Datari Turner is always feeling like he’s in a marathon and not a sprint.  The one-time model turned reality-show creator turned film producer, recently spoke to the about his new movie Dysfunctional Friends, working with close friends and the key to longevity in the entertainment industry.

On Dysfunctional Friends being today’s “urban version” of The Big Chill

I always wanted to do a large ensemble cast film like The Big Chill, even like in Dazed and Confused.  I wanted to make a movie that kind of marked a generation of actors that went on to become major stars.  I wanted to do a film and have people 10-20 years from now see the film and have them like, “Oh that was the film such and such became such and such.”  I had a really great time making this film with a lot of people I’ve known ten years plus.  A lot of people in the film world [are my] friends already.  I’m just grateful they took my call and said yes they wanted to do the movie.

On working with close friends…

Everybody is professional.  All of the actors in the film have already had long careers.  When you look at people like Stacy Dash, Regan Gomez-Preston, Megan Good, and Jason Weaver, a lot of these people have been on TV since they were kids.  Everybody is extremely professional.  I think it elevates the work because it’s almost like Lebron James leaving the Cavaliers and going to play for the Miami Heat.  He went to play for the Heat because he was friends with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.  They wanted to bring their A game and be the best they could be.

On what he learned from actor Robert Dinero about having longevity in Hollywood…

I heard DeNiro say something a few years ago that spoke to me.  He said, “Make a list of all the things you want to attain and spend the next 20-30 years trying to get them piece by piece.”  With that, I always feel like I’m running a marathon and not a sprint.  If I can continue to make quality movies, I don’t really care about the box office grosses.  I just want to make good art.  So I would say [to] anyone aspiring to be in this business that wants success to stay at it and just give yourself time because it does take a lot of time.

Here is a clip of Dysfunctional Friends, available now on DVD…

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