It’s opening week for Roland Emmerich’s thriller White House Down, which stars Channing Tatum as a Secret Service agent who tries to save the president when the White House is attacked. Jamie Foxx plays the President of the USA in this seemingly “interracial buddy action movie.”
Garcelle Beauvais, who co-starred with Jamie Foxx on his hit TV sitcom in the late 1990s (The Jamie Foxx Show), reunites with him here, playing his wife, the First Lady.
Lance Reddick, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods, Richard Jenkins and Joey King round out the cast for White House Down, a film that Tatum’s Iron Horse Entertainment company is executive producing.and round out the film’s starring cast.
Reddick will play Colonel Janowitz, whose responsibility is the Speaker of the House (Jenkins).
And with Foxx joining a short list of black actors who’ve played the president of the USA (interestingly, another Emmerich film – 2012 – featured a black actor – Danny Glover – as president), I thought we’d have some related fun and do some virtual, fictional black movie president Election Day voting.
In the history of American cinema, there have been a few instances in which black actors have played the president of the USA on the big screen. And today, you, S&A readers, will cast your votes for which of those black presidents gets to sit on the S&A Best Fictional Black USA President throne.
That’s right, it’s a democracy over here at S&A, except there’s no Electoral College; the winner of the popular vote will wear the crown; simple!
So, without further ado, here are your candidates:
– James Earl Jones in Rod Serling’s provocative 1972 drama, The Man, as Senate President pro tempore Douglas Dilman, who suddenly becomes the first black man to occupy the Oval Office, when the President and Speaker of the House are killed in a building collapse, and the Vice-President declines due to age and poor health. Of course, his presidency causes controversy across the country, and Dilman has to prove that he’s not merely a “caretaker of the office,” but is actually an experienced executive.
– Morgan Freeman was president Tom Beck in the 1998 sci-fi movie Deep Impact. A comet is en route to collide with Earth, potentially signifying the end of the world. Who would you rather have leading the so-called free world? How about God… or an actor who also played God. A very presidential performance by Freeman as Beck; assured, authoritative, commanding. But, at least, unlike Douglas Dilman, the sitting president, Speaker of the House, didn’t have to die, and the VP didn’t have to decline due to age and health, for him to get into office. At least, we don’t think so. He’s already president when the movie begins.
– Chris Rock as presidential candidate Mays Gilliam in the 2003 comedy Head of State. An Alderman who is nominated only because he’s expected to fail, since no one believed America would vote a black man into office. The movie ends with him winning the presidency, so we never actually get to see him be presidential and govern. But we are privvy to his campaign, which makes up much of the film; we know what he believes when it comes to key issues, like the role of government, family, etc. He initially gives in to dirty campaign politics, but eventually takes the moral highground.
– Terry Crews as president Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (a former porn star and champion wrestler) in Mike Judge’s 2006 scathing satire Idiocracy. The message apparently was only morons would put a black man in the White House. Given his credentials, probably not an ideal candidate to assume the job of president. But he’s on the ballot!
– Danny Glover as president Thomas Wilson, in Roland Emmerich’s 2009 sci-fi disaster movie 2012. In short, the planet faces near-total destruction in accordance with predictions made by Ancient Mayans, thousands of years ago. It’s essentially a Noah’s Ark movie for modern times. President Wilson was ready; he made plans in advance to ensure that human civilization continued after the event. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t live to see what his plan yielded.
– And finally, even though the film isn’t out yet, meaning most of us haven’t seen it, we’ll add Jamie Foxx as maybe the least likely of presidents, playing President James Sawyer, who pairs up with agent John Cale (Channing Tatum), to help defend the White House when a paramilitary group led by Emil Stenz (Jason Clarke) invades it.
I could put Tiny Lister in The Fifth Element on the ballot; but in that film, as President Lindberg, he’s not president of the USA; He’s president of planet earth. He doesn’t really do much of anything in the movie anyway.
I also intentionally left out TV presidents. We’re looking at big screen black presidents only. Are there any other prominent big screen black presidents I’ve left out?
So there you have it citizens – your 5 candidates for the S&A Best Fictional Black USA President crown. Cast your votes now!