George Lucas has been making the rounds this week to talk about the upcoming release of his movie, Red Tails. Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, put up $58 million of his own money toward the film after being turned down by all the major movie houses.
Lucas said executives worried that the majority-black cast wouldn’t put butts in the seats, even though that cast includes Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr.,
up and comer Tristan Wilds, Ne-Yo and Nate Parker. The director, also a black man, is Anthony Hemingway.
“They don’t believe there’s any foreign market for it and that’s 60 percent of their profit…I showed it to all of them and they said ‘No. We don’t know how to market a movie like this,’” Lucas said during an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
On social networks and in private conversations, many black people have answered Lucas’s revelation by telling their friends and family members--and anyone else who will listen--that it’s imperative that they see the movie when it opens on January 20. According to the New York Post, there is a screening scheduled at the White House.
Those who have seen early screening have raved about Redtails. Among those who plugged the movie was Nick Saban, head coach of the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide. He took his team to see the movie prior to their thrashing of LSU earlier this week.
“We went to see the movie Red Tails last night, which I would recommend to anybody, but those guys’ motto was the last plane, the last bullet, the last man, the last minute, we fight,” Saban said after the game.
I hope that as many folks as possible will pack the theaters on opening weekend.
We certainly need a break from the typical buffoonery that is passed off by the movie industry as representative of our stories. (And yes, I am including the Tyler Perry movies that so many people love.)
Just the imagery of the men portrayed in the trailer is worth the price of admission. Whether the film gets the story of the famed Tuskegee airmen exactly right is beside the point. It’s just important for everyone who has a story- regardless of race, gender or sexuality - to tell them and spread them as widely as possible. That ensures that history isn’t simply somebody else’s story.
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