10 More Films #BlackTwitter Needs To Get Made Pronto
Family, we could very well be in the middle of a new Golden Age of Black TV and Cinema.
In 2016, Moonlight — which boasted not just an all-black cast but also a mostly black crew — won Best Picture at the Academy Awards while the searing documentaries O.J.: Made in America, 13th and I Am Not Your Negro were nominated for Oscars (with O.J.: Made in America taking home the prize.)
2017 alone has blessed us with Everything, Everything, a coming-of-age drama starring Amandla Stenberg and directed by Stella Meghie; Rebel, a BET series about a black woman cop turned private investigator who seeks to avenge the death of her brother; The Breaks, a VH1 series about a young woman’s climb through the ranks of a music label during the '90s era of hip-hop; the return of Queen Sugar and Insecure, and the debut of Snowfall, a series about the crack epidemic in the 1980s, produced by John Singleton.
Recently, news broke that Barry Jenkins is adapting James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk into a film. And in 2018, Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther will hit the big screens. Not to mention, we’ll soon be getting forthcoming movies from indie filmmakers Nijla Mu’min (Jinn) and Tchaiko Omawale (Solace), as well as Tracee Ellis Ross possibly adding fuel to calls of her playing Magic School Bus star, Miss Frizzle.
\u201c...now what's this I hear about some of you wanting me to play Ms. Frizzle on The Magic School Bus? Tell me more...\u201d— Tracee Ellis Ross (@Tracee Ellis Ross) 1500054579
Black filmmakers’ stories are being given a platform at a pace that arguably hasn’t been seen since the '90s; so I decided to dream up 10 more movies black folks needed like yesterday. It’s our time. Let’s do this.
Parent Trap Remake starring Marsai Martin
Potential Stars: Idris Elba, Jada Pinkett-Smith
Director: Angela Robinson
It’s a no-brainer, right? Black-ish’s Marsai Martin in a dual role as long-lost twins who find each other at camp and scheme to get their parents back together. Mom and dad would be Jada Pinkett-Smith and Idris Elba. Angela Robinson, who directed Herbie the Love Bug and D.E.B.S., is adept at both comedy and Disney remakes.
Source: Glamour + People.
A musical romantic comedy set in Martha’s Vineyard.
Potential Stars: Taraji P. Henson and Mahershala Ali
Director: Arthur Jafa
While the pair played love interests in Hidden Figures, their romance understandably took a backseat to the main story of the black women responsible for NASA’s success during the space race. It’s time we get to see these beautiful and award-winning actors as a pair of star-crossed lovers falling in and out of love during an epic summer at Martha’s Vineyard. As for cinematographer Arthur Jafa, he has lensed legendary films such as Daughters of the Dust, and shot videos for Beyoncé’s LEMONADE and Solange’s A Seat At The Table. Imagine what he could do with a musical starring two of the most magnetic actors in Hollywood now.
Source: Jog Road Productions.
A horror movie where the Black person doesn’t die.
Potential Stars: Danielle Monet Truitt
Director: Ernest Dickerson
Granted, Jordan Peele beat me to the punch with the breakout hit, Get Out, but his film doesn’t have to be the only one. As a matter of fact, a horror movie where the black person emerges as the triumphant hero could become a subgenre unto itself. And Danielle Monet Truitt, fresh off a star turn as a cop-turned-private-investigator in the BET series Rebel, would be the perfect protagonist. Ernest Dickerson cut his teeth serving as cinematographer for Spike Lee and released his own classic film, Juice, in 1992. He has also directed episodes in the horror anthology series Masters of Horror, as well as episodes of AMC's The Walking Dead. He’s an easy bet for this.
M-A-R-S, Mars, b*tches!
Potential Stars: Janelle Monae, Anika Noni Rose
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Janelle Monae as an astronaut exploring a never-before-seen colony on Mars, with Anika Noni Rose as the head of mission control on Earth. It’s only right.
The black women in Britain’s Black Power Movement.
Potential Stars: Naomie Harris, Clare-Hope Ashitey
Director: Cecile Emeke
Welp, screenwriter and show runner John Ridley dropped the ball on highlighting black women’s contributions to Britain’s Black Power Movement with his project Guerrilla, so a film like this could set some of the facts straight. Naomie Harris has proven several times over to be the best part of pretty much every movie she’s ever been in, so it’s about time she headlined one. And Clare-Hope Ashitey, who starred in Children of Men, most recently appeared in Shots Fired and had a charming, scene-stealing turn in the second season premiere of Master of None would be the perfect co-star. Emeke is the brain behind Ackee and Saltfish, a wildly popular web series set in London that also aired on the BBC.
Love Jones: The Sequel
Potential Stars: Larenz Tate and Nia Long
Director: Theodore Witcher
Where did Darius (Larenz Tate) and Nina (Nia Long) end up 20 years after the original? A sequel in the vein of the Ethan Hawke-Julie Delpy-Richard Linklater collaboration Before Sunset, where we see if this couple lasted or learned any lessons from their younger selves, would be truly amazing.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter + IGN.
Potential Stars: Trevante Rhodes
Director: Spike Lee
There are plenty of movies based on video games, yes. But how many video games feature a black character mowing down a group of Klansmen? This movie needs to be made yesterday and Spike Lee is really the only choice for director. (As long as he goes the way of the righteous anger in his documentaries and not... whatever it was that happened with Red Hook Summer.)
Photo Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP.
Coretta Scott-King Biopic
Potential Stars: Carmen Ejogo
Director: Tina Mabry
The women of the Civil Rights Movement are too often only depicted as dutiful, supportive spouses to their husbands. (If they are depicted at all.) But all of them, including Coretta Scott-King, were leaders in their own right. And Scott-King led an extraordinary life before and during her marriage to Martin Luther King Jr., as well as in the aftermath of his assassination. I nominate Tina Mabry, of Mississippi Damned and Queen Sugar fame, to direct what would be an epic biopic, starring the wonderful Carmen Ejogo.
Source: The Chocolate Voice.
Potential Stars: Ruth Negga and Don Cheadle
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
This one is a slight cheat because an extremely short version of this already exists as part of New York Times Magazine’s annual Great Performers series. Shot in first-person virtual reality, nine short films put the viewer in the middle of the action in a dimly lit pool hall in the 1940s. Two of the vignettes star Ruth Negga as a femme fatale shooting her lover and Don Cheadle as a poor soul resigned to his fate after two mysterious men follow him into the bar. We need this movie... for the culture.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter.
The rest of August Wilson’s plays from his Pittsburgh Cycle
Potential Stars: All of Black Hollywood
Director: Denzel Washington
The late August Wilson is one of America’s best and prolific playwrights. The Pittsburgh Cycle, also known as the Century Cycle, is a series of ten plays that explores the black experience during 20th-century America, from the 1900s to the 1990s. Fences, which was adapted for film by Denzel Washington last year and garnered a long-overdue Academy Award for Viola Davis, is part of that cycle. It only makes sense for the rest of those plays—including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Jitney, Seven Guitars, and Gem of the Ocean—to be made into equally amazing films. As for Washington, well, of course he should direct the rest of the plays. If it ain’t broke, et cetera, et cetera.
Danielle A. Scruggs is a Chicago-based photographer and writer who runs the website Black Women Directors and is also the Director of Photography at the Chicago Reader, an award-winning alt-weekly newspaper. Follow her on Twitter at @dascruggs and view her site at daniellescruggs.com.