His is a career S&A has been following for a while now; and the recently-revealed poster for the U.S. release of Noel Clarke's sci-fi drama Storage 24 says a lot about the direction in which it's headed.
For readers unfamiliar with the project, here's what to expect:
London is in chaos. A military cargo plane has crashed leaving its highly classified contents strewn across the city. Completely unaware London is in lockdown, Charlie and Shelley accompanied by best friends Mark and Nikki are at Storage 24 dividing up their possessions after a recent break up. Suddenly, the power goes off. Trapped in a dark maze of endless corridors, a mystery predator is hunting them one by one. In a place designed to keep things in, how do you get out?
Clarke plays the role of Charlie. Rounding out the starring cast are Antonia Campbell-Hughes as Shelley, Colin O'Donoghue as Mark, and Laura Haddock as Nikki.
Storage 24, also co-written by Clarke, and acquired by Magnet Releasing this past fall, is scheduled to be released in the U.S. in early January 2013.
While I'm very pleased to see it, still the first question that jumps into my mind when I see Noel Clarke, all by his lonesome on the above poster, is "How does a relatively-unknown black actor/filmmaker from the U.K.– whose name isn't Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, or David Oyelowo– manage to get what equates to top billing in a film released in the U.S.?!!"
In my opinion, what it says about Clarke is that all of his hard work– to include the release of several other films this year alone (Fast Girls, The Knot)– is starting to pay dividends. And let's not forget that Clarke will also co-star in next year's highly-anticipated sequel Star Trek: Into Darkness.
It also speaks volumes about the faith of the film's backers in his ability to sell the film to U.S. audiences.
And before the usual detractors read this and lament, "Here they go again. The black Brits are stealing our jobs!", let's remember that this is the type of progress we hope for. Regardless of where Clarke is from, his progress, and subsequent success, is worthy of recognition.
Whether it truly means anything now, or leads to anything more for Clarke or his peers in the future, is yet to be seen. But let's take a moment to acknowledge that the man is currently making major moves that many of us didn't see coming.