The starring role of Smoke was not written specifically for Dominic Lee, but you would not know it once hearing his backstory.
The son of an ailing mother who balances life as a track star and his side hustle to make ends meet – the stories are nearly identical. When describing his debut role in “Charge It to the Game,” Dominic is extremely grateful for his opportunity and recognizes it would not have been offered by many producers in Hollywood.
Speaking with The Blast, Dominic explained that his school closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year at the same time his manager brought him the script for “Charge It to the Game.”
“Everything matches with how I grew up and what I did to provide for my family,” he said about the script. It was a no-brainer for the actor, who is starring alongside some well-known names like Julian Broadus, Curtis Young and Nasir Dean. They made sound familiar as the sons of Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Swizz Beatz.
Dominic also believes it is a “blessing” that so many Black filmmakers are involved with the movie, as well as people who are just getting their start. “I think it’s going to open a lot of eyes … especially with minority people,” Dominic said about the film.
Giving New Stars a Chance
One of the producers responsible for bringing in Dominic stressed how important it was for him to give visibility to Black stars.
“The only way that there is going to be change is when the people who are in a position to make change stop doing it for the cameras,” Enrico says about taking action in Hollywood.
Other up-and-coming stars in the film include Aya Tanjali, TrulyBoyJojo, Emmett Benito, Mauricio Hernández, itzManoloo, Derrick Jason, KBreezo, Fred Degrace, Ayanis, Masika Kalysha, Taylor Schwartz and Trey Johnson.
The producers also explained that getting funding for the movie was a community experience, as local brands like Snoop Coin and Fansmerch have been major sponsors of the project. However, producers are still actively looking for Black-owned business for integration and sponsorships in the movie.
Brandon Piotrowski, Chief Marketing Officer of Chronic Token (CHT), also struck a sponsorship deal with “Charge it to the Game.” We’re told executives loved the fact that CHT has donated money to prison reform, which is an important subject to the producers.
“I want this to be an opportunity for many upcoming entrepreneurs,” one of the film’s execs tells The Blast, adding that, “If I can shine a light, that’s what I hope to do.”
Still Holding a Spot
“Charge It to the Game,” will officially begin shooting in September, but we’re told producers are still in the process of casting some of the roles. In fact, they are actually holding a role for track star, Sha’Carri Richardson, who made headlines after a positive marijuana test barred her from competing in the Tokyo Olympics.
“With her losing her opportunity and then losing her mom to cancer … it makes sense to me, whether she accepts it or not,” adding that the team wants to incorporate her in some capacity.
Other hopeful casting choices include Taraji P. Henson as the mother of Smoke, and we’re told there is a character that would be “perfect” for Justin Bieber … but casting is not holding their breath for Biebs.