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Teyonah Parris, Nick Cannon & Wesley Snipes star in a New Clip from Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-Raq’

Courtesy of: http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact
Written by Tambay A Obenson
20th Nov 2015

 

 

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Amazon Studios has set the release date for Spike Lee’s much-discussed next joint, “Chi-Raq,” for December 4, 2015 in a theatrical release deal that involves both Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate (noteworthy as both have previously teamed up on prestige film fare).

The film’s cast includes rising star Teyonah Parris and multihyphenate and Nick Cannon, as well as lauded veterans like Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris, Wesley Snipes, and D.B. Sweeney. Singer/actress Jennifer Hudson also features.

“Chi-Raq” is a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes. After the murder of a child by a stray bullet, a group of women led by Lysistrata (played by Parris) organize against the on-going violence in Chicago’s Southside, creating a movement that challenges the nature of race, sex and violence in America and around the world.

Spike Lee directed the film from a screenplay he co-wrote with Kevin Willmott (writer and director of the woefully underseen 2004 mockumentary, “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America”) – an effort to shed light on the very serious, but often overlooked issue of violence in inner city Chicago.

At the time of the film’s pickup by Amazon Studios, Ted Hope, Head of Motion Picture Production, said, “Spike Lee is one of the most distinct and visionary filmmakers of our time. It would be impossible to find a better filmmaker with whom to launch our studio. He has a unique voice, a distinct eye, and he tackles important subjects with humor and heart, pointing to solutions and not exploiting the problems. ‘Chi-Raq’ may be his greatest, and definitely his boldest film yet–everything about it is distinctive.”

Spike Lee added: “I’m honored to be part of the film that will launch Amazon Studios and to tell a story that is so important. Please don’t be fooled by the title of ‘Chi-Raq.’ This new Spike Lee joint will be something very special.”

As noted, although it has yet to be released, the film has been at the center of much debate, at first over the use of the portmanteau “Chi-Raq” as its title, and currently, criticism of the still unseen film based solely on its recently-released trailer.

Spike Lee has been candid about all the controversy surrounding “Chi-Raq,” directly addressing the uproar, emphasizing that it is indeed a serious film – a work of satire that’s essentially designed to shake up the status quo: “People, this film is not a joke,” Lee has said repeatedly.

With December 4 looming, everyone will finally get to actually see “Chi-Raq” and hopefully then have informed discussions on its merits.

Ahead of its release, watch the official trailer for the film featuring Samuel L Jackson, Teyonah Parris, Nick Cannon, Michelle Mitchenor, Jennifer Hudson, Harry Lennix, DB Sweeney, Angela Bassett and Wesley Snipes.

Turmoil as Michael B Jordan Given Role of Johnny Blaze in Fantastic Four Reboot

Written by Lamar Fergus-Palmer
03.03.14


Michael B Jordan is Johnny Blaze in Fantastic Four Reboot.

MICHAEL-B-JORDAN_HUMAN-TORCH_JOHNNY-STORM_FANTASTIC-FOUR_It’s a story that has continued to rumble on since it was announced, and one that has caused uproar among die-hard comic book, superhero movie fanatics.

The news that has caused controversy is that Michael B Jordan, previously known for his roles as Wallace on The Wire, Alex in Parenthood and Steve Montgomery in the 2012 supernatural movie Chronicles has been handed the role of Johnny Blaze (aka the Human Torch) in the Fantastic Four reboot, which is due to be released in 2015.Fantastic-Four-marvel-comics-5205641-1280-960-650x400

But what has caused the uproar? Is it that because up until this point Michael B Jordan hasn’t had many film roles? Is it that he’s only 27? No, what’s causing an issue among die hard comic book fans is that Michael B Jordon is African-American, and Johnny Blaze (The Human Torch) has always been played by white actors he is also white in the comic books.

So with the above in mind, is an African-American actor cast into a role that was previously seen as a Caucasian role, good news or bad news for the fans of the comic books?

Should the race of the Human Torch matter at all? White, Black, Asian, Hispanic; well I don’t think it should matter at all, after all isn’t this all fiction – in the world of fiction anything can happen cant it?

What’s the real issue for fans?

Die-hard fans of the F4 series are arguing the following:

·         The Human Torch has always been a white character, so why change now?

·         Audiences might be confused by the change.

·         But the ‘main’ point that is being argued; is that with a black Johnny Blaze, you cannot have a fantastic-FF-18R_fwhite Sue Storm (who has already been cast as Kate Mara in the new reboot, a white actress) as the two are historically brother and sister.

Of course, the counter-argument to all the above points is:

·         Many films have made the same change without any issues. For instance, Heimdall, the fictional character, based on the Norse god Heimdallr has been portrayed stoically excellently by Idris Elba in the Thor movies.

·         Furthermore, the family argument makes it sound like there isn’t a mixed-race family in existence? There has never been white & black twins born to the same mother, it’s just impossible by any means. Even more so when you take into account that the film is about four people who go into space and gain superhuman abilities, isn’t everything possible!

Therefore, when logic is applied to the arguments, the change should cause no issues at all. However, that would be far too simple for some.

On the other side of the coin…black super hero fans have finally seen….

The rise of black characters as superheroes and the transformation of original black comic book heroes onto the big screen in recent years.

There have been a number of previously white roles cast to black superheroes over the past few years.

Samuel L Jackson portrays Nick Fury brilliantly.
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Don Cheadle has a lead role in Ironman. In fact, for a short time in Ironman 2, he wore the suit and engaged in the action. Anthony Mackie is soon to be seen as Falcon, the sidekick to Captain America in the new Winter Soldier movie due for release on 28th March 2014. Perry White is played brilliantly by Laurence Fishburne in the Superman reboot.

Last but not least, Jamie Foxx spider-man-2-electrowill be Max Dillon/Electro in the new Spiderman 2 reboot, which is due to be released in April 2014.

Even with the above characters and several others, many comic book and superhero film fans are arguing that there are still; not enough black characters in superhero/comic book adaptations on the big screen.

Ultimately, with any movie role, not just in this genre, colour shouldn’t be a controlling factor. Still we understand that black superhero fans may not be too happy to see the Black Panther cast as a Caucasian superhero, but with all the recent changes could black comic-book fans still complain – probably!

As with any film role it should always be that the man or woman cast into a role; should be the person best suited to play that role as chosen by casting, regardless of their race.

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This is why there is no doubt in our minds (at Kush Films) that Michael B Jordan will make a fantastic Human Torch, and hopefully he will spur on a new generation of black superhero movie characters for the future.

We here they are looking at making a movie version of the Black Panther, which has been discussed for a number of years and hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later.

 

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Anthony Mackie as Falcon