Anthony Mackie calls out lack of diversity in Marvel film crews

Anthony Mackie has called out the lack of diversity behind the scenes on Marvel films.The actor, who has starred in seven Marvel blockbusters as Sam Wilson/ Falcon, criticised the Disney-owned company for failing to have a diverse and inclusive crew be…

Anthony Mackie has called out the lack of diversity behind the scenes on Marvel films.

The actor, who has starred in seven Marvel blockbusters as Sam Wilson/ Falcon, criticised the Disney-owned company for failing to have a diverse and inclusive crew behind the camera during an interview with Daveed Diggs as part of Variety’s Actors on Actors series.

“It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies now where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white,” he stated.

The 41-year-old went on to note that the only exception has been 2018’s Black Panther, which was helmed by Ryan Coogler and featured a line-up of Black actors including Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, and Lupita Nyong’o.

“We’ve had one Black producer; his name was Nate Moore,” he continued. “He produced Black Panther. But then when you do Black Panther, you have a Black director, Black producer, a Black costume designer, a Black stunt choreographer. And I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?”

Mackie explained that he was using his clout as the co-lead of Disney+’s upcoming TV show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to push for more inclusive hiring practices.

“My big push with Marvel, with everybody, is hire the best person for the job,” Mackie said. “Because it starts to build a new generation of people who can put something on their resume to get them other jobs. If we’ve got to divvy out as a percentage, divvy it out. And that’s something as leading men that we can go in and push for and push the envelope.”

© Cover Media

Mulan delayed until August

Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan has been delayed by almost a month due to the coronavirus pandemic. Niki Caro’s retelling of the classic Disney animation, starring Liu Yifei, was originally supposed to open in cinemas in late March, but its r…

Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan has been delayed by almost a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Niki Caro’s retelling of the classic Disney animation, starring Liu Yifei, was originally supposed to open in cinemas in late March, but its release date was moved to 24 July after movie theatres closed amid the health crisis.

For a few weeks, Mulan looked set to be the first studio blockbuster to reopen cinemas, particularly after Warner Bros. bosses moved Christopher Nolan’s Tenet from its original 17 July slot, but Disney executives have now confirmed they are postponing its release by almost a month and it is now scheduled to open on 21 August.

“While the pandemic has changed our release plans for Mulan and we will continue to be flexible as conditions require, it has not changed our belief in the power of this film and its message of hope and perseverance,” said Alan Horn and Alan Bergman, co-chairmen of Walt Disney Studios, in a statement. “Director Niki Caro and our cast and crew have created a beautiful, epic, and moving film that is everything the cinematic experience should be, and that’s where we believe it belongs – on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.”

Last week, Warner Bros. bosses pushed Tenet back to 12 August. As a result, MGM postponed the release of Bill & Ted Face the Music, starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, by two weeks to 28 August to avoid opening on the same week as the blockbuster.

In addition, Paramount Pictures announced it was delaying the release of Without Remorse, a Tom Clancy adaptation starring Michael B. Jordan, by almost five months from 2 October to 26 February 2021, and Russell Crowe’s thriller Unhinged has moved from 10 to 31 July.

© Cover Media

Josh Trank wanted black actress to play Sue Storm in Fantastic Four

Josh Trank faced “heavy pushback” over his decision to cast a black actress as Sue Storm in Fantastic Four.The filmmaker, who helmed the 2015 comic book blockbuster, has revealed that he had a lot of “controversial conversations” when it came to castin…

Josh Trank faced “heavy pushback” over his decision to cast a black actress as Sue Storm in Fantastic Four.

The filmmaker, who helmed the 2015 comic book blockbuster, has revealed that he had a lot of “controversial conversations” when it came to casting decisions with bosses at 20th Century Fox.

In an interview with Geeks of Color, Trank recalled wanting the roles of Sue Storm, her brother Johnny Storm, and their father Franklin Storm to be played by black actors, but faced a lot of resistance.

“There were a lot of controversial conversations that were had behind the scenes on that. I was mostly interested in a black Sue Storm, a black Johnny Storm, and a black Franklin Storm,” he stated, noting that studio bosses were keen for a white actress, such as Margot Robbie, to be the film’s leading lady.

Kate Mara was eventually cast as Sue Storm, who was adopted, while Michael B. Jordan played her brother Johnny Storm and Reg E. Cathey portrayed Franklin Storm.

Trank confessed he felt he had “failed” when he relented and scrapped his vision to cast black actors in the superhero roles, and wished he had stood up for his values instead.

“When it came down to it, I found a lot of pretty heavy pushback on casting a black woman in that role… When I look back on that, I should have just walked when that realisation sort of hit me, and I feel embarrassed about that, that I didn’t just out of principle,” he shared. “Because those aren’t the values I stand for in my own life; those weren’t the values then or ever for me… I feel bad that I didn’t take it to the mat with that issue. I feel like I failed in that regard.”

The director previously revealed he received death threats over casting Jordan as Johnny Storm in the 2015 reboot.

© Cover Media

Michael B. Jordan calls on Hollywood to hire more black creatives during protest

Michael B. Jordan called on Hollywood executives to help more black creators during a protest in Los Angeles on Saturday. The Creed actor attended a Black Lives Matter demonstration held outside talent agency ICM Partners in Century City on Saturday, …

Michael B. Jordan called on Hollywood executives to help more black creators during a protest in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The Creed actor attended a Black Lives Matter demonstration held outside talent agency ICM Partners in Century City on Saturday, and took to the stage to deliver a speech in which he addressed racial injustice, police brutality, and the inequalities in the entertainment industry.

“I want us to invest in black staff,” Jordan told the crowd. “I’m proud to have an inclusion rider and all that good stuff, and I use my power to demand diversity, but it’s time the studios and agencies and all these buildings we stand in front of to do the same.

“You committed to a 50/50 gender parity in 2020. Where is the challenge to commit to black hiring? Black content led by black executives, black consultants. Are you policing our storytelling as well? Let us bring our darkness to the light. Black culture: the sneakers, sports, comedic culture that you guys love so much. We’ve dealt with discrimination at every turn. Can you help fund black brands, companies, cultural leaders, black organisations?”

The 33-year-old announced he was adopting an inclusion rider for all projects produced by his company Outlier Society back in 2018. The inclusion rider is a clause in contracts demanding projects have a diverse cast and crew.

Jordan had his breakout role in 2013 by playing Oscar Grant, a police brutality victim, in 2013’s Fruitvale Station. And earlier this year, he was seen portraying lawyer Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), in Just Mercy – the film that has been made available to watch for free in the U.S. throughout the month of June in support of the Black Lives Matter protests, which were sparked by the death of unarmed African-American man George Floyd at the hands of police officers on 25 May.

© Cover Media

Just Mercy made free to rent in U.S. amid anti-racism protests

Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx’s movie Just Mercy has been made free to stream online in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The legal drama, which highlights the work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, played by Jordan, and the Equal…

Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx’s movie Just Mercy has been made free to stream online in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The legal drama, which highlights the work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, played by Jordan, and the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), follows the lawyer as he tries to free Walter McMillian, portrayed by Foxx, an African-American man on death row, wrongly accused of murdering a white woman.

In response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police on 25 May and the subsequent conversation about racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement, studio officials at Warner Bros. have decided to make the movie free for U.S.-based viewers for the month of June to help educate the public.

“We believe in the power of story. Our film Just Mercy, based on the life work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, is one resource we can humbly offer to those who are interested in learning more about the systemic racism that plagues our society,” Warner Bros. bosses explained in a statement on Tuesday. “For the month of June, Just Mercy will be available to rent for free across digital platforms in the U.S.

“To actively be part of the change our country is so desperately seeking, we encourage you to learn more about our past and the countless injustices that have led us to where we are today. Thank you to the artists, storytellers and advocates who helped make this film happen. Watch with your family, friends and allies.”

Just Mercy had a limited U.S. release in December before opening wide in January. It is currently available to rent for free on Amazon Prime, YouTube Movies, and Vudu.

© Cover Media

Danny Boyle to direct Michael B. Jordan’s Methuselah

Danny Boyle has signed on to take charge of Michael B. Jordan’s planned Methuselah adaptation.It was announced last year that the Black Panther star would be taking on the role of the titular protagonist in the epic, based on the biblical story of a ma…

Danny Boyle has signed on to take charge of Michael B. Jordan’s planned Methuselah adaptation.

It was announced last year that the Black Panther star would be taking on the role of the titular protagonist in the epic, based on the biblical story of a man who lived to be almost 1,000 years old.

Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts had been in talks for the gig last year, however, bosses at Warner Bros. have now changed the concept of the upcoming movie, according to Variety.

Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, who previously worked with Boyle on the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, is now onboard to revamp the script, which was previously drafted by The Bourne Legacy writer/director Tony Gilroy.

Methuselah has been in development since 2014, and at one point, Tom Cruise was attached as its leading man, as well as Will Smith.

Jordan will also co-produce the movie via his Outlier Society company, alongside Alana Mayo, David Heyman, and Jeffrey Clifford.

It will mark a return to studio blockbuster movies for Boyle, who was slated to direct the upcoming James Bond movie No Time To Die, but exited the project due to creative differences.

The British filmmaker, who scooped the Academy Award for Best Director back in 2009 for Slumdog Millionaire, also helmed 2019’s musical comedy Yesterday.

© Cover Media

Josh Trank feared for his life after casting Michael B. Jordan in Fantastic Four

Josh Trank feared for his life after casting Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four.In a new interview with gaming website Polygon, the director discussed working on the troubled 2015 comic book adaptation, which also starred Miles Teller …

Josh Trank feared for his life after casting Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four.

In a new interview with gaming website Polygon, the director discussed working on the troubled 2015 comic book adaptation, which also starred Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, and Jamie Bell as The Thing.

Noting that he fought with bosses at Fox to cast Jordan as Storm, who transforms into the Human Torch after being exposed to cosmic rays, Trank also revealed that he was left on edge at one point during the shoot after he read posts on IMDb message boards from disgruntled fans who threatened to shoot him over the news the Creed star had landed the coveted role.

“I was so f**king paranoid during that shoot,” he confessed, adding that he slept with a gun during production. “If someone came into my house, I would have ended their f**king life. When you’re in a headspace where people want to get you, you think, ‘I’m going to defend myself.'”

Trank also claimed he was left out of overseeing reshoots on the highly anticipated reboot and that the film’s ending was changed after studio bosses were unimpressed with the dark tone.

“It was like being castrated,” the 36-year-old commented of watching reshoots that were overseen by producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker.

Elsewhere in the interview, Trank explained it was his bad experience making Fantastic Four that led to him quitting the standalone Star Wars movie about Boba Fett that he was due to direct.

“I quit because I knew I was going to be fired if I didn’t quit,” he recalled, adding that he believed Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy was about to fire him anyway.

© Cover Media

Coach honours Jean-Michel Basquiat with fall 20 collection

Coach has paid homage to the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat in its fall/winter 2020 collection.Creative director Stuart Vevers unveiled his latest line at the 47th Street Warehouse as part of New York Fashion Week on Tuesday, with the spectacle drawing i…

Coach has paid homage to the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat in its fall/winter 2020 collection.

Creative director Stuart Vevers unveiled his latest line at the 47th Street Warehouse as part of New York Fashion Week on Tuesday, with the spectacle drawing in the likes of Michael B. Jordan, Megan Thee Stallion, Naomi Osaka, Zoey Deutch, Camila Morrone, Rafferty Law, and Paloma Elsesser.

To open, a series of models showed off Coach staples, such as leather skirts, trench coats, and layered, oversized outerwear. However, partway through the presentation, Vevers surprised guests by introducing sweaters and coats emblazoned with the graffiti-inspired artwork of Basquiat, who died of a drug overdose at the age of 27 in 1988.

Basquiat’s sisters Lisane and Jeanine were in the audience, while his niece Jessica Kelly walked in the spectacle.

“We have always been fans of Coach. It’s such an iconic New York brand with really beautiful craftsmanship. To see this collection come together has been truly exciting. Coach has done a great job in capturing the texture, detail and energy of Jean-Michel’s work,” said Lisane. “We are really impressed with Stuart’s vision and attention to the spirit of the work.”

Other highlights included a patchwork-look faux fur coat, ’90s-inspired leather jackets with black buttons, and striped ensembles with a grunge vibe. Model Kaia Gerber stood out in a pink sweater, beige skirt, and long blue leather jacket.

And at the end of the show, Vevers unveiled another surprise – he invited Debbie Harry to take to the stage and perform Blondie songs alongside punk rock/garage band The Coathangers.

© Cover Media

Jennifer Lopez and Michael B. Jordan headline Coach sneaker campaign

Jennifer Lopez and Michael B. Jordan have been tapped to front Coach’s new sneaker campaign.The Hollywood stars, who both serve as brand ambassadors for the New York-based fashion and accessories company, are now headlining the marketing imagery for th…

Jennifer Lopez and Michael B. Jordan have been tapped to front Coach’s new sneaker campaign.

The Hollywood stars, who both serve as brand ambassadors for the New York-based fashion and accessories company, are now headlining the marketing imagery for the Coach CitySole line.

Shot by photographer Juergen Teller, the campaign features Jennifer and Michael showcasing the footwear designs, with the Big Apple as the backdrop.

“When you grow up in New York, sneakers are such a big part of your lifestyle because you have to pound the pavement,” the 50-year-old shared. “Coach CitySole is perfect for my lifestyle – I’m a dancer, and I’m always on the go and they’re very versatile. They can be dressed up and dressed down, and can be functional but also super fashionable.”

The range offers three sneaker styles, with the CitySole Court referencing classic basketball sneakers with a triangular toe box, the CitySole Runner drawing from the silhouettes of running shoes, and the CitySole Lowline, which is an updated take on a classic low-top.

Accordingly, Michael can’t wait to add the new designs to his collection.

“Sneakers are a wardrobe staple,” the Black Panther actor insisted. “As someone who grew up around New York and is constantly on the go, Coach CitySole’s blend of fashion and comfort is the right balance for an everyday sneaker-wearer like me.”

Coach’s CitySole sneakers are now available to purchase.

© Cover Media

Jamie Foxx: ‘Just Mercy struck a personal chord’

Jamie Foxx signed up for drama Just Mercy because the story struck a personal chord with him. In the new film, the Oscar-winning actor portrays the real-life Walter McMillian, who was wrongly imprisoned for murdering a woman and placed on death row fo…

Jamie Foxx signed up for drama Just Mercy because the story struck a personal chord with him.

In the new film, the Oscar-winning actor portrays the real-life Walter McMillian, who was wrongly imprisoned for murdering a woman and placed on death row for six years, until lawyer Bryan Stevenson, played by Michael B. Jordan, took on his case and appealed the conviction.

During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Foxx explained that he was honoured to shine a light on McMillian’s story and all those who have been unjustly incarcerated, such as his own father.

“When Michael called me, I was humbled and honoured to be part of the project, but it is personal because they put my father in jail for seven years for having $25 of illegal substances,” he shared. “He was an educator of kids in the inner city and he taught me everything I know. I couldn’t visit him in jail because I saw him as a king, but I wrote to him to say, ‘Things have gotten good for me and when you get out I will save your life,’ and he has been living with me for 20 years now.

“Here’s the good part – when he saw the movie, he said, ‘You tell that Michael B Jordan to keep doing what he is doing because it is so important.'”

Jordan helped produce the movie after reading Stevenson’s memoir about his work getting wrongly convicted people off death row, and Foxx heaped praise on his co-star for helping make Just Mercy, as well as starring in other films which are led by African-Americans.

“I commend Michael for making this movie. If you look at what he did with Fruitvale Station and then Black Panther to bring the narrative out for black people, I think this film completes his artistic sentence. When people watch this film, they weep and cheer because it moves your soul,” the 52-year-old gushed.

Just Mercy is in cinemas now.

© Cover Media