'We Grown Now' film takes place in Chicago; story inspired by 1992 murder of boy at Cabrini-Green

ByHosea Sanders and Marsha Jordan WLS logo
Saturday, April 20, 2024
'We Grown Now' film inspired by 90s murder of boy at Cabrini-Green
"We Grown Now" is now playing. The film takes place in 90s Chicago and was inspired by the Cabrini-Green murder of a 7-year-old boy, Dantrell Davis.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The murder of a child at Cabrini-Green over three decades ago inspired a Chicago director to make the movie "We Grown Now."

The movie opens Friday and is earning rave reviews.

ABC7's Hosea Sanders talked with the boys who give breakout performances as friends making magic in their lives, despite the struggles in the notorious housing project.

The movie is set in the early 90s in Chicago. The character Eric, played by Gian Knight Ramirez, has already learned a lot about survival.

"I'm from Chicago, so I'm pretty proud of myself," Ramirez said. "This is my first film, I was like, 'I'm filming a movie where I live!'"

The characters' imaginations and dreams can take them far from Cabrini. The actors' fresh faces make the story soar.

Blake Cameron James, who play Malik in the film, spoke about was it like when he first got the call to be in the film.

"Honestly, I had no idea where it would go," James said. "I didn't think it would be as big as it is right now."

James reflected on the fun experience filming the movie.

"Of course, it was was oh so fun," James said. "I feel it was also a very necessary story to be told. Me being from the south, I would have never have heard about the tragic shooting."

The actors also spoke about how they relate to their characters.

"I think I can relate to Malik a lot," James said. "He's confident and persuasive. When he sets his mind to something, he gets it done, and he stands up for what he believes in."

"There's similarities and differences between me and Eric," Ramirez said. "A really big thing was he really didn't know how to count. That's not really who I am. I got my report card recently, and I got straight A's... well... one B!"

"We Grown Now" can be seen now at AMC New City, River East, Showplace Icon and the Gene Siskel Film Center.