Sundance 2023 Interview: ‘Rye Lane’ Stars Vivian Oparah And David Jonsson On Their Fresh Hip-Hop Rom-Com

Sundance needed a breath of fresh air this year, and Raine Allen Miller’s romantic comedy Rye Lane delivered. Bringing an ’80s South London vibe, old school hip-hop energy, and grand gestures of young love, the film also introduces two irresistible Black lead characters; Yas, played by Vivian Oparah, and Dom, played by David Jonsson.

I’m pretty sure my friends in Park City got sick of me praising Rye Lane for the entire of my time at Sundance. But it’s a film that spoke to me in ways that are both surface-level, such as its use of the Salt n Pepa track “Shoop” and appreciation for A Tribe Called Quest, and others deeply-rooted. I felt a real connection to Dom, who is an untraditional Black male character in the rom-com space.

It was my pleasure to be able to spend a few minutes talking with Vivian Oparah and David Jonsson about Rye Lane. In this absolute blast of a conversation, we discussed what drew them to Miller’s stylish love story, their closeness to these unique characters, and the obvious chemistry they had together on set. I also talked with Jonsson about Dom and how he is different from the way other Black men are depicted in the rare rom-com that features them.

You can check out the interview below, and then read my review of Rye Lane here. The film hits Hulu on March 31st.

Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.