People break down after a couple of hours. All the defenses go down, and there's a kind of communication that if I spent 20 years in a living room with one of these people, I would never, never know as much about them as I do in that one day.
My instinct was that it was Sidney's childhood in the Bahamas that gave him the fearlessness to fight racism. So this documentary was a kind of rounding out of what had begun in that scene in In the Heat of the Night.
A lot of very, very big stars were going down and not being seen or heard from again. Kirk took a huge chance in putting a blacklisted writer's name on the screen and somehow or other, he survived it, like he survives everything.
I did my very first film with Kirk in Detective Story when he was the greatest, greatest star in the world. I fell in love with him, had a crush on him then.
When I became a director, I wanted to convince a very reluctant Sidney into allowing me to go on the journey of his life. Sidney had gone ahead of every other African American actor.
Every actor in the room honored Sidney for being there so many years before. And everybody was so moved to be at a place where history was being made again. It was tangible.
What goes on between a father and a son, which is usually such a private matter, is that they are able to be honest with each other, and be honest with me, as a director. It's just remarkable.