Melina Matsoukas’ upcoming film, Universal Pictures’ “Queen & Slim,” begins like any modern-day love story — until things take an ugly turn.
“Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith play a couple out on a seemingly typical first date in a deserted diner late at night. The footage begins with playful banter from the couple about what the rest of the night has in store for them.
“Did you think we were gonna have sex?” Turner-Smith’s character teases, before Kaluuya’s character says earnestly, “No, I thought we were gonna hang out, maybe get to know each other.”
But before the two can figure out what they actually want to do, a cop pulls them over for a minor traffic infraction. In a quick 30 second blur that follows, clearly meant to evoke headline-grabbing stories surrounding police brutality, the officer yells and points his gun at the pair before Kaluuya grabs the gun and shoots the officer in self-defense.
Bonded by the tragic accident, the couple flees the scene and the trailer picks up in tempo as the fugitives road-trip across the country. But the two can’t fully escape their past because a video of the incident has gone viral and their faces have unwittingly become symbols of pain and grief.
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Along the way, the thriller evolves into a deeper love story as the two forge a powerful relationship in the midst of such trauma.
“I ain’t gonna bend the world. As long as my lady remembers me fondly, that’s all I need,” Kaluuya’s voice narrates as the two drive through sprawling road.
The film, which serves as Melina Matsoukas’ feature-film directorial debut, was adapted to the screen by Waithe, who wrote the script based on an original idea by bestselling author James Frey (“A Million Little Pieces,” “Katerina”).
“Queen & Slim” hits theaters Nov. 27.