If you hadn’t already come to the conclusion that Hollywood has had its good share of discriminatory moments, George Lucas might have just laid it out there for everyone in black and white. Actually, make that black and green–as in money.
Lucas is both the movie’s executive producer and writer, and while sitting down with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, he kept it real about the issues he encountered trying to get funding for Red Tails. The budget at one time reached around $58 million, way over the usual or average for”typical all-black productions.” Hollywood execs weren’t having that, claiming the film wouldn’t have a foreign appeal to take overseas. Among other things missing (some white folks).
“This has been held up for release since 1942 since it was shot, I’ve been trying to get released ever since (he’s joking of course)…I showed it to all of them and they said no. We don’t know how to market a movie like this. . . 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 movies ever made.”
But still, Lucas claims he foot the bill himself for the budget, because that’s how important getting the film out there was to him. Lucas also pointed out that he wanted to make the film for teenage boys (young, black teenage boys in particular), to show them real heroes and real role models (outside of the Jay-Zs and Michael Jordans as he said). However, while talking to the folks over at USA Today, he said the pressure of having it do well at the box office has him worried about what impact Red Tail‘s success could have on the success of future films with all black casts.
“I realize that by accident I’ve now put the black film community at risk,” Lucas 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.”
Hmmm…I don’t know about Tyler, but I get what he’s trying to say. What’s important to take from his comments is that it’s very, VERY important that we step out and support this film. If not, who knows the next time we’ll be able to get our people in a big budget film that can get widely released to everyone? If we don’t help out, then we definitely can’t complain if we get stuck with Madea, and Madea only. So you know what to do on Jan. 20 when Red Tails drops–go see it!