David Alan Grier performed a 10-minute, completely unscripted sermon during his first take on the Netflix’s film “They Cloned Tyrone.”
“True story: his first take, we rode with him,” the film’s director Juel Taylor said.
In Taylor’s feature directorial debut, Grier plays a vibrant minister who leads the congregation at Mt. Zion Church of the Holy Ghost, a fictional church set in the made-up town The Glen. Unbeknownst to its members and Grier’s character, the church has been one of the government’s targets in its insidious scheme to hypnotize and control the predominately Black community’s residents via the communion beverage.
Grier’s character enters at a little over an hour into the film, where he begins a sermon about obedience. Taylor says Grier’s first take was a completely unscripted, 10-minute sermon.
“[Grier’s] like, ‘Can I just do my thing on this take? He’s like, ‘Let me let me just warm up.’ I’m like, ‘Do whatever you want to do, please do it,’” Taylor said. “And he does a 10-minute sermon that has nothing to do with the spirit. It was the crazy. He does his whole sermon…people forgot they were the background. They forgot we were on set. I forgot we were rolling the cameras. It’s 10 minutes of the sermon. And then, when [background actors] were completely here, he goes into his lines.”
Taylor referred to Grier’s off-the-cuff moment was mind-blowing. “It might be one of the craziest feats of thespianism,” Taylor said.
Taylor continued: “Just an actor just acting. It was because he wasn’t acting like, he was in his own. I wanted to go give him a Gatorade after every take because he was putting his whole soul into every single take. It was amazing.”
“He took us all to church,” producer Charles D. King said of Grier, who sat in on set during Grier’s performance. Taylor said he’s fondness for the Tony award-winning actor started at a young age.
“I love to be able to talk about David Alan Grier,” Taylor said. “I’ve loved him since ‘In Living Color.’ I was so afraid of ‘Tales From the Hood.’ I’ve been watching him since I was literally like three, four years old.”
“They Cloned Tyrone,” which stars John Boyega, Jamie Foxx and Teyonah Harris, centers on a series of eerie events that thrust an “unlikely trio onto the trail of a nefarious government conspiracy in this pulpy mystery caper.”
The film hit theaters and Netflix on July 21.