“They Cloned Tyrone” puts a new sci-fi twist on the Tuskegee experiments. Its director was brought up in the city where they were taken.

THEY CLONED TYRONE, from left: Teyonah Parris, Jamie Foxx, John Boyega, 2023. ph: Parrish Lewis / ©  Netflix / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Teyonah Parris, Jamie Foxx and John Boyega in They cloned Tyrone. (Photo: Parrish Lewis / © Netflix / Courtesy of Everett Collection)

Warning: Minor They cloned Tyrone spoilers ahead.

Something funky is happening under the streets, and a drug dealer (John Boyega), a pimp (Jamie Foxx) and a prostitute (Teyonah Parris) are about to get to the bottom of it in They cloned Tyronea homage to Blaxploitation meets sci-fi-mystery-comedy from debut director Juel Taylor, who wrote the screenplay with Tony Rettenmaier.

It doesn’t spoil anything that isn’t already in the Netflix trailer to tease that what they find is sure to evoke the Tuskegee Experiment, an infamous series of studies conducted in Tuskegee, Ala. between 1932 and 1972 in which over 400 African American men with syphilis were misled into being test subjects, and over 100 died as a result.

The direct link between tyron and Tuskegee: Taylor, the filmmaker who grew up in small-town Alabama.

“It wasn’t the impetus,” admits Taylor, who also co-wrote Creed II And Space Jam: A New Legacy. “It wasn’t the beginning, but it was definitely in tune with what we were drawing from when we were developing the story. It’s kind of hard not to go back to those experiences, being from Tuskegee.

“But I think where it really came from was more thematically this question of is there a difference between blame and responsibility? And thinking about the people we grew up with, and some of the different trajectories that a few of my close friends’ lives took where things were out of their control, and thinking about how privilege plays into that. Besides, I just wanted to do this bootleg scooby-doo movie [laughs]… The conspiracy came later in this kind of freezing of this gas cloud of ideas. As it became more of a planet, that’s when the conspiracies really started to seep in. And then, of course, the Tuskegee experience was front and center at the time.

star wars alum Boyega says tyron was unlike anything else he had read since the end of that multi-billion dollar trilogy.

“It’s about the notion of freedom,” he explains. “For example, what is freedom when you’ve just been offered these limited options? It was a breath of fresh air for me. ‘Cause I just read a lot of [scripts where the hero] crashes out the window and saves the day. And I wanted to find something more nuanced, something that had something to say, but didn’t take itself too seriously that it wouldn’t be entertaining. And I found that in this script for sure.

Paris (Captain Marvel, Candyman) loved that the screenplay intentionally works with three classic Blaxploitation movie archetypes: the pimp, the prostitute, and the drug dealer.

“We definitely start with stereotypes,” she says. “We take them, we look at them. We have to do this for the reward to work. But what I loved was that we take the stereotypes and then unravel them and you really see who these people are. What they’re wired with, what they’re made of, their ambitions, their desires, their flaws, and we can bring truth and voice to their stories.

They cloned Tyrone is now streaming on Netflix.

Watch the trailer:

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