Tag Archives: Hollywood

Anthony Mackie and the Definition of Stardom

I was struck by this exchange between actor Anthony Mackie and Jai Tiggett over at Shadow and Act.

JT: There’s been some talk on our site lately about your career and whether you’ll go on to play the leading man more consistently, in large studio films. Is that your goal, or do you prefer to stay under the radar?

AM: Hollywood’s a business, and until someone puts their finger on you and decides you’re the guy who’s going to carry that movie, it’s not going to happen. So I’m just enjoying the position that I’m in right now and trying to make the most of it.

JT: So would you say that yes, Anthony Mackie wants to be “the guy”?

AM: [Laughs]. Most of the time when you see a movie, the best character in the movie is not “the guy,” it’s the guy next to the guy. So I enjoy playing “the guy next to the guy” because it’s always – in almost every movie last year – the best character in the movie. It’s just fun as an actor to get the opportunity to do something where you can really sink your teeth into it.

What I like about this exchange is that it suggests that Anthony Mackie is incredibly self-aware and very comfortable with the choices he’s making as an actor, regardless of how they might be perceived by the public.

I think it’s somewhat strange to be thinking about “who the next Will Smith will be” partly because Will ain’t goin nowhere and partly because the question suggests that his model is the only model of what it means to be a black movie star.

I think we’re limiting ourselves when we have this conversation. Anthony seems to understand that in a way that I don’t think people appreciate enough. I think he’s quite eloquent in chafing (without chafing, really) at the notion that he’s not “successful” because he’s not a Big Willie. He’s consistently suggested that there are other models for success and that our obsession with Will’s assimilationist model isn’t the only one we should aspire to.

In my mind, the guy that says this:

and this:

isn’t concerned about the Will Smith model. He’s thinking about his own.

We need to start listening to Anthony Mackie, man.

Russell Simmons and His Delusions of a Post-Racial World

Via Alyssa Rosenberg, hip-hop legend Russell Simmons in The Hollywood Reporter drinking the "post-racial" Kool-Aid:

Post-racial America is coming. Sure, it's true that many executives who live in Beverly Hills don't live in one — yet. But many aspire to it and thirst for it in the programming they consume. Hollywood has good intentions but no sensitivity. It clearly have no real understanding of how America is evolving.

Someone needs to take the pin out of the Hollywood bubble, just as they have done within the music industry and the advertising world.

This is utter fucking nonsense.

Continue reading

Casting Actors of Color, ctd.

 

I love how Viola answers Michael Fassbender's question: "I think that African Americans represent 12.5 percent of the population and that is not the demographic that we are targeting in the movie and television industry."

I mean, it's just about the nicest way in the world to say that Hollywood just doesn't give a fuck about black people without actually saying that Hollywood just doesn't give a fuck about black people.

But, seriously, I'm so bored of this conversation centering around when white people are going to be less racist and notice that we are here. It is clear from this roundtable, The Hollywood Reporter's roundtable with director Steve McQueen, the conversation and debates around Red Tails and Pariah, and, shit, the entire history of Hollywood that Black people need to figure out how to make, market and distribute our own films. For us.

How do we get our movies made and into theaters in our own neighborhoods? I can't imagine that if you made a good movie for about $10-50 million and put it in theaters in every black neighborhood in America, that it wouldn't turn a profit. Not everything would, but not every white film turns a profit.

And I'm not talking about getting our own studios and then doing the same thing Hollywood does by targeting white men and hoping black folks will come out of solidarity. I'm talking about what Tyler Perry is doing in targeting black people first, everyone else second, but with a broader slate of films.

I wish someone would start thinking about doing this.

Casting Actors of Color

 

The fact that Jason Reitman, a son of privilege (his father is Ivan Reitman), makes the lone comment, "I'm not stepping into that," after Steve McQueen embarrases the fuck out of six white directors with his challenge to explain why directors like them rarely cast Black and Latino actors is just…

In just three minutes, this video perfectly shows how racism operates.

Black Hollywood, ctd.

 

Mackie is right that it would help if we essentially see Hollywood as less what is and more what could be. This is where Tyler Perry can actually be an important and useful figure – he just did it himself.

But unfortunately Will Smith is the goal. Everyone waiting around to get the big movie that makes them millionaires so they too can make movies that have absolutely nothing to do with us.