Filmhounds Magazine

All things film – In print and online

Heading Back To The Hood With Sumotherhood

6 min read
The creative team behind Sumotherhood

This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn't exist.

Eleven years after the hit parody film Anuthahood hit our screens, the creative team behind it are back for a second dose.

Taking its cues and inspiration from the Kidulthood, Adulthood and Brotherhood film trilogy, creator Adam Deacon has taken the world of ‘urban' cultural consciousness and turned it on its head. Released on 13 October 2023, the team's second film is set to build on what fans have seen before, accelerating the laugh-out-loud comedy with more celebrity cameos than a Loose Woman panel.

Unlike their roles in Anuthahood, Adam and fellow creator Jazzie Zonzolo are back as two completely different characters. Riko and Kane have got it all … big dreams, no respect and fifteen grand of debt. Could things get any worse?

Not only are the characters brand spanking new, but so are some of the behind-the-scenes team. Joining the pair on their latest sojourn is producer Finn Bruce. FILMHOUNDS caught up with the trio to find out more about the 11-year itch.

“We went through a lot trying to get the film made, so it feels really good to be in this place now where we're putting out to the world,” Adam explains. It's been a while since viewers have seen him on screens following various trials and tribulations in his life. Evidently, he's all the better for coming out the other side.

“With the pandemic, we've gone through so much right in the world. I feel like people just need to laugh, people need to go out and have a good time. I wanted to put a smile on people's faces and we just wanted to give this film an energy like no other.”

“Adam has always said in the films that he makes, he wants to approach it from a feel-good place, a place where it's not all doom and gloom,” Finn expands. “He's finding the light in those situations, especially at this time, when the audience needs that feel good. That's what he's providing. So still being able to tell stories from that world from in those situations, but with a twist that makes it accessible feels really good.”

Though the good times in Sumotherhood aren't few and far between, putting the pieces together was clearly a labour of love.

“At the time, Adam had come out of hospital, so he wasn't getting any jobs. No one was bugging him to do anything,” Jazzie says. “In my career, I got to a point where I just felt like I hit a ceiling. So when we got together, we were in a similar place. I feel like we went through it together, even though I didn't go through the mental health stuff. Throughout this process, we ended up becoming brothers, because we literally created something where we had come from nothing. It really brought us closer to a whole different place. I moved into Adam's house to make this film. I was sleeping on his couch. We weren't even able to write properly at first because mentally he wasn't there.”

“I had to learn what was going on with him and how to deal with it, which was also brand new and a shock to my system. This film as a whole is deeper than just what we've released. We went through some really hard stuff — and it's not just the mental health. It was also the industry that didn't want anything to do with him.”

“I'm so excited to get Adam back on screen,” agrees Finn. “He has been through such a journey with his mental health, from being sectioned to being diagnosed with bipolar to coming out and showing the world that it's fine to get diagnosed. It's fine to get medicated. Now turn your life around. Because you shouldn't be ashamed. We can't choose what mental health issues we have, and to come out at the end of it and say “You can turn your life around for the good and go out and achieve” is amazing.”

While Adam and Jazzie have undoubtedly grown closer through making Sumotherhood, another thing they share is their love for their ever-growing list of celebrity cameos. Ranging from Ed Sheeran to Jennifer Saunders, one scene after another is full of surprises — none more so than an appearance from the former leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

“Jeremy's amazing. We spoke about it about a year prior to filming and he was just down for it. He just understood the comedy. He knew we weren't taking ourselves too seriously. I think he smashed it. I'm really proud of him.”

Regardless of who is on screen, the entire team is committed to the careful art of parody. Though it all seems like fun and games in the final product, a great deal of craft is put in to get it just right.

“I take each day as it comes. I just try and live each day and stay on a positive vibe,” Adam says about his ability to parody. “Doing this film has really kept me in a really good place. I felt really good for a long time. The reaction to Sumotherhood coming out has just been phenomenal. There's been a lot of love.”

The ongoing issue for all three creatives is the film's marketing as a parody of the ‘urban' genre.

“I hate using the term ‘urban' because it's now becoming a mainstream concept,” says Finn. “But the urban genre music is what everyone listens to on a daily basis. Film is slowly catching up with that. At the moment in the cinema, that choice of when you're spending whatever it is on a cinema ticket, there aren't those same options. It's a fundamental time right now for representation on the big screen, getting bums back on seats — look at Barbie and Oppenheimer. Cinema is back and we are so excited to be following on from those amazing weekends.”

“We've had so many films in this genre and a lot of it is always on the grimy side of London, the drama and the sad parts, the knife crime,” expands Adam. “I feel like what we wanted to do is turn it all on its head and have an action comedy.”

“A lot of the people who talk about the lifestyle and everything are the ones who have never even lived there,” concludes Jazzie. “They're living in their mansions and they're talking from a place where they don't really know. We've lived there and there are just so many good people. Times have changed. It's not like how it was back in the day. That's what we've tried to show everybody — it doesn't matter if you're young or old, whatever we all mix in, we win. I think that's the message that we're trying to send out with this movie. This isn't your normal, typical ‘urban' film. This is a film, period.”

Regardless of taste or sense of humour, Sumotherhood is certainly the jolt of energetic electricity that the British film industry is in dire need of. But are there any other cinematic hoods on the horizon?

“I've always I've lived in the hood,” Adam says. “I do feel like you've got to write about what you know, and there are so many ideas based on the genre. For me, ideas are endless, but I definitely want to do different films. I want to be taken seriously as a director.”

Sumotherhood is in cinemas from 13th October.