Rick Famuyiwa's riotous, rollicking Dope was the big hit of January's Sundance Film Festival, and now it has a trailer that's as unique as the film itself. "In many ways, a teaser trailer these days has just become a short version of the full-length trailer, as opposed to something that grabs you and teases you and makes you go, 'Whoa, what is this?'" Famuyiwa said in a conversation with Vulture this morning. "This trailer really is a piece unto itself, a throwback to traditional teasers."
And that's fitting, given the retro-leaning tendencies of Dope's flat-topped protagonist Malcolm (played by breakout newcomer Shameik Moore). A modern-day nerd in Inglewood who's obsessed with 1990s hip-hop culture, Malcolm's a walking mash-up, and the Dope teaser takes that notion and runs with it, smoothly blending animation, contemporary social-media interfaces, and 8-bit video-game re-creations with actual footage from the movie. "We wanted it to look like something that would be created by Malcolm and his friends," said Famuyiwa. "It's like we gave them the keys to the kingdom and said, 'Go make the trailer.'"
Famuyiwa's flick finds Malcolm tangling with a formidable array of adversaries — including eccentric drug dealers, wacked-out rich kids, and uncaring college admission boards — but it's nothing compared to what Dope will face when it comes out June 19 in wide release. "It's up against a lot of big tentpoles and dinosaurs and talking teddy bears, but I feel like people have been missing a film like this in the summer," said Famuyiwa. "It doesn't happen much anymore." So he's not sweating all that big-budget competition? "I'm excited about it," he said. "I've always felt that Dope is a big movie in a little package."