About 3 weeks ago on this blog, I asked readers to respond to the question: Are there stories that should only be told (or films that should only be directed) by black filmmakers?
Scanning the comments of that item, I’d say that there certainly isn’t a consensus. Some of you said yes, there are; others said no, arguing that anyone should be able to tell any story, no matter what it is, that appeals to them. It was around a 50/50 split. So clearly, this is something that will always be a topic of contention, and that I’ll likely continue to bring up from time to time, when called for.
I bring it up again today because, well… Anthony Mackie.
Suffice it to say that he probably falls in with the “no” responders.
In an interview with Daily Beast, which some of you have probably already read, given that it’s been passed around a bit, Mackie shared that he doesn’t think race should influence the choice of director for Marvel’s upcoming, much-anticipated “Black Panther” movie, and that he didn’t believe that the director has to be black.
“I don’t think it’s important at all… As a director your job is to tell a story,” the actor said, adding, I assume to support his argument, “You know, they didn’t get a horse to direct Seabiscuit!”
But not only did he say that race shouldn’t be a factor, he also argued that gender shouldn’t be of any influence either, when a director is being sought for any project: “The thing is I don’t think the race of the director has to do with their ability to tell a story. I think it’s all about the director’s ability to be able to relate to that story and do it justice. I think men can direct women, and two of my greatest work experiences were with female directors. So I think it all depends. May the best man – or woman – win.”
Apparently he hasn’t been paying attention to the numerous “woeful lack of diversity in Hollywood” reports that have been used as arguments for MORE diversity in front of and behind the camera; and the numerous diversity programs introduced by various film organizations (indie and Hollywood), all in an effort to ensure that creatives from under-represented groups (people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ community, etc) are afforded the same kinds of opportunities that their typically white male contemporaries claim an overwhelmingly dominant share of.
All things being equal, yes, Mackie would be right to say that neither race nor gender should matter. BUT all things are NOT equal; race and gender DO matter, still, sadly, in 2015! And that’s the problem. But I really shouldn’t have to explain this.
Mackie’s comments come a few days after he drew criticism for seemingly endorsing Donald Trump for the White House. He quickly responded, via Twitter, saying that it was all “a bad attempt at a joke.”
This certainly wouldn’t be the first time Mackie has said something controversial. We’ve covered almost every single “incident” on this blog.
“Black Panther,” starring Chadwick Boseman and written by Joe Robert Cole, is still without a director, although one will likely be announced soon, given that the film is set for a July 6, 2018 release, and this is likely a project that will consume 2 years of the selected director’s life.
If you missed it, check out my piece on 5 directors Marvel should take a look at for the movie: Marvel Should Consider These 5 Directors for its Black Panther Movie (Chime in with Yours).