“23 years. We finished it, financed it myself, and I figured, you know, I could get prints and ads paid for by the studios, and that they would release it. I showed it to all of them and they said 'No. we don't know how to market a movie like this.' ...It's because it's an all-black movie. There's no major white roles in it at all. It's one of the first all-black action pictures ever made.”—
For shame, Hollywood.
So I saw George Lucas' interview on the Daily Show.
I have mixed feelings about the upcoming Red Tails film, but after hearing Lucas’ reasoning, I really, really gotta give him props for doing it.
He states that he couldn’t get a distributor to sign on with this film because there are no major white protagonists in the film (the fact that one of the most influential men in film history said this really sparked my respect flint), and that because of that, it would be considered an all-black film. So he funded everything himself because he’s been trying to make this film for 25 years. It is in fact the first all-black major action film in history.
Afterward, he goes on to explain that he didn’t want to depict this as a whitey-saves-the-day-blacks-are-victims-of-racism picture. He wanted it to be a pure action picture that depicts some of America’s most underappreciated heroes. His words (paraphrased from rote):
“I didn’t want to make a film about victims. The reasoning is because this is a film about real heroes. I want teenage boys to know that real heroes existed, and that there are historical figures in American history that they can look up to.”
This is especially inspiring to me because he mentioned that films with black protagonists almost always get regulated to small, low-budget distributors (Tyler Perry for example), and that’s why he funded this himself. It was a really good interview, and he basically said this movie is as close as we’ll get to Episode VII. The previews alone look promising.
Fuck, I’m sold.
I know why the movie "Red Tails" bombed at the box office
So when the George Star Wars Lucas-produced movie Red Tails, a depiction of the famous Tuskegee Airmen, bombed at the box office last year, Lucas and others peddled the line that America’s resistance to the movie was the result of its focus on a black fighter squadron in WWII—and thus its essentially all-black cast.
However attractive a narrative that might be for liberals and progressives—MOVIE ABOUT BLACK HEROES STARRING BLACK ACTORS BOMBS IN A RACIST AMERICA, FOR SHAME!!—I have a much simpler explanation for the movie’s failure:
I watched it the other day, and I have not seen a worse-acted, worse-written, more stereotype-laden movie in a long time. No one has made such a schlocky war movie since 1943, when the whole industry was engaged in America’s propaganda efforts during WWII. John Wayne’s The Green Berets was a more sophisticated war movie … and it was unadulterated propaganda supporting the US war in Vietnam.
Sometimes movies fail because they’re bad. Red Tails is one of them.