George Lucas: Hollywood Didn't Want To Fund 'Red Tails' Because Of Its Black Cast

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    Jan 11, 2012 11:38 PM GMT
    "In an appearance on The Daily Show last night, George Lucas said that he had trouble getting funding for his new movie, "Red Tails," because of its black cast.

    "This has been held up for release since 1942 since it was shot, I've been trying to get released ever since," Lucas quipped to Jon Stewart. "It's because it's an all-black movie. There's no major white roles in it at all...I showed it to all of them and they said no. We don't know how to market a movie like this."

    "Red Tails," which stars Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Terrence Howard, is based on the Tuskegee Airmen, the group of pioneering black pilots who fought in the United States' segregated armed forces during World War II. The movie is directed by Anthony Hemingway, the rare black director getting a chance to direct a big-budget feature.

    Last week, Lucas told USA Today that he was worried that if Red Tails was a failure, it could have negative repercussions for black filmmakers. "I realize that by accident I've now put the black film community at risk [with Red Tails, whose $58 million budget far exceeds typical all-black productions]," he said. "I'm saying, if this doesn't work, there's a good chance you'll stay where you are for quite a while. It'll be harder for you guys to break out of that [lower-budget] mold. But if I can break through with this movie, then hopefully there will be someone else out there saying let's make a prequel and sequel, and soon you have more Tyler Perrys out there."

    Source Huffington Post: 1/10/12 02:12 PM ET Updated: 1/11/12 09:46 AM ET
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    Jan 12, 2012 12:30 AM GMT
    AMoonHawk saidAnd you are getting this information from where?
    and if the movie was made in 1942 ... why would you release it now ... who is going to go watch it if it is dated ... certainly Spike Lee and others have money to produce or release it ... then why don't they? ... probably because it is a bomb that would loose money ... would you want to purposely invest money in something that you know you are going to loose your money in?


    I think Lucas meant it's a story that's been waiting to get told, rather than a movie that didn't get released for a while.

    Also the major studios probably didn't want to finance a movie without actors that draw crowds. Cuba Gooding, Jr has seemed like a dud for a while to me and Terrence Howard hasn't seemed to be a lead in anything too big either.
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    Jan 12, 2012 12:43 AM GMT
    Yep, the only bankable black stars in Hollywood are Will Smith and Denzel Washington.

    And big-budget movies without bankable stars need to be franchises (like Transformers or James Bond), or from comic-books, hit novels, or musicals.
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    Jan 12, 2012 12:45 AM GMT
    Lucas probably has a net worth of over $3 billion. So not really a guy with money problems.

    As to the 1942 date, um, Lucas wasn't born until 1944. The referenced date was to when the Tuskegee Airmen were active in WWII; not when the film was produced but when the legend was produced. What was held up for release, which Lucas pointedly joked about, was recognition of these men's accomplishments, not the film about them.

    The film was not studio funded not because it is an all black cast, per se, but because of the financial realities of the risks involved in marketing an all black action film, about which Lucas notes that this is one of the first. It did not sound like a racial decision directly, though certainly race is involved because if there is no history of this type of film bringing profit, then the studios might not fund it. But to make that decision sound strictly racial is not quite accurate.

    I happened to see the interview and props to Lucas for taking on this project which he sincerely believes in.

    Here is George Lucas with girlfriend Mellody Hobson
    article-2081140-0F506ABF00000578-985_634
  • Generaleclect...

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    Jan 12, 2012 12:46 AM GMT
    So basically the film won't get funding because it will be perceived as a black movie, and get less attention and revenue. Sad, but kinda true.

    Hmm. Unless they get someone like Will Smith to help it cross over; he's not "scary" black. icon_razz.gif
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    Jan 12, 2012 1:25 AM GMT
    Generaleclectic saidSo basically the film won't get funding because it will be perceived as a black movie, and get less attention and revenue. Sad, but kinda true.

    Hmm. Unless they get someone like Will Smith to help it cross over; he's not "scary" black. icon_razz.gif


    I don't think it's because of the idea it's a black movie so much as the main stars aren't that charismatic. Terrence Howard in the Iron Man movies just seemed like he stood around and looked bored, and Cuba Gooding hasn't really done much that was any good in years; Cuba's IMDB page is just filled with mediocre crap.

  • Generaleclect...

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    Jan 12, 2012 1:45 AM GMT
    Vendrak said
    Generaleclectic saidSo basically the film won't get funding because it will be perceived as a black movie, and get less attention and revenue. Sad, but kinda true.

    Hmm. Unless they get someone like Will Smith to help it cross over; he's not "scary" black. icon_razz.gif


    I don't think it's because of the idea it's a black movie so much as the main stars aren't that charismatic. Terrence Howard in the Iron Man movies just seemed like he stood around and looked bored, and Cuba Gooding hasn't really done much that was any good in years; Cuba's IMDB page is just filled with mediocre crap.



    Ha, that's also true. Howard's nice to look at, but not too interesting on screen. I just remember Gooding from Boyz in the Hood.
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    Jan 12, 2012 1:52 AM GMT
    AMoonHawk saidAnd you are getting this information from where?
    and if the movie was made in 1942 ... why would you release it now ... who is going to go watch it if it is dated ... certainly Spike Lee and others have money to produce or release it ... then why don't they? ... probably because it is a bomb that would loose money ... would you want to purposely invest money in something that you know you are going to loose your money in?


    From Huffington Post.

    i have never seen titanic the movie - don't you think it was dated?
    don't you think the kings speeech was dated?
    don't you think the deer hunter was dated?
    don't you think platoon was dated?
    don't you think good morning vietnam was dated?
    don't you think the majority of the films produced are dated?

    on what basis do you make the assumption that the thing is going to loose money?

    why don't spike lee et al put up their money? you'll have to ask them or perhaps it is as mr. lucas clearly explains to you.

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    Jan 12, 2012 1:54 AM GMT
    Vendrak said
    AMoonHawk saidAnd you are getting this information from where?
    and if the movie was made in 1942 ... why would you release it now ... who is going to go watch it if it is dated ... certainly Spike Lee and others have money to produce or release it ... then why don't they? ... probably because it is a bomb that would loose money ... would you want to purposely invest money in something that you know you are going to loose your money in?


    I think Lucas meant it's a story that's been waiting to get told, rather than a movie that didn't get released for a while.

    Also the major studios probably didn't want to finance a movie without actors that draw crowds. Cuba Gooding, Jr has seemed like a dud for a while to me and Terrence Howard hasn't seemed to be a lead in anything too big either.


    at the end of the day isn't it all about marketing?
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    Jan 12, 2012 2:01 AM GMT
    i heard about this this morning on Howard Stern. I don't understand. Wasn't the movie "The Color Purple" an all black cast?
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    Jan 12, 2012 2:02 AM GMT
    Generaleclectic saidSo basically the film won't get funding because it will be perceived as a black movie, and get less attention and revenue. Sad, but kinda true.

    Hmm. Unless they get someone like Will Smith to help it cross over; he's not "scary" black. icon_razz.gif


    isn't that how "stars" are supposed to be made? having thespians who can bring the story alive?
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    Jan 12, 2012 2:03 AM GMT
    arikee123 saidi heard about this this morning on Howard Stern. I don't understand. Wasn't the movie "The Color Purple" an all black cast?


    yes - and the point you are trying to make?
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    Jan 12, 2012 2:04 AM GMT
    Generaleclectic said
    Vendrak said
    Generaleclectic saidSo basically the film won't get funding because it will be perceived as a black movie, and get less attention and revenue. Sad, but kinda true.

    Hmm. Unless they get someone like Will Smith to help it cross over; he's not "scary" black. icon_razz.gif


    I don't think it's because of the idea it's a black movie so much as the main stars aren't that charismatic. Terrence Howard in the Iron Man movies just seemed like he stood around and looked bored, and Cuba Gooding hasn't really done much that was any good in years; Cuba's IMDB page is just filled with mediocre crap.



    Ha, that's also true. Howard's nice to look at, but not too interesting on screen. I just remember Gooding from Boyz in the Hood.


    he was quite ok in crash
    but a bit wooden in iron man
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    Jan 12, 2012 2:10 AM GMT
    Vendrak said
    Generaleclectic saidSo basically the film won't get funding because it will be perceived as a black movie, and get less attention and revenue. Sad, but kinda true.

    Hmm. Unless they get someone like Will Smith to help it cross over; he's not "scary" black. icon_razz.gif


    I don't think it's because of the idea it's a black movie so much as the main stars aren't that charismatic. Terrence Howard in the Iron Man movies just seemed like he stood around and looked bored, and Cuba Gooding hasn't really done much that was any good in years; Cuba's IMDB page is just filled with mediocre crap.

    so cuba has just been sitting there doing mediocre crap right.

    "Dee Rees' 'Pariah' And Hollywood's Inability To Include Black Americans

    For all the talk of "liberal Hollywood," diversity is not among the movie industry's strengths.

    Dee Rees, the director of "Pariah," a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story that focuses on a black lesbian's experiences coming out in New York City, knows the story too well. In an interview with Colorlines, the writer-director said those very words ("black," "lesbian," "coming of age") were often enough to immediately stop film studios and backers from participating.

    "We'd go to pitch meetings and the moment we said 'black, lesbian, coming of age,' they would turn around, validate our parking and hand us a bottle of water," she confessed in the interview.

    Rees resorted to private benefactors to finance the film, which she said she believed would reach a significant audience. She appears to have been correct -- the film is sitting at a comfortable 95 percent rating on the review-aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes.

    If the public already appreciates these types of stories, why haven't Hollywood movie executives caught on? In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rees said the themes in her movie are universal, arguing that the reaction to the film "says that audiences are progressive; they want to see different kinds of stories." The short film that "Pariah" is based on was accepted in 40 film festivals and won 25 awards.

    "That wasn't just the choir speaking up," Rees said.

    One reason the industry has been slow to change is that Hollywood's race problem is often underestimated. In 83 years of Academy Awards, there have been a total of four black best actor winners and one black best actress winner (Halle Berry, for 2001's "Monster's Ball").


    It's a similar picture at the Golden Globes, where five black men have won best actor honors (the same class as the Oscars -- Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Forest Whitaker -- plus Morgan Freeman) and only two black women have received the award (Whoopi Goldberg for drama for "The Color Purple" back in 1986 and Angela Bassett for comedy or musical for 1994's "What's Love Got to Do With It").

    From 1962, when Poitier won, to 2001, when Washington was honored, not a single black man was awarded the top acting prize at the Oscars. And there have been precisely zero black best director winners at both the Oscars and the Globes. Only two black men -- and zero black women -- have been nominated for the Academy's directing honor: a 23-year-old John Singleton in 1991 for "Boyz n the Hood" and Lee Daniels in 2009 for "Precious." The Globes' single black nominee for best directing to date is Spike Lee, for 1989's "Do the Right Thing."

    Examining the content of the performances that did gain the industry's favor reveals a disturbing trend. Nearly all of the films that have won awards are either biopics of black celebrities or dictators (Foxx won for "Ray," about Ray Charles, Whitaker won for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Ida Amin, Bassett's "What's Love Got to Do With It" centers on Tina Turner's life story) or tell stories that are socially or ethnocentrically about the black American experience. (See: Poitier's turn in "Lillies of the Field," Goldberg in "The Color Purple," the racially-motivated abuse Halle Berry's character in "Monster's Ball" faces, and Morgan Freeman playing the helpful driver in "Driving Miss Daisy.")

    The pattern is even clearer when examining the black nominees for best directing at both award shows: "Boyz n the Hood," "Precious" and "Do the Right Thing."

    This is not to say that these films are not valid, valuable pieces of cinema, for indeed they are. "Pariah" seems poised to join these films in the cannon of richly-elaborated, nuanced portraits of American life. But are we not living in a time where it's important to ask for more?

    These films themselves are not the issue at hand -- it's the absence of black actors, actresses and directors in roles that don't focus heavily or nearly-exclusively on the color of their skin. ..."

    source: Huffington Post First Posted: 1/9/12 08:43 AM ET Updated: 1/9/12 08:43 AM ET
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    Jan 12, 2012 2:17 AM GMT
    Blackguy4you said
    arikee123 saidi heard about this this morning on Howard Stern. I don't understand. Wasn't the movie "The Color Purple" an all black cast?


    yes - and the point you are trying to make?


    that they should make The Color Purple 2 and that Howard Stern Rules!!
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    Jan 12, 2012 2:20 AM GMT
    arikee123 said
    Blackguy4you said
    arikee123 saidi heard about this this morning on Howard Stern. I don't understand. Wasn't the movie "The Color Purple" an all black cast?


    yes - and the point you are trying to make?


    that they should make The Color Purple 2 and that Howard Stern Rules!!


    the will! just as soon as they finish making titanic 2
    i've never listend to howard stern so i'll have to take your word for it.
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    Jan 12, 2012 3:46 AM GMT
    [quote]Dee Rees, the director of "Pariah," a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story that focuses on a black lesbian's experiences coming out in New York City, knows the story too well. In an interview with Colorlines, the writer-director said those very words ("black," "lesbian," "coming of age") were often enough to immediately stop film studios and backers from participating.

    "We'd go to pitch meetings and the moment we said 'black, lesbian, coming of age,' they would turn around, validate our parking and hand us a bottle of water," she confessed in the interview.

    Rees resorted to private benefactors to finance the film, which she said she believed would reach a significant audience. She appears to have been correct -- the film is sitting at a comfortable 95 percent rating on the review-aggregating website Rotten Tomatoes.

    If the public already appreciates these types of stories, [/quote]

    Just wanted to comment on this excerpt cause it seems a tad bullshit.

    The person that wrote this is suggesting that because critics liked the movie that the general public does too and that this means movie studios just don't get understand what people like, but boxofficemojo even says the movie made $252,106 so that seems unlikely the general public was all that interested the way they are in movies like The Artist. For comparison, Human Centipede made $252,207 worldwide.

    And as far as saying if critics like something it means audiences will, I would remind people of Happy, Texas and how much critics raved about it despite how terrible it did in theatres.

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    Jan 12, 2012 4:07 AM GMT
    Vcrsicht said
    theantijock said.

    Here is George Lucas with girlfriend Mellody Hobson
    article-2081140-0F506ABF00000578-985_634



    Where are her shoes!? Everybody else has shoes...! Seriously, i couldn't look at it for too long as i started imagining him goin down on her and then, i felt dirty.


    look at her left hand carefully - you will see her shoes