And while Singleton recognized the greatness that stood before him, everyone didn’t receive it that way. Quite a few actors were scared to take on such touchy subject matter. Singleton said:
“I found that a lot of actors were hesitant to take part in a picture like this because of the subject matter. That automatically weeded out the meek from being involved, so all the actors who did take part ended up being the strongest ones we could ever have hoped for.
“A case in point is Jon Voight, who portrays John Wright, the head of Rosewood’s only white family. Jon is known for taking roles in films that have challenging subject matter, like “Midnight Cowboy,” “Deliverance'” and “Coming Home,” so it was great to have him become involved in this project.
“Jon is one of the most unselfish actors I’ve ever met. He makes everyone else better because he is really very caring about the whole of the piece. Sometimes I felt that he was uncomfortable playing the white Southern man in this era who had a superior attitude, which is a testimony to how good a person Jon is. It was very interesting to see him go through the paces of playing this character.”