Brad Pitt, diversity champion
June 20, 2016 11:10 PM   Subscribe

...when Vanity Fair asked in 2015, as Plan B was in the depths of an Oscar campaign for Selma, [Dede] Gardner had this to say:

“Everyone needs voices, you know. The fact that [white men] are such a singular source of people making the most popular form of entertainment — that makes zero sense. … If you care about history, which I think we do, then the bandwidth of story that is available to be told, and the bandwidth that is necessary to be thorough, just naturally encompasses people of all walks of life — all races, all cultures, all genders, all inclinations, all faiths. I think we come at it from that place.”

This is a heartening story.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:47 AM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]

"Still, in 2014, Oyelowo signed on to co-star with Nyong’o in the film adaptation of the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novel Americanah, which Plan B has optioned and is producing." Oooooh!
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:19 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

From this I learned that they're making Americanah into a movie, which pleases me. Also curious about Southside With You, the movie about the Obamas' first date, mentioned in this link. And the Medicine for Melancholy director is making another movie after 8 years! It's almost enough to get me interested in movies again.

The institutional inertia in Hollywood never fails to astound me, and it sucks that we need a Brad Pitt just to get a few movies that aren't about white people. (It also reminds me of the situation in publishing, where diversity is hot right now but the gatekeepers are overwhelmingly white - I think that really has an effect on WHAT PoC stories get told, even if you get more of them. It's rare to see anything about the intersection of two different ethnic communities, for example; you tend to see more about PoC's relationship to whiteness.) But I like this and I hope it continues.
posted by sunset in snow country at 7:37 AM on June 21, 2016 [7 favorites]

Also curious about Southside With You, the movie about the Obamas' first date, mentioned in this link.

My friend described that as "fanfic about the Obamas that I am 100% going to see." The trailer is charming.
posted by lunasol at 8:20 AM on June 21, 2016 [8 favorites]

Think of it this way: Pitt and Plan B are John Stockton. The filmmakers and actors of color with whom they work are Karl Malone.

I'd be interested to know what the makeup is of Plan B itself, not just the films they work with. Part of diversifying the gatekeepers is getting a diverse group in at the ground floor junior-level jobs, and then mentoring them as they build relationships that will pay off later. The goal is elevating not just extraordinarily talented artists who are diverse, but also ordinarily talented corporate staff who are diverse, so that they can go on to sit in the rooms where decisions are made and bring a fuller point of view.

That said, I am a big believer in doing what you can, where you can, when you can, with what you have (because the perfect is the enemy of the good), so claps for Brad Pitt and Plan B (and especially Francine Maisler!).
posted by sallybrown at 8:48 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

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