“The only way to get through a bigot’s door is to break it down.” Here is the first trailer for Marshall, starring Chadwick Boseman in the biopic about Thurgood Marshall.
Before he became the country’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice in 1967, Marshall was a lawyer famous for winning the landmark Brown v Board of Education case that outlawed segregated schools. The film goes back even further, to when he was a rabble-rousing young attorney for the NAACP, and follows the story of his greatest challenge in those early days: the case of black chauffeur Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown), accused by his white employer, Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson), of sexual assault and attempted murder. Marshall fought the case alongside Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), a young attorney with no experience in criminal law.
Reginald Hudlin directed Marshall from a script by Jacob Koskoff and Michael Koskoff. Paula Wagner, Jonathan Sanger and Hudlin produced the pic, with Peter Luo and Belton Lee as exec producers. Open Road Films will release it on October 13, just after the 5oth anniversary of Marshall being sworn in to SCOTUS.
“When I seduce you, if I decide to seduce you, don’t worry…you’ll know,” she mutters as she gazes into his eyes. Jacqueline Broyer has an impactful effect. She has legs that’ll make you tremble, paired with a smile that makes you quiver. Her eyes, regardless of the words coming out of her mouth, are telling of her actual thoughts. Her business suits are flashy but never classless. She’s career-driven and you shouldn’t dare try to interfere with that. She’ll fit you into her schedule when it’s beneficial for her to do so. Yes, she’s a fictional character, but she embodies characteristics that’ll humble any real man—not just Marcus Graham. Boomerang turns 25 this year and is widely overlooked, despite being one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time. Robin Givens’ portrayal of Broyer is only the surface of what makes the film a timeless hit. It was considered a letdown compared to Eddie Murphy’s previous starring roles, which included Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places, and Coming to America, but quietly, Boomerang is still the highest grossing black romantic comedy.
Playing on the idea of sexual role reversal, Boomerang tells the story of an advertisement executive named Marcus Graham, who has a reputation as a womanizer—he loves ‘em and then leaves ‘em for a variety of reasons, including “hammer time in her shoes,” as he shamelessly tells his friends Tyler (Martin Lawrence) and Gerard (David Alan Grier). Things get interesting when he has to work under the guidance of the damn-near irresistible Jacqueline Broyer. After becoming involved with each other, Marcus falls for her hard, and who wouldn’t? But it is then that he learns she shares the same non-committal attitude as he does, and probably does it better.
Before it came to fruition, Boomerang was no easy film to get off the ground. According to director Reginald Hudlin, it was a bit challenging to convince the higher ups that a romantic comedy would excel with Eddie Murphy cast in the lead role. Hudlin recalled an exec telling him flat out at the studio, “Look. I don’t know how you’ll make a romantic comedy with Eddie Murphy with that big nose and big lips.” Keep in mind that this was uttered at a time when Eddie was the biggest name in Hollywood, commanding no less than $15 million through an exclusive deal with Paramount Pictures. But with a cast that included a then relatively unknown Halle Berry, Martin Lawrence, David Alan Grier, Eartha Kitt, and Grace Jones, he knew he was onto something special. The movie is also responsible for helping launch the career of Chris Rock, with a small but notable part as Bony T; the loud-spoken mailroom worker that knew everyone’s business. Ironically, Rock got his start just five years earlier in Beverly Hills Cop II, thanks to Murphy spotting him at a comedy club performing stand up. “Years from now, people won’t believe we had all these people in the same cast. If you were there, you felt it,” Hudlin told Blackfilm. “You felt that this was an explosive moment and that all these people were enormously talented and would go on to great careers.”
Boomerang was supposed to represent the next phase of black filmmaking and with a 40 Million dollar budget, it was considered too big to fail. Murphy presented the idea to the Hudlin brothers, who at the time had only experienced minor success with House Party, to help him capture the essence of the story. Boomerang was being heralded as his impending comeback despite him still being a big name at the box office. “Comeback?” he sneered when asked by Entertainment Weekly. “From where? Where am I coming back from? What does that mean, comeback? Am I viewed as this cat who used to be funny and isn’t anymore and this is my last shot to be funny? If I was perceived that way, no one would tell me.” His hope for the film was to mainly focus on black talent. The film subtly drew the spotlight to the power and allure of black women, so casting the legendary Eartha Kitt as Lady Eloise—the aging overly sexual figurehead of the cosmetics company made perfect sense. Grace Jones as Strangé, the outrageously disrespectful and demanding model that was written specially with her in mind, effortlessly steals every scene she’s in.
“Eddie needs to flex his muscles that can help black people get into this industry. Clout isn’t just getting the best table at Spago. How’s that helping your people?” —Spike Lee, LA Times 1989
At the height of Eddie’s career, he began to get criticized for not shining the spotlight on other black talent. He responded to Lee’s critique specifically: “Progress is a gradual thing in this town. We’ve made lightyears of progress in the past five years. And Spike, Keenen, and Robert Townsend are great examples,” he told LA Times. “Ten years ago, those guys couldn’t have gotten pictures made in this town. But since I’ve had success at the box office, every studio has been looking around for a black guy of their own who could make hit movies.” He added, “I’ve made lots of contributions to help my people prosper. But I’m not a politician. I’m a businessman and a film maker.” This was right before the release of Harlem Nights; another star-studded black film that starred Murphy, Richard Pryor, and Redd Foxx, released just three years before Boomerang. Eddie was in a comfortable position, but the pressure was on.
”If it makes a huge amount of money, they’ll go, ‘Well, it’s not really a black film. It stars Eddie Murphy. If it fails — which it won’t — they’ll call it a black film. It only becomes black if it fails.” —Director, Reginald Hudlin
After Boomerang‘s release on July 1, 1992, the reviews were mixed, but mostly positive. While some publications praised Murphy’s stripped-down performance, others focused on the racial composition of the film. Two weeks after it’s release, Murphy wrote a piece for LA Times, where he said the film is the “latest outlet for those critics who feel it necessary to demean and simplify the achievement of black people.” He added: “Boomerang is a romantic comedy revolving around the lives of successful black people who work for a successful black company. Some people obviously have a problem with that, for the movie has been called a ‘fantasy’, a ‘reverse world’ and ‘racist’.”
Although aiming to uplift black culture, the film was pelted with plenty of unfair criticism. Ultimately it grossed over $131 million in total, and paved the way for plenty of black rom-coms to come. The film was called “imbalanced” and “uneven,” but highlighted both upscale and new talent in a way that hadn’t been exemplified before.
The story is still a relevant reality in dating, and deserves more praise for it’s relatable characters. We know a “woke” friend or two like Tyler, or a friend as timid and hesitant as Gerard, with embarrassing parents that love to coooordinate. We know a sweet, shy, and artsy girl like Angela with attitude, and we even know a guy like Marcus, who might be looking for love in the wrong places. And just around the corner is a girl like Jacqueline, waiting to turn his world upside down.
The hype is building for Black Panther, a movie that promises to be the most diverse superhero film to date. In a stunning cast of award-winners and scene-stealers, one name in particular is rising to prominence: Letitia Wright, who will play Black Panther’s sister Shuri. In the comics, she’s a popular character who ultimately became the Black Panther when T’Challa was forced to stand aside. But, as much-loved as she may be, it seems that Shuri is being subtly rewritten for her #MCU debut. Let’s take a look at the role this exciting new character is set to play…
Letitia Wright Reveals The Secrets Of Shuri
In a recent exclusive interview, Letitia Wright gave us just a little insight into the character of Shuri. She told The Interview Magazine:
“She’s princess of Wakanda, but also she designs all of the new technology there. She has an innovative spirit and an innovative mind, and she wants to take Wakanda to a new place. Also, she has a great fashion sense, better than mine. She’s so vibrant; a beautiful spirit, but also so focused on what she does. And that’s good for other people to see, especially for young people to see, because it’s like, “Look, there’s a young black girl who loves technology and she’s from Africa.” It’s something refreshing.”
Created by Reginald Hudlin and John Romita, Jr. back in 2005, Shuri was conceived as a warrior-woman who coveted the mantle of the Black Panther. In fact, she trained for years in order to defeat the previous Black Panther, her uncle S’yan, but was beaten to it by her brother T’Challa. It was only when Shuri was drawn into battle for the first time that T’Challa began to take her combat skills seriously, training Shuri for war. Years later, when T’Challa was left in a coma, she’d take his place for a while as the female Black Panther.
Although T’Challa’s rise to power has been adapted for the MCU, we have no way of knowing how much of Shuri’s character arc will be retained for Black Panther. Whatever the case may be, though, the film’s certainly rewritten Shuri a little; she’s a scientist and a dreamer, an expert in the advanced technology of Wakanda. In fact, Letitia Wright describes her as the one who creates the Black Panther’s unique and distinctive weapons.
An Ominous Detail
Don’t mess with this princess! ‘Black Panther’ [Credit: Marvel Studios]
It’s one thing to create weapons, of course; it’s another to guarantee that they’ll be used responsibly. Andy Serkis is set to reprise his role as Ulysses Klaue, and that dovetails worryingly with those stunning weapons Shuri is seen wielding in the trailer. In the comics, the villainous Klaw gains a vibranium weapon very similar to Shuri’s; it’s grafted on to his arm, in place of a lost hand.
I fear that Black Panther will see Shuri’s weapons used for ill — and the power of vibranium harnessed by the enemies of Wakanda.
What Could The Future Hold For Shuri?
Letitia Wright’s comments are absolutely fascinating, and hint at the character’s future directions — especially given she’s confirmed to appear in Avengers: Infinity War. It seems that she’ll remain an active scientist in the MCU, adding a wonderful element of diversity to the “science bros” of Stark and Banner.
Perhaps the most intriguing question, though, is whether or not Shuri will follow the same path she did in the films. Will we see her join T’Challa’s side as a fellow Black Panther? Will Shuri become one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes herself? She did in the comics, and in fact played a major role in successfully repelling the invasion of Thanos’s Black Order. Only time will tell!
As you can see, the MCU version of Shuri has been subtly altered. But, excitingly, that only sets Letitia Wright up for an even greater role in the future of the MCU. Who knows? She could yet become another Black Panther…