Black Or White looks seems like it could be a very interesting film in the landscape of “January” films. It’ll certainly have a lot more to say than a lot of them, that’s for sure, and it’s timely, seeing how so many of us have been focusing on race relations in America.
You can take a look at the trailer right here:
The film stars Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer as grandparents to a biracial child whose mother, the daughter of Costner’s character, has died. When Costner’s character’s wife dies, he becomes part of a custody battle brought on by Spencer’s character, who argues that her son (Anthony Mackie) should be a part of the girl’s life.
The story behind the film is just as intriguing as the film itself, seeing how the film is partially based on real events and how Costner put $9 million of his own money into financing the film.
When speaking with Deadline, Costner went into more detail about why he felt so strongly about the film. He said:
“Well, we obviously didn’t plan that. I make movies that speak out loud to me. When I read Black Or White, I thought it was a real, authentic look at where we are in this country when it comes to race. And I thought writer-director Mike (Binder) went at this in such an unusual way. It is based on some true events and his own life.”
The Hollywood Reporter asked him how it felt to have a film that had received great praise from festivals but couldn’t find a studio to distribute or finance it, and his response is very even-keeled.
“The studios are making the kinds of movies they want to make. They understand their business, but I have to equally understand my business of what I choose to do, and this has as much value as anything that I could imagine doing. I couldn’t minimize it, and I wouldn’t allow it to be minimized. The studios didn’t fail; I would have failed if I didn’t toughen up and just figure out how to do it. I think it would ave been a sad thing if people didn’t get to see this movie. That’s just how much I actually believed in it. It helped inform me a little bit about how to conduct myself in the current state of affairs where race is concerned in this country.”
I’m sure there are some that do feel that the studios have failed by not supporting this film, but on the flip side, Costner is 100% right. The studios haven’t failed because they were never designed to handle or address these types of films on a large scale. We’re talking about an industry that basically got started on Birth of a Nation. Hollywood is not the most progressive place in the world, no matter how much their own PR has fooled everyone.The studios do know their business well, and they conduct themselves accordingly.
What has to change, though is that 1) there are more people like Costner (and, as a shout out, Brad Pitt) willing to put their money and their names on the line for films that actually say something and can help teach mainstream America about certain issues and 2) there must places, like Charles King’s MACRO, that will cater specifically to films and television shows that are made for the multicultural market.
What do you think about Black Or White? Give your opinions in the comments section below! Black Or White comes to theaters Jan. 30.
Kevin Costner and Jillian Estell in Black or White. Photo credit: BlackWhite, LLC