Edi Gathegi set out to be a catalyst for change with his latest project, Princess of the Row, which follows him as Bo, a homeless mentally-ill war veteran who can no longer provide for his adolescent daughter Alicia.
Gathegi, who is also one of the producers, says he’s been looking for a project that served a bigger purpose.
“The project was very, very personal. The subject matter was very important,” he says. “I wanted to be a part of a film that could have a cultural impact, that could be a form of activism through the arts. You know, shining a light on the underserved where people usually turn their backs. But bringing that straight to their front door.”
While Gathegi had hopes of a bringing a unique story to light, his co-star Martin Sheen found a meaningful connection to his own character of John, a foster parent who takes in Alicia amid his own struggles and personal loss.
“I think that [John] can understand where Edi’s character is coming from, but he cannot really change the situation,” Sheen explains. “I think that that’s part of all of our tragedies, that we really can’t fix one another.”
“We have to learn a heroic level of compassion, but we can never really fix anyone,” he says of the film’s deeper message. “If we’re lucky, we can make a good attempt at fixing ourselves. That’s the only person we know that we can ever possibly change.”
Princess of the Row is in select theaters and on VOD on November 27.