How a Father Tells His Kids to Behave Around Police in ‘The Hate U Give’ | Anatomy of a Scene

The opening scene from “The Hate U Give” starts out on a pleasant, lively day in a black neighborhood. But one family is indoors having an uncomfortable discussion. Maverick Carter (Russell Hornsby) is teaching his children what to do in the future if they get pulled over by police officers.

This scene comes later in Angie Thomas’s novel, on which the movie is based. But the director George Tillman Jr. said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival that he wanted to move the episode to the beginning of the story to establish a mood and set up the characters.

The older versions of two of the children seen here are played by the film’s star, Amandla Stenberg, and Lamar Johnson. But the two don’t appear this time. Mr. Tillman said he had the two rehearse the scene, so they would understand their characters’ back story. But he didn’t rehearse the actors taking part in the actual scene (Kai Ture and Hassan Welch), hoping for a genuine reaction from them as their screen father speaks. “The Hate U Give” opens in theaters Oct. 5.

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