like all of them a lot. Food: a Jamaican dish called Ackee and Saltfish. I Iove everything about sharks. And to date, it would have to be Ana de Armas. She was magical to work with.
Rexamicum: Awesome I'll have to try it out!
I've not heard of her I'll look her up and view some of her films.
JD_Revan451: Lol everyone Loves ADA
Keonishoots: Aloha from Hawaii! I’m late to the party but speaking of sharks... I am currently shooting /directing a shark conservation documentary. We’re featuring sharks from around the globe and I specialize in underwater cine. We have about 85 percent of the film in the can, and we’ re looking for the perfect narrator. Can you get Keanu to agree to be our immortal, bullet-time, kitten saving- huckleberry? Asking on the .0001 percent chance of positive outcome. In reality, just grateful to you for doing this ama and the great insight especially to less experienced filmmakers like me. Aloha!
geemaliklinton: Aloha is literally my favorite greeting of all time. I use it all the time. And your film sounds kick ass. But I'm a huge shark fan (from a distance). And I can certainly ask him. Send me the details and I'll actually ask him for you.
Keonishoots: Unreal! Will figure out how to private message and go from there. Mahalo nui loa! (Thank you very much!)
geemaliklinton: My pleasure. Anything I can do to help a fellow filmmaker. DM me on Instagram
Keonishoots: You got it. Composing the overview now. Thank you again. My apologies in advance for my instagram... it’s full of my pack of little velociraptors (kids).
suddenlystevie: As someone who's heard the name Keanu Reeves daily for the past few years but still doesn't know who he is and what he does, can you tell me who Keanu Reeves is and what he does?
geemaliklinton: Well for starters, he's not human. But he's really nice.