A young woman rapper from New Jersey doesn't sound like the star of a summer hit. But after Patti Cake$ received rave reviews at Sundance in January, the indie film's titular character is indeed poised to charm audiences this summer.
The first trailer for Patti Cake$ debuted on Wednesday, introducing us to the unconventional coming-of-age story about a young woman named Patricia (played by Aussie Danielle Macdonald) living in the grey Jersey suburbs who finds her path as a rapper. And based on this first look, Patti is both sweet and tough; the film, funny and sincere.
"I really understood [the character], but I didn’t know how to physically be her," Macdonald told Entertainment Weekly of her first starring role. To figure that out, she worked with Brooklyn rapper Skyzoo, who "just got me out of my head and helped me find how I move to the rhythm of it," she said. "A lot of it was just finding the confidence."
The 25-year-old also got coaching from her first-time director, former indie rocker director Geremy Jasper (who, as EW notes, is best known for Florence + the Machine’s visually compelling "Dog Days Are Over" music video). "Writing rap lyrics is my secret superpower. I’ve been doing it since I was eight years old," Jasper told IndieWire earlier this year. "I was in a rap group in high school and made beats after college."
And Macdonald was just as important in Jasper's creative process as he was in hers. "Workshopping with my actors and developing those characters over 18 months before we shot was an enormous breakthrough for me," he told IndieWire. "Especially Danielle, creating Patti with her is what made it real and helped channel my writing and figuring out the story."
Patti Cake$ hits theaters August 18.