Diversity, Feminism, Gender, Movies, Race, TV

Backlight: Your Movie and TV News Roundup

Whew it’s been…a week.

Joss Whedon, Hypocrite Preaching Feminist Ideals

On Sunday Kai Cole, the ex-wife of Joss Whedon, wrote a scalding essay about Whedon’s multiple affairs with both fans and actresses. “I now see how he used his relationship with me as a shield, both during and after our marriage, so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist,” wrote Cole. Most recently Whedon was lambasted for his grossly sexist Wonder Woman script, and for many Cole’s letter was the final last straw. Whedonesque, a Whedon fan website of 15 years, shut down in the wake of the allegations. The Whedon camps response to the letter’s allegations was, unsurprisingly, dismissive.

Lack of Parity in Hollywood

Women continue to fight for equal pay in Hollywood. Despite Wonder Woman’s overwhelming success, negotiations over how much Jenkins will get to direct Wonder Woman 2 continue as she pushes for pay equal to that of her male colleagues. A feature published by Variety discusses the difficulties women and especially women of color face when it comes to fighting for parity: because there are so few roles written for them, they often have less room to negotiate.

Marvel and DC news

The Big Two continue to chug along with building their respective TV and film universes. This week Marvel released images for The Gifted show for characters of color Blink, Thunderbird, and Eclipse. In the wake of the Defenders premiere, Marvel debuted their first trailer for Netflix’s The Punisher. Avengers 4 is taking us to Japan, and apparently they didn’t hire somebody to spell check the signs on set. James Gunn also confirmed that he’s working on Guardians of the Galaxy 3, and that it will set up future Marvel films for the next “10 to 20 years,” my god.

Meanwhile Warner Bros. and DC announced they’re creating a Joker origin movie produced by Martin Scorsese. Anna Diop has been cast as Starfire in the live-action tv series Titans; notably, this will be the first live-action portrayal of Starfire, and she will be portrayed by a Black actress. The CW’s The Flash added Battlestar Galactica alum Katee Sackoff as the villain Blacksmith. Following Whedon’s fall from public grace, Warner Bros. has yet to comment on if he will continue to helm the DCEU and direct Batgirl going forward; Hollywood being Hollywood, our guess is most likely yes. 

Awesome Film Festivals

The 21st Annual Urbanworld Film Festival has announced its 2017 slate. Taking place September 20 to 24 in New York City, the festival will feature the U.S. premiere of Marshall, a Thurgood Marshall bio starring Chadwick Boseman, as well as the midseason premiere of DuVernay’s Queen Sugar.

This Friday the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, alongside Films by Youth Inside and Visual Communications, will put on Pacific Cine Waves, a showcase of films created by Pacific Islanders. Films from the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and Hawaii International Film Festival will be shown alongside works from FYI Films, which aids incarcerated youth from L.A. County, Hawai’i, and Guam in expressing themselves through film.

Cool Projects from Cool People

David Oyelowo joins Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland for Lionsgate’s sci-fi adventure Chaos Walking, based on a YA dystopian novel where all people can hear each other’s thoughts.

Zoë Kravitz and Lola Kirke are set to star in Gemini, a neo-noir thriller about a starlet and her assistant who end up committing a crime. John Cho plays the detective assigned to the case.

Justin Chon’s Gook, a film about the relationship between Korean and African American families and communities during the LA Riots, premieres in select cities this weekend. You can find our review of the film here.

This week Netflix gave us the first look at its series Godless, a Steven Soderbergh Western about a mining town run mostly by women that prepares to fight off a gang of outlaws. The lead character will be played by Michelle Dockery, best known for her work as Lady Mary Crawley on Downton Abbey.

ICYMI

  • Issa Rae joins the cast of the live-action adaptation of Angela Thomas’ The Hate U Give, a BlackLivesMatter-inspired YA tale about a girl who witnesses a police officer shooting her unarmed friend.
  • Hell Boy: Rise of the Blood Queen becomes the latest film to whitewash a character by casting Ed Skrein as Japanese-American character Ben Daimio.
  • In a sad iteration of the Bury Your Gays trope, the planned Xena reboot where Xena would’ve been openly acknowledged as queer has already been canceled.
  • Shadow and Act has a list of ten African films to look out for in the coming year!
  • Laverne Cox and Beyoncé are collaborating on a project; we have no idea what it is yet, but we’re excited!
  • Stranger Things’ director Rebecca Thomas set to direct the sci-fi film Intelligent Life, yay! But the film is written by Colin Trevorrow and is described as “UN employee makes contact with a beautiful alien,” so perhaps take this one with a grain of salt.
  • Morgan Freeman will be given the much-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 SAG Awards.