Films Are A New Outlet For Book Publisher ‘UE’ Wynn
In this interview, we delve into the life of Lindel ‘UE’ Wynn, an individual deeply intertwined with the world of filmmaking. Inspired by his unpublished book, “Milk and the Sweet from the Bitter,” he embarked on his filmmaking career with a film called “SIN.” Notably, he collaborated with Tony, Grammy, and Oscar-nominated actor Lou Gossett Jr., bringing a fresh perspective to the industry. He is the CEO of Wynn Publications and the founder of SAVE A H.O.M.I.E. Inc., a local non-profit.
Where were you born and what was your childhood like?
I was born in the South Bronx, a very poverty-stricken neighborhood, more Latin than anything. I stayed there until I was about 11 or 12, then I moved to Queens, Southside Jamaica. It was much better than the Bronx, but it was also poverty-stricken. So I grew up in the slums and had to make the best of it.
How did you end up making the move to North Carolina?
I got incarcerated in North Carolina several years ago. I made some connections while I was down. I got out here and kind of stayed stuck around a little bit.
How are kids different today than back when you grew up?
The influence of social media is significant. Whatever social media projects is really what shapes the outcome of these children. When I was growing up, it was more of a visual thing. You saw certain people move in a certain way, and then you mimicked what you saw. You were taught more hands-on than virtually looking at somebody looking very rich and just trying to mimic that with no skill. It’s just a little different nowadays. You’ll see a person; he might have owned a barbershop and he’s wealthy. You saw a preacher; he was preaching, he was wealthy. If you saw a drug dealer, he was selling drugs, he was wealthy. Now you just go to Instagram, and everybody appears to be wealthy. There’s no mold to get wealthy; it’s just everybody’s rich. It’s very difficult.
What inspired you to begin writing your own novels?
Well, actually, a friend of mine wrote the series Dutch. He’s considered the godfather of urban fiction. I saw him actually create the book. I loved the book. It was very powerful, moving. Just seeing somebody in the same circumstances that I am, I was in at the time, create a novel and tell me that it wasn’t that difficult. It just made me want to give it a shot. He walked me through it, assisted me, taught me to spruce up my vocabulary, which was very important in writing a novel. You’ve got to say the same thing repetitively but you’ve got to say it in different ways. You’ve got to be able to diversify with your words. I had a lot of experiences, and I just wanted to tell them. It wasn’t my particular situations that I wrote about. It was more so what other people saw. I didn’t really have those situations, but I saw a lot of things. That’s what a lot of the novels were based off of.
Why did you decide to start a non-profit organization?
Children. I actually don’t have any children, but I like to try to assist. When I was growing up, there were a lot of people trying to… there were a lot of programs. Even when we were in the slums, there were a lot of programs. I just wanted to give back in some kind of way. Do my part in helping some of the kids. Tell them my experiences so they don’t have to go through it. They can live through it through me. Just try to give back.
Do you think technology is a gift or a curse for our youth?
Technology has its gift and its curse. I think it’s a double-edged sword. I think if you give a child too much technology… kids question everything. It was Santa Claus. When I was growing up, you say it was Santa Claus. Now they be like why? I don’t understand. How is it really a Santa Claus? Google says. You can’t tell a kid a lie no more. You have to be forthcoming with children right now. You can’t just rock them to sleep. They ain’t going for it.
When did you decide to make a move into films?
My friend Kwame Teague and I realized that the book market was saturated and the saturation meant it wasn’t lucrative anymore. There are so many streaming networks for film and we felt like everyone was telling the same story. We felt like we would be able to corner the market with the stories that we would be able to tell. So, we came together for a film. I actually wrote a book called “Milk and the Sweet from the Bitter” that I never published. We took a character out of that and created Sin. When we created Sin, we wanted to do things that had never been done before. We put the script together, and everyone loved it. That’s how we locked in Lou Gossett Jr. When we locked him in, we were excited. Shooting movies was nothing new to me, but working with a Tony, Grammy, Oscar-nominated person like him so everybody was excited. So, we moved forward from there.
How would you describe the role of a producer?
A producer makes everything easier for the team. They assemble the team, acting like talent scouts. A producer works with the director, film crew, a director of photography, and others to bring the movie to life.
Tell us about the team that you have built in North Carolina.
My team mostly consists of family members and a few additions. My cousin, Denzel, is a key member, acting as the producer. We’re based in New York but they work everywhere. Crystal and Evan from Picture Studios are also part of the team. It’s a small but a very efficient team.
What can you tell us about the cast of CREAM?
We were hired to do CREAM. The EP for the project, Dennis Reed, is from Detroit. Most of the main cast members were from Detroit. Crystal The Doll, Mena Monroe, K Deezy. The only one that wasn’t out of Detroit was Inch. The one that played Inch. He’s out of New York. He’s very good. Young, talented young man and does a lot of comedy on Instagram. But we definitely utilized a lot of North Carolinians to shoot the movie since we shot it here. And we actually did the casting for North Carolina at Picture Studios in Greensboro. It was very good, interesting. We picked up some good people. Very talented people that I plan on using in the future.
Why did you decide to do the movie in this state?
Well, I actually live in North Carolina. And after shooting in New York, Atlanta, L.A. I’ve seen…it’s very expensive to shoot in those places. And I have a lot of connections in North Carolina. So the things I was paying…like a club in Atlanta, $2,000 to shoot for two hours. North Carolina was free. I had a lot of things at my disposal here. So I was able to bring the budget down and shoot in North Carolina. My cars are in North Carolina. My friends’ cars are in North Carolina. It was very simple. We own property in North Carolina. So very simple. It just made more sense. And a lot of people don’t know. North Carolina has very pretty scenic places all over the place. So it’s going to be a nice change of scenery for the cinema.
Why should film lovers be excited about this project?
This is…it’s twist. If you like a movie with twists, this is something you won’t see coming. It’s one of those you’ve got to watch it to the end to find out what’s going on. We have beautiful eye candy for the men and the females. It’s a good storyline. It’s not traditional. I mean, it has some traditional traits. But it’s something different from the norm. Something that can actually happen. Not too far-fetched.
Who is the best dressed member of your family?
I’ll keep it real with you; it’s my little cousin Denzel. I’ve got to give it to him. As much as I hate to admit it, I have to give it to him.
Which pro sports team would you buy if you could?
It would have to be the Knicks; they need someone like me so they can win some championships.
What do you think about the growth right now in Raleigh?
It’s growing faster than I can keep up. If I don’t drive down a particular block in about two weeks, there’ll be a whole skyscraper over there. If you don’t go down a block in Raleigh in two weeks, you don’t know what’s going on. You’ll be like, “Did I turn down the wrong block?” It’s growing very rapidly.
What are the best spots to take a date to around town?
In Raleigh? A fun date would be the rooftop at Level 7 in North Hills. The scenery is great; you can see the city from up there. It’s all the way upstairs, and the food, ambiance, and music are nice.
Who would be the lead actor in a film about your own life?
Michael B. Jordan. I just think he’s a really talented actor, you know what I’m saying? I think in my heyday, I had a little attraction going on. I think the girls liked me. In my heyday, I think I was something.
What should people expect to see from you in the future?
We actually have “Medusa” in the works; we just finished writing it. It’s the first time ever we’re going to shoot “Medusa” with an Afrrican-American woman. We also rewrote “Goodfellas” and called it “Hoodfellas,” which we believe will be a classic. We have “Jezebel” on the way, and we’re nearly done writing a comedy. It’s inspired by an 80s movie about a talking penis. In our version, the guy is named Richard, and his penis starts talking to him as it ages. It’s a bit stereotypical, but it gets funny when he takes a supplement called Pink Horsepower and his penis’s voice becomes Michael Blackson’s. It’s going to be hilarious, and I think people will enjoy it when it’s released.
“I would buy Knicks if I could; they need someone like me so they can win some championships.” – UE Wynn