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In Wake of ‘Gotham’ Controversy Comes ‘Painted Down’ – New Doc Chronicling Struggles & Hard Fought Victories of Black Stunt People

In Wake of 'Gotham' Controversy Comes 'Painted Down' - New Doc Chronicling Struggles & Hard Fought Victories of Black Stunt People

Perhaps the
new documentary coming out in 2015, “Painted Down,” couldn’t have done so at a
more fitting time, considering the recent controversy that erupted last week on Fox
Network’s new series “Gotham.”

In case you
haven’t heard, the Warner Bros. Television produced show created an uproar when the show was caught red handed in the act of a “paint
down” last week. In other words, a white stunt woman, doubling for a black
actress on the show, had “dark makeup applied
to the face, in a hair and makeup test, in advance of two days of filming in New
York.”

Initially Warners
played down the story, and said it would be looking into it. However, shortly
afterwards, they released an official statement stating that they had made a “mistake,” and would hire a black stunt
woman instead.

“A mistake was made this week in
casting a stunt woman for a guest star in a particular scene on the show. The
situation has been rectified, and we regret the error.”

So it’s
evident that it wasn’t regular cast member Jada Pinkett-Smith who was going to
be doubled by a white stunt person, though perhaps it’s safe to assume she must
have been pretty pissed off when she found out about it.

But this is
2014, and we are well into the 21 century, right? So why are they still doing this
Al Jolson blackface nonsense?

However, the
practice of “painting down” white stunt people to double for black actors has
been going on for a long time, even to this day; though there are many black professional
stuntmen and women available for such work.

And that’s
just a sample of some of the indignities and struggles that black stunt people have faced
and endured in the film industry, which will all be chronicled (and more) in the film “Painted
Down,” produced by Nonie Robinson.

In fact, Robinson, who is a former development exec at HBO, is the daughter of the pioneering black stuntman
Eddie Robinson, who, along with other legendary black stuntmen, such as Eddie
Smith and Bob Minor, challenged Hollywood’s racist practices, and even helped to
establish the Black Stuntman’s Association, which is still very much active
today.

Check out
the extended 10-minute film clip from “Painted Down,” which includes, among
others, Bill Cosby, recounting his experience when he found out that a white stuntman
man was made up in blackface to double for him on an episode of the “I Spy” TV
series back in the 1960’s, and how he fought to get black stuntmen
on the show.

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