Whilst the hellfire of sexual assault allegations rages on in the film and television industry, we also have some good news to look forward to from upcoming projects. We’ve got announcements and achievements from marginalised players across the industry, as well as some much needed criticism where Hollywood continues to get it wrong.
Get Out Is Not A Comedy
Get Out has been classed as a comedy for this year’s Golden Globes, nominated in the Best Musical or Comedy category. Whilst Get Out straddles multiple genres, including horror, thriller, and (very dark) comedy, Universal likely submitted the film to this particular category to improve its chances of winning.
However, filmmaker Jordan Peele doesn’t seem impressed, tweeting:
‘Get Out’ is a documentary.
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) November 15, 2017
Peele elaborated at a recent event for the film, stating, “What the movie is about is not funny… The movie is an expression of my truth, my experience, the experiences of a lot of black people and minorities.”
Peele’s criticisms of the decision reflect the limitations of the existing Golden Globes categories and highlights the concerns of many that the point of Get Out has been missed. Classification as a comedy suggests the film is something we can all laugh off, ignoring the very real danger and injustice that black and minority people face every day.
Twitter Wants To #DumpDepp
The title for the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them sequel has been announced, and with it, a wave of backlash against its casting. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald features Johnny Depp as the titular character, in a casting decision supported by JK Rowling.
However, the Internet is not cool with this, sparking the Twitter hashtag #DumpDepp.
The fact that Heard did everything you're supposed to do when reporting, that Depp's own managers admit on paper that they were aware of the abuse, and yet Depp is still starring in Fantastic Beasts is the biggest fuckin travesty. #dumpDepp https://t.co/cluuPUamLt
— Clara Mae (@ubeempress) November 16, 2017
Last year, Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard accused him of domestic violence. More recently, Depp’s management company admitted to knowing about the abuse. Harry Potter and film fans alike have called for the role of Grindelwald to be re-cast.
Whilst it’s disheartening for many of us to see Depp cast in one of the world’s biggest franchises, the outcry can give us hope. Audiences are making it clear that abusers are not wanted on our screens, and film and television execs are slowly realising what this could mean for their profits. We’re yet to see whether Depp will, in fact, get dumped, but noise certainly can make a difference, as evidenced by the million-dollar cost of replacing Kevin Spacey in All The Money In The World. In the wake of abuse allegations against Spacey, his role was re-cast with Christopher Plummer in the upcoming Ridley Scott flick.
Ben Affleck Talks About Sexual Harassment
Ben Affleck appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this week, and faced questions on sexual harassment and abuse within the industry. In regards to questions around the accusations against both his own misconduct and Harvey Weinstein’s, Affleck stated that he will be donating future profits from his work with Miramax. The money will go to RAINN and Film Independent.
Affleck also addressed his own behaviour in the face of multiple accusations of assault and sexual harassment. Affleck stated that the onus is on men and people in power to pay attention to their own behaviour, to own up and be held accountable, and, most importantly, to support and believe people who come forward against abusers. Compared to many of the responses we’ve heard from within the industry so far, this one certainly offers a bit more hope for positive change.
Cool Projects From Cool People
A new trailer and poster have been revealed for new coming-of-age drama The Chi, from Lena Waithe. The Chi follows a group of young people and kids in Chicago as they navigate growing up, sexuality, community, and love. The trailer is stylish, compelling, and showcases a large cast of very different characters as well as a strong cast of colour, making The Chi one to watch out for when it premieres in January.
NBC is developing a legal drama featuring the first female Sikh-American lead. Filmmaker and activist Valarie Kaur is working with America Ferrera to produce the show, which will follow a group of law students fighting for the rights of marginalised communities.
In another first, NBC is also developing a drama with a majority Asian cast. Details are scarce right now but Albert Kim is working with NBC on the series, and it will be based on real-world drama surrounding Korean family business conglomerates. The show looks to feature a female protagonist who discovers that her family controls business in South Korea – and promptly gets entangled in the power struggles that come with it.
Zendaya will star in Reese Witherspoon’s film adaptation of Karin Tanabe’s The Gilded Years. The film tells the true story of Anita Hemmings, a light-skinned black woman who passed as white in order to attend and graduate from Vassar College in the late 19th century. The flick is currently penned as a psychological thriller, which could capture the fear and danger of Hemmings’ situation.
- Upcoming superhero series Black Lightning now has a premiere date of January 16th 2018. The CW and DC Comics show follows a black vigilante, played by Cress Williams, eking out justice.
- ‘90s spooky classic Are You Afraid Of The Dark? will be adapted into a movie. The show revolved around teenagers telling each other scary stories (including that one with Ryan Gosling) so it’ll be interesting to see how well it translates into a feature film.
- Michael B. Jordan is developing his first feature film, an adaptation of YA novel, The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore.
- Dev Patel will star in upcoming Michael Winterbottom film The Wedding Guest, set mainly in India. I am excited to see more of Dev’s perfect face on the big screen.
- A face I am never excited to see on my screen is Shah Rukh Khan’s. The Bollywood megastar is currently producing a TV series with Netflix – but thankfully will not be appearing in the show as an actor. The show will be based on political thriller Bard of Blood by Bilal Siddiqi.
- Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish will feature in upcoming film adaptation, The Kitchen. Based on a Vertigo comic of the same name, the film focuses on the wives of mobsters in New York City, who take over their husbands’ businesses after they are arrested.
- Taraji P. Henson will star in the upcoming remake of 2000’s comedy What Women Want. Updating the original, which followed real-life misogynist Mel Gibson playing an on-screen misogynist who learns to respect women, the new flick will follow Henson who must learn how to manipulate the patriarchy to succeed in an all-male sports industry.
Justice Smith will play the lead in the upcoming live-action Pokemon movie, Detective Pikachu. Smith looks like the perfect star to solve mysteries with Pikachu, and it’ll hopefully be less weird than talking Pikachu.